The Craig Fahle Show

Entrepreneurship In The Middle East

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Photo Courtesy of startuprisingbook.com

Only 500 Americans were allowed into Iran this year and Chris Schroeder is one of them. His recent trip was focused on entrepreneurship taking place in the Middle East. He has also written a book called, Startup Rising: Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking in the Middle East. Chris Schroeder joins Craig by phone for a conversation about his experience.

More than half of Iran’s population is under 30 years old. The sheer size of this demographic is significant, but coupled with the lack of institutional opportunities in Iran and this generation’s “ubiquitous access to technology,” things are changing rapidly in the region, according to author, entrepreneur and venture investor Chris Schroeder.

“They share this technology to communicate and collaborate with each other,” Schroeder says of young people in Iran and throughout the Middle East. Although, this instant communication is already also changing the way we think of the larger global economic landscape, Schroeder tells Craig.

Considering people living in the Middle East never knew land-lines, Schroeder tells Craig that this is a mobile generation, and everyone gets a chance to participate. The tech phenomenon extends to other parts of the world as well. Schroeder says that the mobile revolution is taking shape in even the poorest countries, and could exponentially increase the consumer outreach for small vendors with a typically limited customer base.

Schroeder says “regimes and governments are most weary about using mobile tech as a vehicle for political discussion,” but it’s also a platform for 21st Century economic development that cannot be ignored. These mobile devices will require all institutions to respond to demands for greater transparency, and Schroeder says a progressive leader who acts as the beneficiary of this shift would strengthen the political landscape while creating a more open and understanding society.

--Annamarie Sysling