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Imperialism, ideology, and war are not historically unique developments in a city that predates human record. After ten millennia, there is very little that the city of Damascus has not experienced. A Startup Weekend; however, is one such event.

On February 18, 2014, the international community will gain its first introscopic look into the entrepreneurial community of Damascus, the capital city of civil-war-laden Syria.


The 54-hour event will measure public interest in Startup technologies within Damascus, and will reward a winner with access to venture funding and publicity. The three-day event, organized by Ahmed Sufian Bayram, will be preceded by a “bootcamp” for participants, and will include a cast of international entrepreneurs scheduled to attend online.

Event mentorship includes: Rania Succar (Google); Kinan Sweidan (Shooofi) and Fadi Mujahid (Game Power 7). The event will be held in the city’s Al Mezzah neighborhood, west of central Damascus.

Startup Weekends have been a community rallying event among hopeful entrepreneurs across the Arab world for several years. Prior to Damascus, Startup Weekends have been hosted in Ramallah, Amman, Jeddah and Beirut, as well as Cairo, Dubai, and Casablanca. Iran will host its first Startup Weekend beginning February 12, and Libya is scheduled to host its second event on February 27.


Registration for the event closed on February 5, with nearly 400 registrations filed.

The UP Global blog will host follow-up coverage of the events, people and ideas that made Startup Weekend Damascus possible; including interviews with the hosts, and a review of the Damascus’ brightest entrepreneurial thinking.

#SWDamascus & @SW Damascus.

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Ross Buchanan