On June 22, Persian Women in Tech (PWIT) hosted its Annual Women of MENA in Tech conference at London City Hall. The conference theme was “Entrepreneurship 2020: Rethinking Purpose, People, and Profit.”
Sepideh Nasiri, founder of PWIT, led discussion panels on business and STEM with a mix of guest speakers, ranging from 11-year-old Tara Sharifi, a self-described math and technology lover, who scored the highest possible score on the MENSA IQ test, to Dr. Ali Parsa, Founder and CEO of Babylon Health, whose mission is to put an accessible and affordable health service in the hands of every person on earth, and a panel with company founders like Paria Ghorashi, CCO of Blowout & Go beauty company, Zara Riahi, CEO of tech startup Contilio, Sara Ahmazi CEO of Shopest, and Rana Alqrenaw, M2 Founder at Zinc Ventures Limited.
Panelists shared personal stories about the humble beginnings of their companies, and many emphasized ‘passion’ as a driving force in creating a successful business regardless of the industry, whether it be technology or fashion. Nasiri recalled a portion of the discussion spent on debunking the assumption that a fashion company is easier to launch with marketing targeted largely toward women. “There’s no easy route for any entrepreneur,” Nasiri said. “They all survive it every day to build that business out.”
Building a sense of community among MENA professionals remained a highlight throughout the PWIT-hosted conference, as well as the importance of networking and investing in resources to lift ambitious individuals further in their careers.
In 2020, PWIT plans to launch a two-week program called NextGen University for young women to explore entrepreneurship through experienced mentors, connections with Tech companies and educational workshops. “They [will] know that ‘I can be anything and I can combine my passion with the work that is available currently in the workplace,’” explains Nasiri.
PWIT will begin fundraising on August 1 for its new initiatives and to extend its reach in providing resources for the future generation of entrepreneurs. If interested in donating, sponsorship and partnership opportunities, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Upcoming events in July hosted by its global chapters can be viewed on PWIT’s site at: http://www.persianwomenintech.com/events.
by Maristela Romero