Transtek, a Syrian company that has developed its own ERP system, has managed to overcome the challenges faced by the international sanctions imposed on Syria, a country in which American companies aren’t allowed to do any business, by leveraging those external barriers to entry and developing and growing their own system. The man behind Transtek, Abdulsalam Haykal, agreed to an email interview. Read on for an interesting perspective on entrepreneurship and opportunity where others may have perished.
So, let’s start: tell us a little bit about you
I’m a schizophrenic entrepreneur whose passion is in media and technology, and a great believer in the human ability to advance and affect change. This is the bright side! If you’re interested in the other side, you should ask my sister. She is our communications coordinator and knows my shortcomings as she tries to keep a lid on them.
Tell us a little bit about your company, its history, and whether or not this is your first initiative?
Transtek started in 2000, as the need for sophisticated business applications for the medium to large size companies was increasing. Syria started a rigorous program of economic reforms in 2000. At the same time, the country was suffering from international isolation which has subsided since then, excluding the US sanctions that still continue until now. That presented a challenge for Syria’s companies and great opportunities for us. The Syrian market was off-limits to major software providers like Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP due to the sanctions. After two years of R&D we launched the first version of Compass Enterprise Suite, a 20-module Arabic/English ERP system. We were able to fill a niche with the product and local support which is extremely important for enterprise software implementations. Today Transtek is the largest enterprise software company in Syria, with about 80% of the ERP market share. and we have plans for regional expansion. We are able to attract outstanding fresh graduates who trust us to give them their first experience. Foreign companies trust us and come with partnership proposals. Syria is opening up, and growing, and we are well positioned to grab the opportunity.