On July 21, RIN hosted a workshop for Resilient 100 participants focused on building and growing a refugee-lens business in the technology sector. Syrian-American technology professional, investor, and social entrepreneur Rama Chakaki, COO of aiXplain, led the workshop, sharing her entrepreneurship journey and advice for founders.

Select tech entrepreneurs from the Resilient 100 community presented their businesses for feedback from Rama: Amisi Jospin Hassan (Africa Deep Artificial Intelligence Circle), Aziz Hazizi (Cicada Sign), Eden Tadesse (Invicta), Mohammad Ahmad Alammar (Safartasr Ryady), and Saeed Alfagieh (AnaMehani).

Key takeaways from the workshop:

  • Live beyond your comfort zone. A key quality of resilient entrepreneurs is their ability to live beyond their comfort zones. Understand and rely on your values to lead your business. Even if you are pursuing a nontraditional path, know that you belong. Finally, life challenges can fuel you rather than set you back.
  • Document your journey until someone takes notice. Media can be a powerful tool in your entrepreneurship journey. Don’t wait for someone else: tell your story through your own ways.
  • Support communities to live with dignity. Consider how you can turn people from beneficiaries into staff and participants.
  • You have agency.  Remember that you control your own destiny. In preparing for conversations with investors, educate yourself on the process, define your desired outcomes, and advocate for yourself.  You have power in these discussions because you deeply understand your demographic and product.
  • Data generated by your business is valuable. As many AI companies are training models, they need data on refugee and other marginalized populations your product may serve. You can structure your data to be a source of revenue.
  • Consider your exit strategy. Investors will be interested to know your exit strategy, so incorporate this in your pitch.
  • Presentation matters. Investors invest in the people, not the product, and are looking to understand who you are. Make your ask and its purpose clear in your presentation. Be fully present in the meeting, as body language is also important.

We are always interested in connecting with refugee-lens businesses and investors interested in supporting refugee entrepreneurs. Please feel free to get in touch with RIN’s Entrepreneurship Lead Selen Ucak at [email protected], and sign up for RIN’s newsletter for the latest news and events.