Public Event: Social Entrepreneurship in the MENA-region

What can we learn from social entrepreneurs and their sustainable impact models in the Middle East and North Africa?

Maximilian Abouleish-Boes, Sustainable Development Lead of SEKEM will introduce the ‘Economy of Love’ concept, a holistic model for social entrepreneurship, followed by a panel discussion with Joslin Kehdy and Bashar Humeid, social entrepreneurs from Lebanon and Jordan.


Thursday, September 1st

15.30 – 18.00

Bronland 10, 6708 WH Wageningen

(Wageningen StartHub)

The SEKEM initiative started in Egypt, north of Cairo 45 years ago, when Dr Ibrahim Abouleish dug the first well to start organic farming in the vast desert. Today SEKEM is a multifaceted group of agro-industrial companies, a community of people, organisations and educational institutions, jointly focusing on the holistic sustainable development of people and their natural environment. SEKEM’s new socio-economic model ‘Economy of Love’ combines aspects of fair trade, circular economy, responsible consumption and ethical finance.

How did SEKEM become what it is today? What can we take away from this model, which is focused on sustainable development and respectful collaborations, rather than on gaining the highest possible profit?


15.00   Doors open
15.30   Introduction 3 organisations
15.45    Introduction speakers
15.50   Maximilian Abouleish-Boes presents SEKEM’s philosophy and answers questions
16.50   Short break
17.00   Interviews 3-panel members and discussion with the audience
18.00   Closing and networking drinks

Register through this link. Participation is free of charge.

StartHub Wageningen is hosting this event with a capacity of up to 100 participants.

We will also offer a live stream, record and publish the event afterwards on our youtube channel.


Dr. Maximilian Abouleish-Boes – Sustainable Development Lead at SEKEM

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, Panel member:

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. 

Bashar Humeid, Panel member

Bashar Humeid is a Consultant, Trainer and Speaker, who specializes 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.

Organizers of this event:

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 in the Netherlands and to foster networks, exchanges and cooperation with SEKEM in various aspects. Supporting membership: € 25 per year.

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.

For StartHub Wageningen: Rabih Hamid (06-634410984)

For het Grote Midden Oosten Platform: Sylva van Rosse (06-18241405)

For Vriendenkring SEKEM: Salaheldin Ali (06-683282871)

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.

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