Dana Nayef Alfayez
Dana Nayef Alfayez, Jordan
Founder at NOMAD
- Program studied
Dana Nayef Alfayez understands that even the smallest spaces can unleash huge potential—a concept that quickly grew into her new space-sharing venture, NOMAD.
A gifted architect and entrepreneur, Dana began working for OMB Architects & Interior Designers not long after graduating from the German Jordanian University. However, it was her ambition to create something new that led her to IE School of Architecture and Design to take part in the Master in Business for Architecture and Design. Once there, she got down to work right away to bring her idea to life.
She noticed that, in a world where everyone has an idea, only a few actually bear fruit, often due to lack of affordable resources—including space. Traditional leasing commitments do not represent the reality of modern entrepreneurship, offering only inflexible and long-term options. Therefore, Dana decided to create NOMAD, the first easily accessible marketplace for temporary space in Jordan and the Middle East.
“NOMAD’s mission is bigger than filling up these empty spaces. [It’s about] creating this network of vibrant spaces to share people’s dreams.”
Whenever a business is in a period of transition, the prime real estate is often underutilized or even left entirely vacant. The NOMAD model involves matching these vacant commercial spaces with entrepreneurs in need of temporary space with an easy-to-use, Airbnb-style app.
But the concept goes beyond simply occupying unused space. As Dana says, “NOMAD’s mission is bigger than filling up these empty spaces. [It’s about] creating this network of vibrant spaces to share people’s dreams.”
The startup is still in the early stages of “collecting data, negotiating with landlords, and pitching the venture to the general public,” but Dana and her team have great plans for the future. Eventually, she hopes “to become the Airbnb of retail in the Middle East.”
In pursuit of this, she applied and was accepted to the IE accelerator program, the Venture Lab, which also gives her the possibility to compete against 85 other startups. Win or lose, this is a fantastic opportunity to network and gain feedback.
Dana credits the Master in Business for Architecture and Design for helping her gain confidence and pursue her passion. She says, “It has made me conscious of my potential to contribute to [solving] our social and economic issues.”
Beyond opening her eyes, the program has also provided her with solid professional skills, helping her “accomplish a deeper understanding of business management within the architectural field. It has provided me with the right network and environment to strengthen my professional potential as an entrepreneur and architect.”
And this is key to Dana’s whole philosophy for beginning a successful business. To become an entrepreneur you need two things: space for your ideas to flourish, and—as Dana puts it—to “network, network, network.”