The Shortcut Talks
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The Shortcut Talks

Sharbel Dahlan — creating a shortcut to integration

Sharbel is a 24 year old student from Syria although most of his life he has been living in Dubai. He is currently studying the second year of his double degree mobility program of the EIT Digital Master school. He began his studies in Sweden at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology and is now concluding his thesis at Aalto University where he combines technology with a topic close to his heart: integration of foreign talent in Finland. He defines himself as a “happy customer of The Shortcut” and we are happy to have him in our community.

Sharbel’s first contact with The Shortcut was the JavaScript club and, according to him, the values that The Shortcut represented fascinated him. After that first experience he decided to enroll for the lottery lunch and later joined both weekend bootcamps from the School of Startups: Business Ideation Weekend and Digital Prototyping Weekend. Sharbel is a young entrepreneur, and although he is modest about his own skills, he and his teams received very positive feedback both weekends by working on developing his idea talentPal (originally PAL standing for peace and love) which is a platform to showcase the skills of foreign talent in Finland.

Sharbel presents LePal at The School of Startups in June 2017.

Sharbel had expressed interest in winning tickets to Slush and by working hard he managed to win them… twice! He then decided to donate his second ticket to Slush to Elisabeth Miheludaki, another participant from the School of Startups and the bootcamps. “I don’t think that I did anything special, I feel that anyone in my position would have done the same. Liza works hard, she shows passion, and she continues to show up for more and more learning. I think that she deserves to be praised and I am happy to share a Slush ticket with her”, answers Sharbel when asked about his decision to share his prizes with another member of The Shortcut Community.

Sharbel says: “the most valuable part of attending bootcamps and events such as the ones arranged by The Shortcut is not only about the skills that one can learn, but more importantly about the contacts that we can make. For me it meant the opportunity of listening to different opinions on talentPal and even better, finding a member of my team. I am very happy to have found Heikki, we worked together as a team and we just clicked. Helena joined the team invited by Heikki we continue to work together until today and everything goes smoothly. We are a good complement”.

The challenges of integration

Sharbel knows well that integration in a host society is challenging, especially in the professional field. That doesn’t discourage him though, he keeps working on his thesis, on talentPal and just last week he accepted a job offer from an Espoo based startup (yay!). He says that he has been pondering on the choice of staying in Finland or moving to another country and shares: “Even though it is hard finding a job and it can be disheartening, I never lost my motivation. I feel that the transition from student to professional life in Finland is not impossible. The Shortcut is another of my reasons for staying. I am not just saying this, I am, how to say it? a happy customer of The Shortcut and that is one of the things that motivate me to stay here and keep on trying”. That is the spirit of a true entrepreneur.

Integration of talent facilitated by technology

Aware of the challenges, Sharbel wants to do more than just feeling empathy for those on the same situation. He has decided to combine his professional knowledge in computer science and his experience to create and progress with talentPal. talentPal is a platform, currently on instagram, that allows international talents to share through a brief video what are (some of) their skills in order to connect them with organizations that could benefit from their talent while also giving them the opportunity to create social capital and leverage their aptitudes through volunteering.

As a bonus, check out Sharbel’s application to Yousician. Way to be creative while job hunting!

We look forward to seeing what the future will bring for you and your projects, Sharbel. You said that you are happy to be part of The Shortcut and we are lucky to have YOU.



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Yesmith Sanchez

Yesmith Sanchez


Passion for stories, people and catching up with the ever evolving world.