By Lubna Hamdan / Arabian Business
Liwwa, Inc, is a crowdfunding platform in the MENA region. Ahmed Moor's SME lending platform connect small and medium businesses who need capital with fixed-income investors in the hope of tackling MENA's funding gap. The Palestinian-born co-founder explains how he is cashing in on the region's "lost opportunities".
After witnessing the 2011 Egyptian revolution, former journalist Ahmed Moor decided to launch Liwwa, a peer-to-peer funding platform that would address the MENA region’s $240bn SME funding gap by lending money to growing businesses.
Together with co-founder and CTO Samer Atiani (former senior software developer at New York-based online retailer Etsy), Moor has managed to lend over $8m to SMEs across the region since the establishment of the Amman-based firm in 2013.
But the Palestinian American entrepreneur, who was born in Rafah refugee camp in Gaza, is particularly interested in driving job creation, acknowledging that there are more unemployed graduates than there are jobs in the MENA region. A big believer in the private sector, he aims to boost it in order to tackle the unemployment he claims is largely related to the persistant weakness in regional economies.
He tells Arabian Business why hiring is his biggest challenge, where he intends to expand Liwwa and why his home country of Palestine is not yet on his list.
How does Liwwa support job and income growth in the MENA region?
It is very simple: Liwwa lends money to established and growing small businesses. These businesses then grow faster because they have access to debt, and hire more people as a result. Liwwa also hires people as we grow. We have a team of about 30 people today.