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Areije Al Shakar
Director and Fund Manager, Al Waha Venture Capital Fund of Funds
Areije Al Shakar has more than 16 years of experience in banking and entrepreneurship. In her current role at Bahrain Development Bank (BDB), she is a Senior Vice President heading the Development Services Division, and leads the fund management team of the Al Waha Venture Capital Fund of Funds as Director and Fund Manager. Her role and involvement at the bank includes coaching, mentorship, startup seed funding, and entrepreneur development. She has been involved in the development of several support services for entrepreneurs, namely in the establishment of BDB’s Rowad Program and the Seed Fuel-Rowad startup funding program, a part of the Global Accelerator Network.
She has worked in reputable organizations including Investcorp, Citibank, BNP Paribas, and Lehman Brothers on the treasury, investment management, and advisory side. She holds a Master’s of Science in Public Policy and Management from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, and a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance from the John Molson School of Business, Concordia University. She is also a Kauffman Fellow Class 24, and a certified business coach and mentor from the UK’s Chartered Management Institute.
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The pandemic seems to have driven the region's VCs to be more sophisticated and strategic in how they deploy capital, and also to be bolder.
VCs investing in the region have been right to be cautious so far, but now it's time for them to show a little Middle Eastern boldness of their own.
CSR, diversity, employee engagement, and retention -the non-financial and non-market related factors, the soft facts until recently were little more than a box-ticking exercise for investors– have taken on a renewed prominence in any VC's decision-making process.
The world is surveying the rubble left behind by the pandemic, and is turning its attention towards how to rebuild.
Businesses that embraced tech and innovation from the start have made a smooth transition to crisis conditions with the least disruption. Those that have had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the digital era are finding it is costing a lot more to adapt by virtue of necessity.
"In many ways, for the VC world, the pandemic is business as usual. Innovation never sleeps, and neither does the money that funds it."
At the end of the day, it is the teams that trust each other and can work well together who can survive a crisis together.