Economy & Business Middle East Resilience & Society Women
empowerME Conversations January 26, 2021

Double Vision

By Atlantic Council

In Season 1, Episode 3 of empowerME Conversations podcast, host Amjad Ahmad interviews eyewa Co-Founders and Co-CEOs Anass Boumediene and Mehdi Oudghiri about the mindset that will create more entrepreneurs in the Middle East, policy changes that will lead to more unicorns, the acceleration of online payments and e-commerce, and new technologies that will soon replace in-person fitting rooms and eye tests.

I think that if we want to have more unicorns, we have to look into the regulations between countries and see how we can help businesses move from one country to the other easily.”

Anass Boumediene, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Eyewa

Key Takeaways

0:00 Intro
1:02 Anass talks about why they decided to leave their jobs and be entrepreneurs
2:05 Mehdi shares a little background on their first venture in food delivery as entrepreneurs and how their journey in the tech world started
6:14 Anass also explains what he thought was unique in Saudi Arabia in 2015 that caused the significant growth of the Foodpanda
7:55 Anass talks about the demand that was there in Saudi but the supply was less which gave them the opportunity
8:38 Anass also talks about how profitable the business of food delivery is in the Saudi Arabia as compared to other regions
11:33 Anass shares a little background of the Eyewa company and how it all started and why they decided to be in the eyewear space
12:46 Anass also shares the reasons that made them decide to be an e-commerce company and focus on the online sales
14:11 Anass also talks about the ecosystem they were operating in while growing Eyewa in raising the capital
15:30 Anass also talks about how they made sure that they had the right talents in their team and the right culture in their business
18:40 Mehdi talks about what he feels has been the most significant challenges in the ecosystem of building a company
20:18 Anass talks about what it would take to cultivate local talent in their region rather than having exported talent
21:56 Anass shares what he thinks needs to be done to encourage and push more people to entrepreneurship
23:33 Anass also shares his thoughts on why there is less unicorns in their region in the business world
24:56 Mehdi explains how having significant access to scale funding, would it make your journey a lot easier to scale especially in overcoming laws and regulations
27:33 Anass and Mehdi share the impacts that Covid has made in their business and how it has impacted the macro of e-commerce
31:16 Anass talks about the future of retail and how they are going to be different from other retailers
35:39 Mehdi talks about the ways they are creating innovation in their company, how they’re using virtual reality Try-on, how they’re using A.I., how they’re using machine learning
39:09 Anass and Mehdi explain why they were able and successful in hiring so many women in Saudi Arabia and why women and not men
42:34 Anass talks about if we’re going to see more women moving up to the C Suite and to boards as the entrepreneurial landscape continues to increase
45:23 Mehdi and Anass talk about the next big investment trends where people should put their money specifically in the region

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The empowerME conversations podcast features conversations with business and government leaders shaping the Middle East. The podcast sheds light on key opportunities and challenges for companies and governments, and Season 1 will focus on top regional entrepreneurs and their path to success as well as struggles they faced along the way.

empowerME at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East is shaping solutions to empower entrepreneurs, women, and the private sector and building influential coalitions to drive regional economic integration, prosperity, and job creation.

Related Experts: Amjad Ahmad