It’s time for new Coalitions of Willing: a message from Ignite Investment Chairwoman
We live in the matrix. A matrix WE built ourselves over the years, with its foundations dictating our ways of life. This matrix has been growing by erecting one barrier after the next, until we, as individuals, have become prisoners of its structure; prisoners of borders, social stature, gender roles, religious wars, unsustainable ways of manufacturing, and so much more.
Each and every one of us must ask ourselves: how satisfied are we with the outcome - With the world we live in?
Since these old foundations were built, humanity has changed. We have better science, advanced technologies, and higher transparency and awareness. Isn't it time for a systemic overhaul? How about we build a system that fosters fairness, inclusiveness, and a sustainable future? I believe there is a better way, and it is our responsibility to find it.
I first became aware of these old-world failings when I was a child, witnessing reality from different angles. And as I grew up, the dissonance continued.
As a Lebanese-Israeli; I was born in Beirut, and during the Lebanese civil war, my family was running from Beirut West to Beirut East – separated by religion and clannism, when I did not see why these barriers had to be there.
As an Arab Jew; When I grew up, I re-settled between Europe and Egypt - one day enjoying a Western Fish & Chips in Paris or London, and the next eating a Middle Eastern Shawarma Batata in Agami. Celebrating the Jewish holidays and wearing a Star of David, which I had to remove when boarding the plane to Cairo or Beirut, where I shared the iftar with my cousins.
As a woman venture capitalist; In a man-dominated guild, I was often the only woman in the room, be it on Goldman Sachs’s trading floor, leading negotiations in Ramallah’s government agencies, or in Tel Aviv’s Venture Capital offices.
It always felt like I have to choose a side, and that harmony between practices is simply not possible.
Finally, as a personal mission, I chose not to divide the world of doing good from the world of business, and became an uncompromising sustainable impact capitalist, aligning my personal, professional, family, and political goals with the world I want to build, a one of integration and co-existence.
I believe that to establish a change, we first must realize the root of the problem. For centuries, societies have grown by spreading dividedness, and deep vulnerabilities were established.
Our planet’s vulnerability, with climate change, pollution, plastics, and more.
Our social vulnerabilities, with deep inequalities and racial divides.
Our political vulnerabilities, with populism and corruption that are only spreading.
Our economic vulnerabilities with so many companies creating more negative impact than the actual value.
And even our own bodies and minds’ vulnerabilities, with the Covid-19 pandemic, soaring stress, chronic diseases, and so much avoidable suffering.
This state-of-affairs is the direct consequence of rigid outdated systems. But there is good news: The world is moving too fast now for the old system to cope, and we see them starting to change in front of our eyes.
We are at a tipping point where we can establish real change, and build a new system, one that will include those currently left behind.
We just need new COWs (or: Coalitions of Willing) to rise up to this challenge, on the political, business, and social level. We need daring entrepreneurs, corporates and political leaders to fulfill bold breakthroughs, and foster transparency, fair regulation, and accountability.
7 years ago, we founded Ignite Group to do just that, and I chose to focus on applying these principles to all our work. I also moved to the UAE, which embraced many of these concepts at a national level. While some still debate the difficulty of overhauling our broken legacy systems, others embrace a digital, decentralized, democratized, and disruptive future, ready to adapt without regret to a 3.0 sustainable reality.
We must start thinking about the tomorrow we want to live in, and start building it today. Looking at a blank canvas, let’s ask ourselves - If we could rebuild our societies, with the aim of a more sustainable and equitable future, isn’t now the time to do it?
Angela Homsi, Chairwoman