Elmira Bayrasli: Extraordinary Entrepreneurs, Unlikely Places

Thursday, November 19th  16:30

At: SENSUS (Sensussalen), Studentgatan 2, Malmö

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“I wrote this book to dispel that stereotype; to show that there are amazing men and women in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East leading high-growth, globally competitive companies that are innovating; to show that entrepreneurship isn’t about a place, but opportunity. Whether in Lahore or Lagos, Monterrey or Mumbai, the men and women in my book are using entrepreneurship to solve the problems that have plagued them for so long and revolutionizing the systems that have denied them progress. Ultimately, progress is what entrepreneurship is about. This book aims to change mindsets about who an entrepreneur is and where they are.

In Istanbul, Turkey, Bulent Celebi, an experienced engineer, struggles to find the right talent to roll out his cutting-edge wireless technology across his country as well as in Europe and the United States, where his company has expanded. In Lagos, Nigeria, Tayo Oviosu, a former Silicon Valley executive, grapples with poor infrastructure to bring financial services to Nigeria and all Africans – and thereby jumpstart African growth. As CNN displays images of the latest bombing in Pakistan, Monis Rahman, a computer engineer, uses his Internet business to reframe the world’s perceptions of his people. In Monterrey, Mexico, Enrique Gomez Junco, an entrepreneur running an energy-efficiency business, battles his country’s monopolies. In Mumbai, India, Shaffi Mather, an activist, tries to tackle his country’s endemic corruption through a for-profit ambulance service. Yana Yakovleva, the founder of a chemical company in Moscow, Russia, who had been unjustly jailed, stands up to the Kremlin and refuses to be defeated by her country’s weak rule of law. Finally, in Beijing, China, Lei Jun, the so-called Steve Jobs of China, develops cutting-edge smartphones and software applications in an environment hungry to unleash Chinese innovation but resistant to social and political change.

These entrepreneurs’ stories offer important insights into and important lessons about building enterprises under impossible conditions – and succeeding. Their efforts have thrown open the limits of what is possible anywhere. And their stories are just beginning.”

Seminar arranged by SENSUS and Malmö University, in collaboration with WINNET Malmö, Glokala Folkhögskolan and Balkan Analysis Group. 

Questions: fredrik.bjork@mah.se

Who is Elmira Bayrasli?

Passionate about foreign affairs, entrepreneurship, and writing, I have spent the past two decades working on foreign policy, international development, and with startups worldwide. Today, I do both as a writer, speaker, consultant, lecturer, and co-founder.

In 2013, I co-founded Foreign Policy Interrupted, an education and media startup dedicated to increasing female foreign policy voices in the written and electronic press.

I am also a visiting fellow at the New America Foundation, and a lecturer at New York University. My book, From the Other Side of the World: Extraordinary Entrepreneurs, Unlikely Places was released on September 8, 2015 (published by Public Affairs). It is a book that looks at the growth of innovation beyond Silicon Valley, focusing on talented individuals around the world who have overcome insurmountable obstacles.

In 2002, I left a cushy job in New York’s private sector for Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina. There, I served as the Chief Spokesperson for the OSCE Mission. From 1994-2000 I was presidential appointee at the State Department, working for Madeleine Albright and Richard Holbrooke, respectively.

And I write! From 2011-2013, I wrote about global innovations and entrepreneurship in a weekly column entitled, Entreventures, on Forbes.com. I have also contributed to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Foreign Affairs, VentureBeat, The Huffington Post, and MIT’s Innovations Journal. In 2010, I co-authored a study for Pakistan’s Planning Commission on entrepreneurship, entitled: “Creating a Place for the Future.”

Proudly from Brooklyn, pre-hipsters, I love yoga, Turkish simit, and the New York Mets. (Link to homepage)

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