The MECC seeks to promote an entrepreneurial culture in the region that encourages risk-taking, acceptance of failure, and celebrates business success. MECC stakeholders agree that while an entrepreneurial culture cannot be “engineered,” there are certain positive messages and educational tools that could reinforce the drive to launch businesses.
The goal is to remove bureaucratic and legal obstacles to entrepreneurship. Problematic incorporation laws, the absence of modern bankruptcy laws, tax laws, and other administrative barriers can be major obstacles to entrepreneurial activities. The task force agrees to identify and promote best practices and policies.
The Task Force will promote contact between entrepreneurs and investors across the region. Moreover the task force seeks to drive further connectivity between entrepreneurs and investors through promoting networking for incubators and accelerators across the region; identifying institutions and corporations the MECC can partner with on various entrepreneurial initiatives; and planning annual industry-specific events hosted by the MECC to identify business opportunities, business development, and future partnerships.
The Task Force will promote investments in SMEs as means to support positive economic and social impact across the region. Finally, MECC-led initiatives will strengthen the ecosystem by identifying sectors (such as tourism) where small businesses can thrive; actively promoting policies and working with private and public stakeholders in order to remove barriers; and by assisting entrepreneurs to identify business opportunities and to launch small ventures (e.g., mentorship, vocational training, micro-financing programs).
The MECC will establish the Middle East and North Africa Venture Association, modeled on similar organizations around the world, with the purpose of bringing together all stakeholders in the start-up ecosystem, including limited partners; venture capital, seed, and angel funders; incubators; legal, accounting, and support functions; as well as the entrepreneurs. This Association will work to tackle the core goals of the Task Force and will be officially launched at the MECC Tech Forum in November 2014.
Through the Middle East and North Africa Venture Association, the MECC will develop structure and initial funders for an international investment fund that will provide “matching funds” for seed investments in qualified opportunities in the region. The purpose of this fund would be to take a few highly promising entrepreneurs and give them the funding and support to develop their businesses.