Masterclass: Inspiring Social Entrepreneurship in the MENA-region

What can we learn from social entrepreneurs and their sustainable impact models in the Middle East and North Africa? Helmy Abouleish, CEO of SEKEM will share his ‘Economy of Love’ concept, a holistic model for social entrepreneurship, followed by a panel discussion with Joslin Kehdy and Bashar Humeid, social entrepreneurs from Lebanon and Jordan.

Organised by Wageningen University & Research

Wed 31 August 2022

Venue Bronland 10, 6708 WH Wageningen (Wageningen StartHub)

The SEKEM initiative started in Egypt, north of Cairo 45 years ago, when Dr Ibrahim Abouleish dug the first well to start organic farming in the vast desert. Today SEKEM is a multifaceted group of agro-industrial companies, a community of people, organisations and educational institutions, jointly focusing on the holistic sustainable development of people and their natural environment.
SEKEM’s new socio-economic model ‘Economy of Love’ combines aspects of fair trade, circular economy, responsible consumption and ethical finance.

How did SEKEM become what it is today? What can we take away from this model, which is focused on profit? Intrested? Join this Masterclass.

The objective of this Masterclass is to inspire and motivate (potential) entrepreneurs, including people with a background in the Middle East or North Africa, to develop a business in the MENA region. To share lessons learned, exchange experiences, and connect the potential entrepreneurs with networks in the region.
This Masterclass aims to inspire potential entrepreneurs who consider starting a business in the MENA region. The Masterclass offers a presentation by the three entrepreneurs about the triggers to start their business, their lessons learned, ups and downs, challenges and the opportunities they see in the market.

Breakout sessions will allow for an interactive Q & A with the speakers. Participants will benefit from the speaker’s personal recommendations and advice. They will get insights into how to prepare themselves for social entrepreneurship in the region.

  • The Masterclass is a full-day event with a limited capacity of 50 (potential) entrepreneurs.
  • The organisers reserve the right to select participants as to achieve a most diverse and focussed group.
  • Participants are requested to contribute € 50 to the costs of the Masterclass, Students can participate free of charge.
  • The majority of the costs of this Masterclass are covered by the organisers with the financial support of the Iona Foundation.


15.00 Doors open
15.30 Introduction 3 organisations
15.45 Introduction speakers
15.50 Helmy Abouleish presents SEKEM’s philosophy and answers questions
16.50 Short Break
17.00 Interviews 3-panel members and discusses with the audience
18.00 Closing and networking drinks

This event is a joint initiative of StartHub Wageningen, Het Grote Midden Oosten Platform and Vriendenkring SEKEM.

StartHub Wageningen is hosting this event with a capacity of up to 100 participants. Participation is free of charge.

More information can be found on this website or in this PDF.

We will also offer a livestream, record and publish the event afterwards on our YouTube channel.