Mirna Mneimneh is a self-driven and motivated entrepreneur with over 14 years of experience in various industries, including education, not-for-profit, and technology. She has a proven track record of success and significant achievements from ideation to scaling and implementation, as well as a passion for Web 3.0, education, and mental health. In 2023, she joined Luma Makari as the co-founder of Elggo, a comprehensive and evidence-based AI-powered well-being platform for K-12 schools.
Recently, in an exclusive interview with CXO Magazine, Mirna shared her insights on the key role technologies are playing in accelerating innovation in the education industry, her career trajectory, the inspiration behind establishing Elggo, her vision, and much more. The following excerpts are taken from the interview.
How can new technologies like AI, IoT, Blockchain technology, and chatbots play a key role in accelerating innovation in the education industry?
AI-powered adaptive learning systems can provide a personalized learning experience to students based on their individual needs and abilities. Real-time feedback and customized guidance can be given to students through AI-based tutoring systems, helping them to learn more effectively. IoT-enabled devices can also enable remote access to educational resources, allowing students to learn anywhere and anytime. Blockchain technology can ensure the security and tamper-proof records of students’ academic achievements, making it easier for them to share their credentials with potential employers. Chatbots can also provide students an interactive and engaging learning experience by answering questions, giving feedback, and guiding them through complex topics. These technologies can potentially transform the education industry by improving learning outcomes, increasing access to education, and providing new opportunities for students and educators.
Mirna, can you tell us about your professional background and areas of interest?
I grew up in an entrepreneurial family and even ran our family’s lingerie manufacturing business in Lebanon for several years, where I learned the value of hard work and adaptability. When political and economic crises hit, we had to close down – but that experience taught me resilience in adversity.
While business has always been familiar, my heart has drawn me to causes that uplift humanity. I’ve worked with Alzheimer’s patients, refugees, and initiatives improving waste management. But I sought to maximize my impact, leading to technology and emerging fields like Web 3.0. There, I found my passion for leveraging innovation to empower and enable access for all.
As a disruptor, I always seek forward-thinking partners ready to push boundaries and reimagine solutions for our fast-changing world. I bring diverse experience across sectors, which has endowed me with unexpected skills for navigating uncertainty and driving transformation.
Now, I’m embarking on a new journey as a co-founder of Elggo – a platform focused on nurturing well-being and building resilience. I believe mental health is essential, especially in youth, and that our initiative can make a meaningful difference in communities.
You come from an entrepreneurial family and have witnessed the successes and setbacks that come with the territory. What values and lessons have you learned from these experiences, and how have they shaped you into the successful business leader you are today?
Growing up in an entrepreneurial family has instilled several values and lessons in me that have shaped my leadership:
- Resilience and adaptability. I witnessed first-hand the ups and downs of business, including facing economic crises that required persistence and the ability to pivot. This taught me that challenges and failures are inevitable, but success comes from learning to navigate them with flexibility and determination.
- Hard work and grit. Successful entrepreneurship requires dedication, long hours, and the motivation to overcome obstacles. My family modelled the work ethic and passion needed to build something from the ground up.
- Resourcefulness and problem-solving. As an entrepreneur, you often have limited resources and must find creative solutions to issues that arise. Growing up around constant innovation and figuring things out with what we had cultivated my ability to think on my feet and devise new solutions.
These are some in addition to building a solid network of like-minded people and having the right vision and ambition to achieve and build what you want.
What was the inspiration behind establishing your company, Elggo? What sets it apart from other market competitors?
Elggo was born out of the pressing need for youth in the MENA region post-covid. More and more young children are facing a lot of mental challenges and it is not being addressed in the right way. What sets us apart is our AI and tech, we also have a holistic approach to well-being where we involve all stakeholders from parents, counsellors, teachers and community to make sure our kids get the right awareness and intervention when needed. We are also culturally compatibility and relevant to the region.
As the Co-Founder & COO at Elggo, what challenges do you face, and how do you overcome them?
The main challenges I face are related to the limited resources available specifically when it comes to raising funds.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
In 5 years, I see myself leading Elggo with my co-founder to become the biggest well-being platform for youth worldwide.
After a busy working day, how do you unwind?
Usually after a busy day I either go for a run, spend time with my family, or unwind watching a series or movie.
What makes you offbeat, engaging, and different from the rest?
I have a quirky sense of humor and I don’t take things too seriously. I also have diverse interests in both new things and even people, it fuels my curiosity and hones my skills.
What would you like it to be if you could have one superpower?
The power I would choose is the ability to heal emotional pain. This superpower would enable me to heal deep emotional wounds, trauma, and suffering that people carry within them. It would allow me to provide solace, comfort, and support to those who are struggling with emotional burdens.
What piece of advice would you give to aspiring female entrepreneurs?
Believe in yourself, seek mentorship, embrace your unique voice, be resilient in the face of failure, build a supportive team, continuously learn, and prioritize work-life balance. These key pieces of advice are crucial for aspiring female entrepreneurs as they navigate their entrepreneurial journey with confidence, authenticity, and perseverance.