Part II: Berlin 2.0 The Internet Startup Scene

This is the second part of 3 blog posts about my experience in Berlin for the last 18 months, and what we can learn from Berlin in the context of the current situation in Syria. In the last part, I talked about the fall of the Berlin wall and how we can take that as a symbol for hope, that no matter how long a bad situation lasts, it will come to an end. In Part II, I will be talking about the current recovery of Berlin after it suffered decades of separation and instability.

Berlin today is considered one of the best cities in Europe, and probably the most vibrant city in Germany. It is a very diverse city, people come and enjoy it form all over the world and it doesn’t matter where you come from or what is your taste like, you will probably find a place for you in Berlin. Today, Berlin is a global cultural center for arts, music, films and much more.

One phenomena that can’t be ignored in Berlin is the internet startup scene there. There are thousands of internet startups in Berlin. Many of them are leading globally in their categories like SoundCloud in audio content and Wunderlist in productivity related apps. Others crossed the startup phase and had their IPOs like Zalando. This phenomena is creating thousands of jobs. It is also encouraging innovation in the digital era. Some people would call Berlin the European Silicon Valley. It is not only people who already live in Berlin that start companies or work for a startup, but also people form around the world come to Berlin specifically to start a company or to work for an internet startup.

The cluster of the internet firms in Berlin is still young (less than 7 years old) and there is a long way ahead for all these firms to prove themselves and achieve global and local success. However, the ecosystem seems to be on the right path and it is getting a lot of global recognition. If people work hard enough and believe in what they’re doing they will achieve success.

Entrepreneurship is key to building any economy. Every company has the potential to create jobs it could be 10 in the first year, 20 in the second, 200 in the third if it was successful. Everybody should be aware that starting businesses is not enough, but making them sustainable and profitable is what matters at the end. We should encourage and support entrepreneurship in Syria, and initiatives like Jusoor’s entrepreneurship competition was a great example of what can be done to help young people take the risk. Again, starting a business is not enough what matters is building a sustainable profitable business that brings real value to people.

Omar Shaya
Currently pursuing master degree in computer science from Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen. Before that, he worked as a product marketing manager at LiquidM Inc, a SaaS mobile marketing platform based in Berlin and San Francisco. Prior to that, Omar earned his bachelor degree in computer science from Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen. Omar was part of the first group of students chosen for the Jusoor IIT initiative in 2012.

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