Samia al-Solh, a young Lebanese entrepreneur, is launching a new monthly Beirut-based magazine in November called "Push," designed to educate and guide young women in the process of starting a business. Al-Solh, who went through the painful process of starting her own business when she returned to Lebanon in 2007 after graduating from New York University, is setting the publication in motion because she felt the urge to share with other Arab women the tips and information she gathered along the way.
Al-Solh presents Push as an off-shoot of the Young Arab Women Entrepreneurs (YAWE) all-female think tank she also spawned. YAWE is an online networking platform for active and ambitious women all over the Middle East. Al-Solh will feed the same purpose by giving large readership access to business-related information and success stories of other women in the region.
Al-Solh spoke to Al-Masry Al-Youm about what she hopes to achieve through the new publication, detailing its content, and the role she hopes Push will play in the landscape of the Arab press.
Al-Masry Al-Youm: What dynamics lie behind the creation of Push magazine?
Samia al-Solh: Push is a monthly magazine in English designed for female professionals in the Middle East. I noticed while struggling to start my own business that there is a real thirst for business knowledge emanating from women in the Middle East, and this gave me the idea to share my experience to ease the process for aspiring female entrepreneurs. This is why YAWE was created in the first place. It became obvious at some point that the only way for us to reach a broader audience of female entrepreneurs or would-be entrepreneurs was to come up with a new concept in the shape of a magazine. Also, the hope with Push is that women won't have to buy five different magazines to get all the information they need.
Al-Masry: Will the magazine be sold in Egypt any time soon?
Al-Solh: The first issue of the magazine will be published in November in Lebanon, and Lebanon only. We have to comply with a two-issue trial at the end of which, if the magazine gets a good readership, we will have the possibility to send the same issue to other Arab countries including Egypt, Qatar, Syria, Jordan and the UAE. We are also discussing sending it to Morocco in a French version.
So if we manage to thrill our new readership before this two-month trial is over, the magazine will definitely be sent to Egypt. The magazine will have 64 to 80 pages and its price will oscillate between US$6-7.
Al-Masry: Could you detail how the magazine is made up?
Al-Solh: The magazine will have eight sections. The first section, called "Substance," will have economic pieces, tips on how to start a business, and give business-related news. Our second section, "Cultivation," will focus on history, heritage, business book reviews and intellectual pieces. This section is certainly going to become the most refined of the whole magazine. The third section falls under the title of "Felicity," and, as its name indicates, it will give our readers tips on how to be mentally and physically healthy, through self-help and motivational articles and stories of the achievements of women from the region. In the following section, "Indulging," women will learn how to make money and how to spend it well, with pieces on luxury and fashion.
When we realized that smart became the "new sexy," we decided to name the magazine's fifth section "Geeky Chic," a section that will focus on new technologies, creating one's business website and how to immerse oneself in e-commerce, for example. "Possibility," the next section, will tackle opportunities in the business world, compare investment banks, and will tend to convey a clear image of which businesses have more chances of succeeding. The seventh section, "Executive mothers," derives from a study we found that revealed that seventy percent of working females are mothers. We want to give these women tips on how to balance professional and personal life, how their children are going to be affected by the fact that they work, and so on. The last section is untitled, and will gather pieces on continuing education opportunities, and the business horoscope.