Meet this week’s mentor: Ramzi Halaby.
Based in Dubai, Ramzi is Co-Founder of The Online Project, the leading digital media agency in the Middle East. Ramzi is also the MENA representative of Silicon Valley Venture and Innovation, a boutique independent innovation and capital formation consultancy.
What is your area of expertise and how did you get into the field?
What else have you previously worked with? (What is your background)?
I am currently the co-founder of The Online Project, the leading digital media agency in the Middle East, as well as the Middle East and North Africa representative for the SVVI.
The last 2 decades of my life have been spent introducing new technologies to regulators, governments, and large scale organizations in the Middle East and North Africa. I have capitalized on innovation waves one after the other. As a founding team member of the first regional SMS Value Added Services Provider in MENA, the founder of the first privately owned and run Radio network, and the founder of the first Social Media services provider in the region, I have mastered the craft of new media, technology large enterprise business, and partnership development.
I have set up offices and maintain a presence in KSA, UAE, Jordan, Oman, and Egypt. And serving clients in 12 of the region’s leading markets, my regional execution experience is an asset and an advantage. The genuine partnerships created throughout the years have generated tens of millions of dollars in sales for the companies that I have built and partnered with.
What is your motivation for mentoring/Why did you decide to mentor?
As a serial entrepreneur, I am aware of the value of mentorship and its importance to the founders of any startup journey. I have had several mentorship relationships throughout my journey which have helped me overcome many challenges, avoid mistakes, and most importantly maintain a positive attitude throughout the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur.
Have you previously done mentoring work? Where?
I have been mentoring startups for the last 10 years and worked with numerous founders to help them with their marketing challenges and business development challenges. I am an Endeavor entrepreneur and was able to give back to several Endeavor entrepreneurs in several MENA markets.
Were you mentored in your career? If so, what impact did this have on you?
Yes, I have and feel it is definitely an important relationship that increases the success of the startup.
What do you wish to gain from mentoring startups?
Personally I would be happy to see the companies I mentor succeed and achieve certain milestones they hope to achieve. If I am able to add value to their journey I would be very happy.
How are you excited to help SBC startups throughout their journey in the Accelerator program?
I came across some excellent founders and startups and feel this is a strong cohort and I’m excited to contribute to some of their growth and acceleration.
Who/what inspires you?
There are many entrepreneurs who inspire me regionally I can say that one of the best mentors I have had in the past who added a lot of value was Maher Kaddoura. I am also inspired by Fadi Ghandour who happens to be one of our shareholders. I am also very fond of Samih Toukan and Hussam Khoury. I am inspired by my fellow entrepreneurs who are always ready to share knowledge and information to help others. I am inspired by my co-founder Zafer Younis who has been my business partner for the last 15 years. Finally, both of my two brothers and my mother are also entrepreneurs and never cease to inspire me.
Most importantly what inspires me is my passion for overcoming challenges and making a positive impact and helping people around me whether it is employees, partner clients or fellow entrepreneurs in the ecosystem. Above all being an entrepreneur has taught me what really matters in life and how to invest my time in a balanced way between family, friends, and work.
Ultimately, having a great wife and two beautiful kids motivates me to strive to be a better person everyday.