Masterclass: Inspiring Social Entrepreneurship in the MENA-region

Sign up for this unique opportunity to engage with three successful entrepreneurs from the Middle East and North Africa

Maximilian Abouleish-Boes, Sustainable Development Leader at SEKEM, Egypt
Joslin Kehdy, CEO of Recycle Lebanon and Regenerate Hub, Lebanon
Bashar Humeid, CEO of Meezan and Yanboot organic city food, Jordan


Wednesday, August 31st

9.30 – 18.00

Bronland 10, 6708 WH Wageningen

(Wageningen StartHub)


This Masterclass aims to inspire potential entrepreneurs who consider starting a business in the MENA region. The Masterclass offers presentations by three experienced entrepreneurs about the triggers to start their business, their lessons learned, ups and downs, challenges and the opportunities they see in the market.

Breakout sessions will allow for an interactive Q & A with the speakers. Participants will benefit from the speaker’s personal recommendations and advice. They will get insights into how to prepare themselves for social entrepreneurship in the region.


  • The Masterclass is a full-day event with a limited capacity of 50 (potential) entrepreneurs.
  • Registration by filling out the registration form.
  • The organizers reserve the right to select participants as to achieve a most diverse and focussed group. 
  • Participants are requested to contribute €50 for the costs of the Masterclass, students can participate free of charge. 
  • The majority of the costs of this Masterclass is covered by the organizers with the financial support of the Iona Foundation.

This Masterclass is a joint initiative of StartHub Wageningen, Het Grote Midden Oosten Platform and Vriendenkring SEKEM


Objective of the Masterclass

To inspire and motivate (potential) entrepreneurs, including people with a background in the Middle East or North Africa, to develop a business in the MENA region. To share lessons learned, exchange experiences, and connect the potential entrepreneurs with networks in the region. 

What do participants take away from the masterclass?
  • Inspiration & encouragement
  • Practical information on what it means to run/start a start-up or business in MENA contexts, do’s and don’ts
  • Personal feedback from actual entrepreneurs on potential business ideas
  • Network opportunities

Details about the set-up of the masterclass can be found in this Program Masterclass MENA.docx.


Bashar Humeid 

Bashar Humeid is a Consultant, Trainer and Speaker, who is specialized in Urban/Organic Farming and decentralized political solutions based on green and decentralized technologies. He is also the founder of and the co-founder of Meezan is a nonprofit enterprise that develops low-tech methods for building, farming and energy-/water saving for Jordan and Arabia. Yanboot is the leading brand in organic agriculture and food production in Jordan. Bashar was born and raised in Amman, Jordan and is currently pursuing a PhD in Political Science at the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany.

Dr. Maximilian Abouleish-Boes

Maximilian Abouleish-Boes is born in Germany and works and lives at the SEKEM community in Egypt since 2010. SEKEM Initiative was founded in 1977 by Dr Ibrahim Abouleish, with the vision of sustainable development and giving back to the community. Using biodynamic agricultural methods, desert land was and is revitalized and a striving agricultural business with branded food, phytopharmaceuticals and textile products developed. SEKEM started Heliopolis University in 2012, the region’s first university with holistic sustainable development as its main purpose. The SEKEM initiative, headed by its CEO Helmy Abouleish, became the umbrella of agro-industrial companies and NGO’s, including educational institutions and a medical centre. Maximilian is the Sustainable Development Lead for the SEKEM initiative, which integrates economic, societal, cultural and ecological life to address societal burning issues. Current priorities are ecosystem development, climate change mitigation and biodiversity.

Joslin Kehdy

Joslin Faith Kehdy is the Founder of and Director at Recycle Lebanon, catalysing a system change to re-psyc’le our linear mindset towards circular action. The four programmes of this Lebanese NGO include Regenerate Hub, EcoSouk, TerraPods and Dive Into Action. Joslin currently lives off-grid in the rural village of Baskinta, Lebanon, where she stewards the land developing the TerraPods regenerative agriculture, art residency and eco-design maker-space. 

The Organisers of this Masterclass:

StartHub Wageningen is the startup incubator and educator for students, PhD’s and recent graduates of Wageningen University & Research. Their core focus is the development of entrepreneurial competencies of students and student entrepreneurs. To stimulate and help students with the development of entrepreneurial competencies, they offer a diverse program in which students can develop their entrepreneurial skills.

The association Vriendenkring SEKEM strives to make the work of SEKEM from Egypt known in the Netherlands ( The association intends to share the inspiration of SEKEM’s CEO Helmy Abouleish among (potential) entrepreneurs, in particular those with a migration background in the Middle East, who are considering starting a business in the Middle East or North Africa. 

Het Grote Midden Oosten Platform is a Dutch independent foundation of professionals that aims to humanize European policies and discourse around the Middle East and North Africa. One of its bigger current projects is the Green MENA Network project, which maps sustainable and green forces in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). This project aims to motivate people and organisations in the Netherlands to establish partnerships in the Middle East that are based on sustainability and on caring for the environment and society.

StartHub Wageningen, Vriendenkring SEKEM and het Grote Midden Oosten Platform also want to share the holistic business philosophy of Helmy Abouleish and other social entrepreneurs from the Middle East with Dutch audiences. This will be done through a public side event.

Sylva van Rosse is mede-oprichter van Het Grote Midden Oosten Platform. In haar werk maakt ze de Arabische wereld toegankelijk voor Europese actoren die willen werken aan een gedeelde toekomst.

Meer lezen?

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