We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”
– Martin Luther King Jr –

We are a few days away from the graduation of our Nov-Dec batch at MTB Startup School.

In the past, at our School, we had the opportunity to host people from a myriad of countries (still counting…).

For this session, also thanks to our partners (such as Brilliant Lab and Wind Business Factor) we had the opportunity to work with a tremendous mix of cultures.

The projects participating at this Startup School edition are incredibly diverse. Even more than usual. The represented countries are Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Palestine, Argentina, and Europe.

Diversity Improves Innovation

The “diversity improves innovation” topic is at the core of what Silicon Valley is all about.

This is also reflected in our mentors.

Such as Christian Van Der Henst, from Guatemala, co-founder at Platzi, Mind the Seed portfolio company, an advanced platform for online courses focused in South-America now expanding in the US.

Or, Nida Atshan, a Palestinian program manager at TechWadi, a non-profit organization connecting people/projects between Silicon Valley and the MENA region.  

And… I couldn’t be more excited during this program to build a bridge between cultures that are intrinsically different particularly during this program.

This actually turns out to be a great driving force for our projects.

Some of them were trailed by the passion others put in the program, others were trailed by the consistency and the commitment of the ones that were extremely focused on the program.

Gender Diversity Ecosystem: from Palestine to Silicon Valley

But it isn’t just a matter of culture… it is also about the gender. We, at MTB, have been advocating for gender diversity since Adam and Eve (here’s the last panel on “Women 2.0” we hosted at SEC2SV – Startup Europe comes to Silicon Valley)

Today I want to share the perspective of a young passionate female entrepreneur. I am talking about Shatha Shaamia, who brought her venture, Chilibody, from Palestine to Silicon Valley to validate her business.

Here’s a snapchat of our conversation:

What is the best and worst decision you’ve ever made?

“Best decision was creating Chilibody while I was having a full-time job, the same decision took me to being a full-time entrepreneur. I don’t remember I had a worst decision.”

What was your dream job as a kid and why?

“Public speaker and influencer, I just love it, I have a different feeling when I stand on the stage in front of an audience, I feel there is a fire on me.”

What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?

“Community, we don’t use to have women in a leadership position, we don’t get the trust that we can be good leaders, like men.

From women’s perspective, most of women gave up to the limitation the community put them into.

Every woman has the advantage to be successful just because she is a woman because she has this charming presence that men don’t have. She just needs to believe in herself and keep going.”

What woman inspires you and why?

“Oprah Winfrey, an African-American woman able to inspire the entire world.”

What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?

“The only challenge I see is the limitation – or the walls – that the previous generation had built up against women’s dreams, so once women break that wall they will be successful. There are no limitations for any woman’s dream. They can achieve their dreams if they believe they can.”

MTB is honored to sponsor such a powerful force.

From her words, you can get just a small taste of the empowerment entrepreneurship can provide to a new generation of startups.

The real power of the people is to reduce the gap between what they don’t know is in store for them and knowing in details how to reach their objectives. And, the only way to do this is traveling and opening their minds to opportunities while connecting the dots.

See you soon in San Francisco and remember Diversity Improves Innovation  😉

– Federico Gobbi, Startup School Program Coordinator