Story behind Eshraq
Why am I here? What is my purpose in life? It was the answer of these existential questions that led me to found my first social venture, Eshraq.
Looking back, I realized that I have been passionate about “social innovation” for years. As an engineer with an innate drive to give back, I was fond of developing ideas that use applied technology to meet a social or humanitarian need. My first project at college days was a peripheral that helped the blind to read computer text – I called it “The Braille Pad”. Ten years later, I won a pan Arab innovation award for an idea that provided people with peace from mobile phone noise while they are praying at the mosque – I called it “The Blue Mosque”.
The MBA Revelation
After spending over a decade working at corporate, my passion for entrepreneurship started to grow. I decided to commercialize one of my ideas, but then I realized that I lack the necessary business knowledge. Hence, after a thorough self debate on its value for an entrepreneur, I decided to take an MBA - with the belief that every experience has its unforeseen rewards. And it turned out to be true, I learned from the MBA the essential knowledge and skills that enable me to run a business, but the real reward was an eye-opening revelation. Observing that the ultimate goal of a business is mainly to maximize shareholders’ profits made me question what I am doing at the corporate world, it even made me question my existence. Why am I here? What is my purpose in life? It is definitely not just to eat, drink, and have a job to maximize some business profits. I realized that there is much more I can do with the knowledge and abilities I have, that could give a meaning and purpose to my life.
The Birth of Eshraq
Answering my existential questions led me to social entrepreneurship, and inspiration from Blake Mycoskie’s TOMS story completed the picture. I believed that my life would be meaningful if I used my knowledge and abilities not just to make and spend money, but most importantly to give back, to do good – now. It was not difficult to notice the need for professional counseling, starting from what I hear from my friends to news I read and watch on different media every day. I came to know how stress and depression are ruling many people’s lives and physically harming them; how tabooed sexual problems ruin marriages because of conservatism; how families are ashamed of their autistic or disabled children because of ignorance. I thought I could use technology to fill the gap, to make professional counseling and medical advice more accessible to people – while protecting their much valued privacy. While looking for a name to this initiative, I thought it should not describe the problem; it should not describe the solution or the process; it should rather describe the state the people will be in after benefiting from this initiative, a state of reaching their full potential and living a happy and fulfilling life – a state of shining, hence came the name Eshraq.
Ragy Khairy, Founder & CEO of Eshraq
Founder & CEO
Ragy Khairy is the founder and CEO of Eshraq, he is responsible for strategy, operations, and business development. He is currently also Corporate Strategy Manager and Business Process Analyst at Dubai Customs where he is responsible for strategic objectives alignment, performance management, and business process development and improvement. Ragy has over 13 years of experience in strategy, operations, and consulting – including a large involvement in the IT industry. He holds an MBA from London Business School and a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering from Cairo University.
Ragy is passionate about social entrepreneurship and considers it aligned with his values and life objectives. He is a regular public speaker at DIC Toastmasters Club and an active member at IEEE, he also likes riding motorcycles and scuba diving.
Co-Founder & CEO, Baraka Ventures
Rama holds 20 years experience in management, strategic planning and communications. As co-founder & CEO of Dubai-based Baraka Ventures; Rama provides strategic communications and planning to regional government, and enterprise corporations, and incubates sustainable social ventures and Web Technologies. Rama has advised organizations such as Qatar, UAE and Kuwait Government, Etisalat, du and Emirates Foundation and served Dubai Holding DIFC, Dubai University, Zayed University and other Dubai based organizations in various capacities. Rama is passionate about social ventures, and the role they can play in building a more sustainable economy and balanced society.
Corporate Development Director, OSN
Founder & CEO, C3–Consult and Coach for a Cause
Medea Nocentini is Director of Corporate Development at OSN, the leading Pay TV platform in the MENA, where she is responsible for market and consumer intelligence, corporate strategy, strategic partnerships, mergers and acquisitions, and cross-functional strategic projects.
In her spare time, Nocentini gives back to the community, mentoring and consulting social entrepreneurs. In order to maximize her impact, she founded a social enterprise (C3 – Consult and Coach for a Cause) that mobilizes corporate professionals willing to support social entrepreneurs on a voluntary basis.
Before joining OSN, Nocentini worked in Business Development at McGraw-Hill and prior to that spent several years at Booz & Co developing strategies for media, consumer and social sector clients across Europe, the US and Middle East.
Nocentini holds an MBA from Columbia Business School (NY, USA), a BA in Mechanical Engineering from Politecnico di Torino (Italy) and an Engineering Diploma from Ecole Centrale Paris (France).
Founder & CEO, Innoventures
Hesham Wahby is Founder and CEO of Innoventures. Based in Cairo, he is responsible for the company's strategy and organization, creating and maintaining partnerships, access to potential ventures, and coaching entrepreneurs. In addition, Hesham is also Principal, Egypt & Middle East for Mercator XXI, a professional services firm helping clients engage the global economy.
Innoventures LLC was founded in 2011 as an innovation platform to support high-impact startup businesses in a number of industry opportunity areas. The company runs a startup incubation program called Startup Reactor, and is developing a venture fund focusing on clean technology, energy, electronics, ICT platforms, media and market intelligence. Innoventures has also designed and managed a number of community outreach activities, most notably the Start with Google competition.
Hesham has a background of 12 years in the technology industry, as well as experience with entrepreneurial ventures. His previous career roles have ranged from high-tech engineering to business strategy, with companies including Mentor Graphics, Scenario Design Services, and Human Network Labs. Hesham has also been involved in economic development initiatives in Egypt through the IEEE and the Global Entrepreneurship Week. Hesham holds an MBA from the Wharton School, with a major in Entrepreneurial and Strategic Management, and also holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering from Cairo University.
Founder, Managing Partner, Traffic
Johnny has a strong background in design and graphic arts, as well as 15+ years' experience working at several successful online businesses. Johnny's pivotal role at Traffic is based on his innate flair for planning and a keen eye for detail, as well as a dedication to producing the highest quality work possible in record time. His adept knowledge of multi-channel digital media and ability to fulfil many functions at once are what make Johnny the fulcrum that underpins the whole Traffic operation.