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Emon Shakoor: “Jeddah is the coolest city in Saudi Arabia”

Emon Shakoor is a driven young Saudi lady. But before founding not one, but two tech startups, Emon grew up battling epilepsy. The physical and social adversity she encountered growing up led to her choice of studying Cognitive Sciences at the University of California, San Diego. And here, at the 2017 MiSK Youth Global Forum in Riyadh, we met a vibrant and accomplished entrepreneur, who doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.

Describe Jeddah to French people.

A lot of people don’t know the amazing Red Sea and coral reef, Saudi Arabia has in Jeddah. There’s a slogan we have in Jeddah : Jeddah Gheir. It means Jeddah is different. Because it really is, you feel the coastal vibe in people’s heart. Like any other place, if you go to Marbella in Spain or any other kind of place in France. A city on the coast is always different and Jeddah has a mesmerizing front. It is also known to be a little bit more open than other Saudi cities. So it’s the coolest city in Saudi Arabia.

What is your startup Blossom about?

Blossom is a non traditional ecosystem or accelerator. What we do is that we bring all together the entrepreneurs in the Saudi Arabian ecosystem. And we want to better connect the entrepreneurs to each other. So we can learn from each other, so we can grow from each other.  Essentially, what I’m trying to create is a more connected world.

Where does one begin to discover the tech scene in Saudi Arabia?

I think you should just come and visit Riyadh or Jeddah or Dammam or the Eastern province and see for yourself. Enter a local coffee shop, we have so many! And see for yourself how the youth interact with each other. How the older people interact with the youth. And see all the laptops and the innovative things people are working on. Just entering any local place here in Saudi, you’ll be very impressed.