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She has worked at the UN, a dream for many. She has spearheaded three start-ups, with TeachMeNow and GetBee being her greatest breakthroughs. An international speaker, the EXPO 2020 Global Innovator; this stalwart has way too many titles to her name. And guess what, she bagged success as a solo-preneur!

With a strong background in International Relations, she kick-started  her career at EU. Little,  did she realise that discussing policies and solving politics, wasn’t helping her create the  impact, she wanted for the community. The spirit of ‘giving back’ sparked in her. So, without much thought, she started teaching Special Education Needs Students. And in the most unlikely pursuit, did she find her ‘Ahaa’ moment. And then she took the most daring decision, she quit the EU!

Never ever underestimate the power of two things: Your Data and  You! Remember, there are so many solo-preneurs who are leading their way. Believe in your ideas. Overnight success doesn’t happen, the thought is dangerous. If you don’t find defeat, you are not even an Entrepreneur!

 

With requests for teaching surging, she collaborated with educators and built gaming apps. She was becoming a popular name. And with feedback, mentorship engagement, the biggest online platform, TeachMeNow was all set to be launched. In an age of KhanAcademy and Coursera, you wonder, why her stands out? It’s not for the masses, where students randomly enroll in a course and never complete it. It’s personalised. And it’s led by top-notch students from Ivy and Oxbridge universities! She is reaching out to millions globally.

Here are a few insights that you need to hear!

  • Going solo: Let no one ever tell you, that you will need a friend or a co-founder. Working alone gives you independence. And it’s always possible at the beginning!
  • Stepping Up: Once you have set the groundwork, that’s when you need to start hiring. Understand the skills and knowledge gaps, think before you select, and recruit only the best!
  • Hitting Rock Bottom: My initial start-up teams got all divided. Many of my business ventures didn’t work out. I remember breaking down on a flight with people around me. Think of even TeachMeNow, our platform was based on video-conferencing, something almost impossible to work around with regulations. But when we pitched it to the educators, the policy makers, they realised the need for it and loved it! And now we have a program for the Arab Youth, an initiative to train 1000 coders. So, always keep going!
  • Seek Feedback: Entrepreneurs are busy people, so if they are coming out to you, if you need any help, then take the cue. They wouldn’t spend energy and time for everyone. It’s like how Richard Branson says ”If someone gives you an opportunity, but you aren’t ready yet, JUST TAKE IT”!

So, SW Rockstars, GIVE IT ALL YOU CAN!

Loved the enthusiasm Thea brought with her!

Until then,

Cheers

Signing Off

Techstars Startup Weekend Dubai- Women Edition 2018

Media Team

 

Sidra Raihan