First of all I'm very proud of what Abdulsalam and his fellow businessmen managed to achieve in the past few years since the economy in Syria had opened a little. It's certainly a far cry from the textile trading businessmen in Aleppo, who still keep their accounts in ledgers instead of excel spreadsheets.
But, it's also important to note (and in fairness to the article, this has been focused on too), that real entrepreneurial economy doesn't only rely on old family businesses and networks.
And second, one would have loved to see more women entering this arena. Out of the several young and well-educated businessmen, only one woman was quoted in the article.
It's highly commendable that Abdulsalam is aware of this is helping his fellow start-up businessmen who are at disadvantage (i.e. do not have family ties), to set up their own businesses:
That is why he and others like him are using their power to help entrepreneurs who aren’t so fortunate. The Syrian Young Entrepreneurs Association (SYEA) was set up by Haykal and other young businessmen to give grants and business advice. Another, Bidaya, which means “beginning” in Arabic, funds 18- to 35 year-olds from low-income backgrounds. With this support, young people have had more opportunities to start small businesses. Enas Essa, for example, is a 32-year-old founder of an audiobook business. Mouayad Hamoudeh, 22, started his own dental implements business in a relatively poor area on the outskirts of Damascus.
However, in the greater scheme of things, this is not enough. There must be an institutional mechanism of assisting aspiring entrepreneurs . I'm not usually fond of cliches, but, modernizing the economy while the ancient mores about the indispensability of power and family connections still dominate, will not help much. You probably already guessed what I'm trying to say here, the key word is government intervention.
Off my soap box, have a nice day all.
Photo credit: The National