Co-authored by: DUCKLIFE‘s  Nadia Rouchdy & Christian Eid  

We’ve all started our own businesses to have an impact, start something we’re passionate about, to even change the world. We’ve either all been frustrated by the ‘corporate life’, wanted to do our own thing or our perspective of the world has changed. It all boils down to wanting to fulfill a deeper mission. 

It’s hard not to be inspired by the achievements in the last decade. Our advancements in technology, our sharing economies, and the invention of blockchain and cryptocurrencies has been amazing. We’ve even witnessed trillion-dollar global companies. Our generation will undoubtedly be known for being the most connected, the most digitally savvy, making lives more convenient by spurring innovation and increasingly using tech to solve our biggest challenges. We’ve made billionaires, so rich we can’t even comprehend the amount of money they have. And we clap and applaud this because it’s too difficult to accept the flipside. 

Our progress, need for convenience and hunger to hit trillion dollar market caps have also created the greatest economic divide seen in history, split between the haves and the have nots; with 26 of the haves having more than the 3.8 billion have nots (1)

We let this happen on our watch. 

Women still only make $0.80 to the dollar, when compared to men and experts say it could take up to 82 years to close the gender pay gap. 

On our watch. 

We’ve seen 70.8 million people forcibly displaced creating 25.9 million refugees, due to geopolitical, social and environmental instability. 

On our watch.

We’ve seen global temperatures increase by 1°C, experienced more extreme weather patterns and have recorded 2016, 2015, 2017 and 2018 as the 5 hottest ever recorded in history, respectively (2)

On our watch.

Over 1 million species are at risk of extinction.

On our watch. 

8 million metric tons of plastic enter our oceans every year (3)

On our watch. 

All in the name of “progress”.

So if you’re looking for problems to solve, we can give you plenty. From refugees lacking access to healthcare, energy and education; to our oceans warming and hosting millions of tonnes of plastic; to income inequality; we need the best and brightest to come together and create true value, both for shareholders and stakeholders. 

Still not convinced? 

Then listen to your consumers. Let them tell you what they want. While data in the region is lacking, the wave of consumer behavior change is happening globally. 90% of consumers say they will switch brands to support a good cause and boycott a brand due to their irresponsible practices (4) . 66% of consumers would spend more on a product if it was from a sustainable brand and sustainable brands (5) are outperforming other brands by seeing sales increase by 4x (6).

Listen to your present and future colleagues. 78% of millennials want the values of the company they work for to match their own (7) and 76% of US millennials consider social and environmental commitments when choosing a prospective employer (8)

Even leadership is convinced. 90% of CEOs say that sustainability is now fundamental for success (9). H&M just recently appointed their Chief Sustainability Officer to be their CEO, showcasing just how important sustainability is for the future growth of the company. 

So. You want to be an entrepreneur. You want to solve real problems? Then do the right thing. 

Listen to your customer, listen to your colleagues, listen to the environment and listen to society. We’re calling on all of you to start the era of responsible entrepreneurship. 

Especially in the MENA region. Not just fancy mission statements. Beyond CSR. Beyond purpose driven mindsets. 

We’re pushing for a model that incorporates the privilege we’ve been blessed with to come this far. To have had the resources we’ve been given. The knowledge we’ve acquired. The love we’ve received that’s motivated us to start something. The privilege to believe we can be whatever we want to be.  

Whether that’s by starting something that solves a true societal or environmental need or making sure that your model benefits more than just shareholders. An approach that benefits both our shareholders and stakeholders that haven’t had the luck to privilege that we take for granted. 

So yeah, sure, we’re the most connected generation to exist, we’ve created sharing economies, and we’ve sent rovers to explore Mars, but let’s please measure those accomplishments versus a metric that matters. Do we really communicate and collaborate more? Have we shared the wealth? And while we explore other planets, have we tried to save ours? Because there’s a ton of problems we need to solve. And we don’t want to do it alone. 

Let’s start solving. 


(1) Oxfam (2) NASA (3)Ocean Conservancy

(4) Deloitte, Perspectives, Social Purpose and Value Creation

(5) Forbes

(6) Deloitte, Perspectives, Social Purpose and Value Creation

(7) American Express (8) Weconomy 2019

(9) Forbes