AMAL Designathon 2018

AMAL Designathon 2018

AMAL Designathon 2018

September 22 – 23, 2018

Location: 310 Jacobs Hall || University of California, Berkeley

Designathon will start  September 22, 2018 at 10am and will finish  September 23, 2018 at 2pm .

The AMENA Center for Entrepreneurship and Development in collaboration with the World Bank and the Jacobs Institution for Design Innovation is hosting a 2-day Designathon open to anybody and everybody interested in design and the MENA region.

Participants have the choice to sign up as individuals or in teams of up to 5 members and each team will be assigned an industry expert mentor from Google’s UX team. Teams will work to build a UI/UX platform for Amal, a legal software program that allows women in the MENA countries to understand and secure access to their residential rights.

Amal is a digital platform that proposes a new legal software program and digital platform that allows women in MENA (Middle East and North Africa) countries to understand their rights in their country of residence and to complete the paperwork required to secure access to these rights. Amal offers resources to legally secure these rights through central, automated document generation software.

Amal was founded by two UC Bekerley alumna (Negah Nafisi and Soha Eshraghi) who submitted their proposal to the World Bank. In a competition of over two thousand entries, Amal placed third. The next round of review by the World Bank will take place on October 9th. To bring the project to life more quickly we are holding a competition “designathon” to build the user interface of the platform.

Participants in the designathon have the opportunity to work with a team of mentors which includes UX designers from Google and Apple, as well as associates from VC firms around Silicon Valley. Additionally, the team that wins first prize will receive a personal tour of Facebook’s Design Department along with the opportunity to network with industry professionals.

Prizes for 2nd and 3rd place teams include Uber credits, gift cards to local restaurants, subscriptions to Lime scooters, and more to be announced.

If you have any questions about the program please send an e-mail to

Executive Education Course

Executive Education Course

Executive Leadership & Innovation Course

In this Page:

Program Dates:

October 14-26, 2018

December 9-21, 2018

This program will provide a full exposure to the latest concepts and practices of executive leadership and innovation. The curriculum is tailored, and will be delivered by world-class professors from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and successful leaders in Silicon Valley for Senior Managers in the region.

This boot camp combines classroom sessions with lectures and interactive activities as well as out of class exercises and assignments to provide participants with the skills, culture, and networks needed to establish, operate, sustain, and scale new and old businesses.

Executive Course Details

  • “The Program is a very good program for entrepreneurs … Visiting different sites helped us network much more effectively.”
  • “The program was really excellent. I didn’t expect what would happen. Everything was amazing.”
  • “The program was very informative. The concepts are really clear and show you how to transform a small company into an enterprise.”
  • “I think it was very useful and efficient. I really learned a lot and I hope to use this newly acquired knowledge and skills in practice.”
  • “I learned quite a lot. I think the program was very well organized.”
Boot Camp Activities

Lectures by professors and pioneers to hands-on projects, and visits to relevant Silicon Valley companies. All Boot camp components, including lectures, projects and visits will address local needs and requirements.

Lectures: Lectures will be delivered by world-class UC Berkeley faculty members and practitioners from Silicon Valley. Emphasis and content will be adjusted to fit the backgrounds and requirements of the participating group.

Projects: Participants will be split into teams of 4 or 5 to work on hands-on realworld entrepreneurial opportunities and challenges derived from their contexts. The course is designed to make the experiences of participants as meaningful as possible by enabling them to hone their entrepreneurial skills in real-life settings. Participants will be required to think through and apply what they learn in class in teams. Each team will be paired with and mentored by a coach. Teams will present their projects on demo day to a panel of judges, who will evaluate their solutions and provide them with feedback.

Visits to Silicon Valley: The foremost global innovation hub. Visits to various Silicon Valley entities will be organized to maximize the visit’s relevance and utility to the participating group’s interests and concerns.

Fireside Chat with Pioneers: This boot camp will also be enriched by insights from academics and innovative leaders, who will discuss their successes and failures, analyzing the lessons they have derived from each.


Project-Based Learning Approach: The boot camp is composed not just of a series of lectures, but the formulation and completion of a real-world hands-on project. Upon arriva participants are placed into teams which, operating under the supervision of a coach, wor on projects that will be presented to a panel of judges at the end of the boot camp.

Contextualization: Boot Camp contents and activities, including lectures, projects and vis are organized to augment their relevance to the countries, industries, and companies from which the participants are drawn. The contextualization approach is designed to maximize the benefits that accrue to participants.

Certification: Upon completion of the boot camp, participants will receive a certificate issued by the UC Berkeley-Haas School of Business.

  • Participants will be introduced to the fundamentals of technology entrepreneurship, gaining familiarity with the processes that will allow them to go from ideas to implementation. This boot camp will cover best practices on recruiting and retaining talent, forming teams, pitching ideas, raising capital, prototyping solutions, testing markets, selling and marketing products and services, and launching scalable enterprises capable of creating value in both economic and social terms.
  • Participants will also learn how to define problems and determine which ones to solve, becoming familiar with formulating solutions that are “usefully different” from and superior to what exists on the market.
  • Throughout, theoretical and conceptual approaches will be supplanted by case studies and visits to Silicon Valley, where students will be exposed to practical examples of both budding and thriving startups, renowned technology companies, venture capitalists, angel investors, as well as incubators and accelerators.
  • The bootcamp will be enriched by insights from entrepreneurs and VC’s, who will discuss their successes and failures, analyzing the lessons they have derived from each.
Objectives & Outcomes
  • Learning to define effective and dynamic organizations and new tools for improving performance.
  • Better understanding management challenges —both unique and shared — and best practices for addressing them.
  • Learning to organize and lead multicultural, geographically distributed teams, and keeping them aligned and productive.
  • Learning to maximize your influence and persuasion through improved negotiation skills and techniques.
  • Learning to attract, develop, motivate, and retain talent by engaging and energizing the people you lead.
  • Learning to use innovation to improve decision making, grow your business, and improve organizational health.
  • Learning to use advanced digital technologies in your work.
  • Learning to use innovative ideas and critical thinking techniques to improve organizational performance.
  • Learning to use advanced design thinking methodology and problem solving methodologies to improve organizational performance.


Day 1

Arrival – Registration
5:00 pm: Opening
Reception, Networking

Day 2

9:00 am: Session 1 – Organizational Leadership
10:30 am: Break
11:00 am: Session 2 – Organizational Leadership
12:30 pm: Lunch, Networking
2:00 pm: Session 3 – Organizational Leadership
3:30 pm: Break
4:00 pm: Workshop – Team Up
6:00 pm: Welcoming Dinner, Networking

Day 3

9:00 am: Session 4 – Design Thinking
10:30 am: Break
11:00 am: Session 5 – Design Thinking
12:30 pm: Lunch, Networking
2:00 pm: Session 6 – Design Thinking
3:30 pm: Break
4:00 pm: Fireside Chat with Leaders

Day 4

9:00 am: Session 7 – Design Thinking
10:30 am: Break
11:00 am: Session 8 – Design Thinking
12:30 pm: Lunch, Networking
2:00 pm: Session 9 – Design Thinking
3:30 pm: Break
4:00 pm: Fireside Chat with Leaders

Day 5

Silicon Valley Visit 1

Day 6

9:00 am: Session 10 – Strategy and Organization
10:30 am: Break
11:00 am: Session 11 – Strategy and Organization
12:30 pm: Lunch, Networking
2:00 pm: Session 12 – Strategy and Organization
3:30 pm: Break
4:00 pm: Fireside Chat with Leaders

Day 7

Free Time

Day 8

Free Time

Day 9

9:00 am: Session 13 – Corporate Governance
10:30 am: Break
11:00 am: Session 14 – Corporate Governance
12:30 pm: Lunch, Networking
2:00 pm: Session 15 – Corporate Governance
3:30 pm: Break
4:00 pm: Fireside Chat with Leaders

Day 10

9:00 am: Session 16 – Innovative Management
10:30 am: Break
11:00 am: Session 17 – Innovative Management
12:30 pm: Lunch, Networking
2:00 pm: Session 18 – Innovative Management
3:30 pm: Break
4:00 pm: Fireside Chat with Leaders

Day 11

Silicon Valley Visit 2

Day 12

9:00 am: Project Workshop
10:30 am: Break
11:00 am: Project Workshop
12:30 pm: Lunch, Networking
2:00 pm: Project Workshop
5:00 pm: Reception, Networking

Day 13

9:00 am: Demo 1
10:30 am: Break
11:00 am: Demo 2
12:30 pm: Lunch Networking
2:00 pm: Closing
3:00 pm: Farewell Reception

Day 14



Costs including lodging, breakfast, lunch, and visits:


Attendance, Cancellation, & Late Arrival

Please keep AMENA Center informed of cancellations and delays. Arriving late and/or leaving early can be extremely disruptive. It is your responsibility to make the necessary arrangement to be present for the entire duration of the course.

Your presence and participation in the seminars is essential for receiving a certificate from the Berkeley Haas School of Business.

Should you have questions, please contact us at:

Housing & Transportation

Lectures and class sessions will be held at University of California, Berkeley – Haas school of Business.
Transportation from/to site visits will be provided.


Participants will be housed at the Berkeley faculty guest house or in the Shattuck Hotel in the city of Berkeley.

Visa Information

VISA Support

Some participants are eligible for the “VWP” (Visa Waiver Program). The VWP enables citizens of certain countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for 90 days or less without obtaining visa if they have registered online through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). The first step is to see if your home country is one of the thirty that fall under this category. Participants can find this information on the US consulate’s website of their home country. If a student’s home country or country of citizenship is a member of the VWP, then the participants from that country will need to follow the procedures for the visa waiver.

Non-American / Non-VWP Citizens

If the participant’s home country is not a part of the VWP, the student would have to apply for the B1 business visa. Do not apply for a student visa because the application will be denied. The term “business” includes conventions, participation in seminars, conferences, consultations, and other activities of a commercial or professional nature. Students may need to specify the nature of the boot camp. The official description of your presence in Berkeley, California is as follows: attending a full-time Executive Training seminar. Participants are required to check with their local consulates for the most up-to-date procedures for obtaining a visa.

Documents for Visa Application

As for the documents needed for this visa, participants will receive an official invitation letter from the UC Berkeley-Haas School of Business once registration has been approved and endorsed by the AMENA Center. US visa policies may vary from country to country. The US is sometimes very strict when making decisions about issuing visas, and is not obliged to justify visa refusals. In such cases, AMENA center will provide you with options to reschedule your boot camp or to receive a refund per registration policy. Nevertheless, a common reason for visa refusal is that the applicants fail to demonstrate sufficient ties to their home countries. Below, is a list of documents we recommend prospective participants take to their visa appointments:

  • Boot Camp Program Guide
  • UC Berkeley – Haas School of Business Acceptance Letter
  • Certificate of Tuition Payment
  • Copies of return plane ticket
  • Proof of residence in home country
  • Bank account information
  • Job details or University registration

Contact form


10 + 2 =

The Rise of Venture Capital

The Rise of Venture Capital

Our second event, The Rise of Venture Capital was held on Wednesday, May 2nd from 5.30-7pm at the Sultan Conference room (340 Stephans Hall.)
Sharif El-Badawi, partner at 500 Startups, and Mohannad Khairy, partner at E11 Capital, discussed the VC ecosystem and startup scene in the region. With investment in the region rising from $5 Million USD in 2012 to $1.488 billion USD in 2016 the way money is flowing is dramatically fueling innovation and bringing visibility to the region as a technological hub. The event was followed by a Q & A session.
Fueling Tech Innovation

Fueling Tech Innovation

The Future of Entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa

The AMENA Center for Entrepreneurship and Development hosted a 2 part speaker series co-sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies and TechWadi.
Our first event, Fueling Technological Innovation was held Wednesday, April 16th from 5.30-7pm at the Sultan Conference room (340 Stephans Hall.)
Nasim Novin, managing director at Endeavor, and Naeem Zafar, industry fellow at the Sutardja Dai Center for Entrepreneurship and technology discussed technology trends in the region, investigated what industries are transforming the landscape and examined future opportunities for innovation in the region. The audience asked questions regarding the current security situation in Egypt and its impacts on the entrepreneurial ecosystem, the interplay between new policy and progress, and the role of the diasporic community in circulating the brain drain.

Please click here for more information.

Part II of the AMENA Center Spring 2018 speaker series “The Future of Entrepreneurship in the Middle East,” in partnership with TechWadi and the UC Berkeley Center for Middle Eastern Studies The Center for Entrepreneurship and Development in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa at the Haas School of Business aims to build a bridge between the Silicon Valley and AMENA by sharing resources and fostering collaboration. In order to facilitate mutual understanding between the AMENA entrepreneurial ecosystem and the greater UC Berkeley campus, the AMENA Center is hosting a Speaker Series on The Future of Entrepreneurship in the Middle East in partnership with TechWadi and the Center for Middle East Studies at UC Berkeley. Geared towards students and professionals alike, Sharif El-Badawi, Partner at 500 Startups, and Mohannad Khairy, investor in MENA startups at E11 Capital, will discuss the VC ecosystem and startup scene in the region. With investment in the region rising from $5 Million USD in 2012 to $1.488 billion USD in 2016 the way money is flowing is dramatically fueling innovation and bringing visibility to the region as a technological hub. The event will be followed by a Q & A session. The conversation will be moderated by Dr. Dariush Zahedi, the executive director of the AMENA Center for Entrepreneurship and Development.


Mohannad Khairy

Mohannad Khairy is the Managing Partner at E11 Capital, a San Francisco and Dubai-based venture capital firm investing in companies tackling the world’s greatest challenges.

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With over 15 years experience in international business development, innovation strategy and technology investment, Mohannad focuses on identifying and supporting solutions applicable to industries that are infrastructural in nature. Prior to forming E11, Mohannad was an international executive, entrepreneur and innovation advisor. In 2002 he began his career in institutional sales with Montreal-based investment research firm BCA, where he quadrupled his book of business before it was acquired by Euromoney. In 2006 he went to Dubai to help build, the MENA-focused business intelligence and market data company, before its acquisition by Thomson Reuters Group in 2012. In the Bay Area since the end of 2011, Mohannad joined Plug & Play Tech Center, the world’s largest startup accelerator, and led corporate and government partnerships, investments and startup programs in a number of countries around the world. He then formed NXT Innovation, a boutique innovation consulting firm in SF, Paris and Milan, brokering the adoption of technology solutions between Fortune 500 companies, governments and pioneering startups. Mohannad is a firm believer in utilizing venture capital for long-term value creation. He regularly talks about collaborative capital, responsible internationalization, and how to cultivate sustainable, entrepreneur-friendly ecosystems. He is currently an active member of the board of directors at The Arab Film & Media Institute, a 501c3 organization based in San Francisco and Los Angeles, producing the largest Arab Film Festival outside the Arab world He is also on the board of Localized, an ed-tech startup enabling universities in emerging economies to connect their students and recent alumni to role models and career guidance from top professionals in their Diaspora. Mohannad completed his degree in both Economics and Political Science at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.

Dariush Zahedi

Dariush Zahedi is Director of the AMENA Center for Entrepreneurship and Development at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.

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Since 2001, he has taught a diverse array of courses for the Departments of Political Science, Political Economy, and Peace and Conflict Studies as well as the Boalt Hall School of Law at Berkeley. Zahedi has also taught for the College of Letters and Science’s Discovery Courses Program. Teaching in the program is by invitation only, with invitations issued solely to instructors whose teaching record is stellar. He has published three books on the political economy of the Middle East, and his articles have appeared in such publications as the New York Times, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Harvard Middle Eastern and Islamic Review, and Middle East Policy, among others. He is the co-editor of four book series for Palgrave Macmillan, including Institution Building in West Asia and North Africa, the Political Economy of Islam, Natural Resources Management in West Asia and North Africa, and Financial Institutions, Reforms, and Policies in West Asia and North Africa. His knowledge of the political economy and business milieu of the Middle East and North Africa, however, is not purely academic. He has worked for a Middle Eastern investment bank and Iran’s largest private mining corporation. In his capacity as an analyst for the investment bank, he traveled widely throughout the region, and became intimately familiar with various sectors of the region’s economies as well as impediments to inclusive growth and democratization. Zahedi has also worked as an academic in Turkey.

Sharif El-Badawi

Sharif El-Badawi currently serves as Partner at 500 Startups, the most active venture capital firm in the world.

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In his role, he manages 500 Startups’ MENA fund, focusing on seed stage investments in the Middle East and North Africa. In addition, Sharif is the Chairman of the Board and Head Mentor at TechWadi, where he leads the TW100 mentors and helps bridge MENA startups with Silicon Valley and serves on several advisory boards for startups in the MENA region and Silicon Valley. Previously, Sharif was the Partner Lead to VCs and Startups at Google where he worked with top tier VCs and their most promising startups on strategies that bring all of Google to their businesses. Joining from AdMob almost 7 prior, he led performance advertising strategy for Google’s largest customers in North America covering Mobile, Search and Display ads. Before AdMob, Sharif was a technologist and serial entrepreneur having founded or co-founded several companies in the Consumer Internet and B2B space over twelve years. Sharif earned his MBA from UC Irvine Merage School of Business and his BS in Neuroscience from UCLA. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and three children.




The AMENA Center, in cooperation with UCB Students Organize for Syria, aimed to bring together innovative students from all corners of UC Berkeley to create useful and comprehensible tools for Syrian refugees with a focus on education, mental health, and economic security. The event took place on April 16-17, 2017

Please click here for more information.

iBridge Barcelona

iBridge Barcelona

iBridges Barcelona:

Global Meet-up of Hi-Tech Entrepreneurs of Iranian Descent This event will take place on December 8-10, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain.

Please click here for more information.