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The Year That Was: 20 Lessons From '20 Even as one may be inclined to dismiss 2020 as though it doesn't need to exist in our collective history, a little introspection will reveal that all of us have almost certainly learnt some valuable lessons through the course of the year- things that we probably wouldn't have grasped had our world not been turned upside down over the last 12 months.

By Aby Sam Thomas

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Entrepreneur Middle East

If there's one thing all of us can probably agree on, it's that 2020 has been a tumultuous time for pretty much everyone in some way or the other.

The losses that we have witnessed over the course of the year have been truly overwhelming, and as such, no one can be faulted for wishing 2020 had never happened.

But even as one may be inclined to dismiss this year as though it doesn't need to exist in our collective history, a little introspection will reveal that all of us have almost certainly learnt some valuable lessons through the course of 2020- things that we probably wouldn't have grasped had our world not been turned upside down over the last 12 months.

I've personally felt this to be true, and that thought has only been reinforced when I talked to 20 people from the MENA business ecosystem to hear about their biggest trials and triumphs of the last year.

In what can be seen as perhaps an ode to 2020, these individuals- ranging from people who've seen their businesses come to a standstill in this period, to those who kicked off their entrepreneurial journeys in the middle of the chaos- share what they thought about the year, how they got through it, and what lessons they are taking with them into 2021.

As you read these accounts, I hope that you will take the time to reflect on the year that was as well, and use those thoughts to fuel your hopes and dreams in 2021, and beyond.

Click on the links below to access stories of each of the 20 individuals in this feature:

  1. The Year That Was: Abdulla Almoayed, Founder and CEO, Tarabut Gateway
  2. The Year That Was: Dr. Saliha Afridi, Co-Founder And Managing Director, The Lighthouse Arabia
  3. The Year That Was: Rashid Al Ghurair, Founder And CEO, CAFU
  4. The Year That Was: Shaima Saleh Al-Husseini, Managing Director, Saudi Sports For All Federation
  5. The Year That Was: Omar Al Mheiri, Co-founder, Letswork
  6. The Year That Was: Haleema Al Owais, CEO, Sultan Bin Ali Al Owais Real Estate
  7. The Year That Was: Dan Bolton, Owner And Director, Dan Bolton Creative Management Agency
  8. The Year That Was: Pallavi Dean, Founder And Creative Director, Roar
  9. The Year That Was: Alaa Fadan, Co-Founder and CEO, Telfaz11
  10. The Year That Was: Amelia Gundersen-Herman, Co-Founder And CMO, Assuage Travel
  11. The Year That Was: Ghizlan Gunez, Founder, The Modist
  12. The Year That Was: Sacha Haider, Principal, Global Ventures
  13. The Year That Was: Rejani Cicily Joseph, Co-Founder And Director Of Analytics, Anavizio
  14. The Year That Was: Halima Jumani, Director, Kibsons
  15. The Year That Was: Omar Kassim, Founder and CEO, Nomod
  16. The Year That Was: Tamim Khalfa, Co-Founder And CEO, Toters
  17. The Year That Was: Lina Rovere, Founder, Fashion Frista
  18. The Year That Was: Mudassir Sheikha, Co-Founder And CEO, Careem
  19. The Year That Was: Chang Sup Shin, CEO, 1004 Gourmet
  20. The Year That Was: Charlie Weaving, Managing Partner, LIVIT Hospitality Management

Related: We Made It: Thoughts On Completing A Year (And Gearing Up For Another One)

Aby Sam Thomas

Entrepreneur Staff

Editor in Chief, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aby Sam Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Middle East. In this role, Aby is responsible for leading the publication on its editorial front, while also working to build the brand and grow its presence across the MENA region through the development and execution of events and other programming, as well as through representation in conferences, media, etc.

Aby has been working in journalism since 2011, prior to which he was an analyst programmer with Accenture, where he worked with J. P. Morgan Chase's investment banking arm at offices in Mumbai, London, and New York. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.  

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