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In the GEM Global Women's Report, women in MENA ranked at 4% compared to the rest of the world- the lowest for "total entrepreneurial activity". To help break down the ratio of this gap, founder and CEO Jacqueline Sofia wants to assist women-owned startups venture past the startups stage to the SME sector through DreamRise.Co, a crowdfunding and multimedia platform. Currently seeking funds through crowdfunding platform Kickstarter till January 13, the U.S.-registered entity based in Amman aims to utilize women's success stories as the catalyst to engage financial backers. DreamRise.co also wants to help change the negative stereotypes of victimization and inferiority on women to being viewed and respected as successful businesspeople.
Besides being a platform where women-owned SMEs can seek funding, DreamRise.Co will also offer support in creating their campaign pages and video stories. With regards to revenue, Sofia assures, "we are not a financial institution and do not handle funds directly." They likened themselves to the Kickstarter model, being a third party facilitator: "There is no investment –no equity/debt-, simply a financial pledge in exchange for an optional one-time reward. In the beginning, these campaigns will be small in quantity –two or three campaigns per month- allowing us to build a community around DreamRise and the women entrepreneurs we are aiming to support. In return for each successful campaign, we receive 7% commission of all funds raised." Once more, in Kickstarter-style, your success is their success.
Sofia, who also co-founded social enterprise Sitti Soap Company and comes from a background of helping women in stricken communities, asserts that DreamRise.Co is a space to discover stories and inspiration, as well as be surrounded by a community supportive of women-led enterprises. This is where its multimedia aspect will come in. Disruptors Magazine will feature in-depth profile pieces, video interviews, advice forum, and a network of female business leaders from the Middle East and U.S.
Their goal is US$75,000 and DreamRise has big plans: 26.7% will go to platform development, 21.3% for the content creation, 18.7% to the website launch and the rest will be distributed to the campaign video production, company infrastructure and Kickstarter campaign rewards. The startup is set to launch in February 2015, and in the meantime their Kickstarter campaign page will also publish short videos of their favorite women 'treps in the region and they're going interactive too- they're inviting other women entrepreneurs to tell their story on DreamRise.Co and Kickstarter page.