Red Crow was born in August 2013 when friends Laila Akel and Hussein Nasser Edin decided to combine their academic and work experience and their entrepreneurial spirit to start an innovative business together. Hussein has two master’s degrees, the first in Middle East Politics and the second in Homeland Security, while Laila has a degree in Applied Sciences. Together, they came up with the idea of providing a security intelligence service that ‘sifts and examines all available raw data and turns it into the concise, invaluable, intelligence that the client needs to make informed decisions’ with emphasis on harnessing new media as a tool for doing so.
An ad on a local jobs website prompted the duo to apply for funding to turn their dream into a reality. Alongside 60 other candidates, they presented their business idea to compete for a place in the WA Fast Forward program. They were one of the only three successful applications.
Based in FastForward project officein Ramallah, Red Crow is now coming to the end of its 4-month acceleration period. Still working at their day jobs until Red Crow becomes fully sustainable, Laila and Hussein appreciate the support received by the program, including office space and technical assistance. Being based in an office that hosts a community of entrepreneurs allows them to share valuable lessons with one another. It was at the office that they met one of their most valuable leads, a representative from the Canadian Embassy, who is now working with them to test and develop their service.
They are currently in the early stages of piloting their product in Palestine in order to refine and develop the service to the highest possible standard before expanding (potentially to Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria) and are searching for funding in the region to enable them to do this. While they are aware of competitors in their market, they have a strong belief in the unique nature of their product. As they grow, they will have their own data storage, servers and security, product development and salaries to fund. Currently, they employ two staff members, however they wish to eventually work with a team of 10 to 15 highly trained specialists with headquarters in over 4 countries in the MENA region.
Red Crow has a clear vision about its future, and a commitment to ethical business that seeks to support the work of NGO’s and others through the protection of staff and resources.