Entrepreneurship: some interesting experiences across the world/4

Mostafa Shahat has been working in entrepreneurship field for 7 years. He founded a training company called G.O.L (Goal Oriented Learners). G.O.L is improving Egyptian youth employment’s skills to be qualified candidates for the job market by offering trainings on entrepreneurship, professional trainings (marketing, sales..ect).Mostafa succeed to deliver G.O.L trainings to 30,000 entrepreneurs & graduates in Egypt.Mostafa interviewed over 80 entrepreneurs from all over the Middle East and published their success stories in international entrepreneurship magazines.Mostafa succeed to build partnerships with several European organizations to organize funded Entrepreneurship programs by National European Agencies in Italy, Bulgaria and Netherlands. Here he gives us a collection of some very interesting stories from international entreneurship.

Theater and drama create sustainable communities

 

Theater and drama are tools to change the community and inspire youth and kids to be change-makers, arts in general can be used to build sustainable communities, through empowering young people who can make change and difference in their local communities as they always trying to develop creative and sustainable solutions to their daily lives challenges. One of the very few social enterprises in MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, named Yes Theater has worked exclusively with children and young people using theater and drama as a tool to raise awareness and advocate on community issues.Mohamed Issa, half Palestinian / half Jordanian, studied chemical engineering in 2002, at Najah University in Palestine, obtained his master degree in International Cooperation and Development from Bethlehem University in 2012, worked as program manager at World Bank for 4 years since 2004, where he was responsible for providing quality management systems and curriculum development services for Palestinian universities.  Mohamed co-founded Yes Theater (YT), in 2008 with a group of co-founders who spent eighteen years implementing drama and theater projects and programs with youth inside and outside schools, in cooperation with the Palestine ministry of education.Mohamed says “The Palestinian community is suffering from many different social challenges” adds “we use drama and theater to build sustainable communities and empower youth and kids to be change-makers who can face their daily lives challenges with creative and sustainable solutions”.Yes Theater main tools to build the sustainable communities and empower youth to be change-makers are artistic performances specially speaking to the issues relevant to the Palestine society, drama workshops and theater performances capacity building for teachers in theater based techniques, advocacy plays and activities of culture exchange. Annually they reach to 30,000 youth and kids, and over than 100 teachers.

Mohamed says “When children and youth join Yes Theater, they grow up in many ways” adds “they amplify their voices, and leverage their influence and power as actors of social change and development”.Mohamed has founded a new social enterprise under the umbrella of YT, named Puppets 4 Kids where they are performing different plays with puppets that has social messages, the programs is targeting only school’s kids.  Yes Theater is located in Palestine, has more than 16 theater productions, YT’s activities operate through three main programs; Drama 4 All, Yes 4 Youth and Yes 4 Future, where they either teaching drama for teacher or youth, or creating drama plays with social messages.YT has performed in 15 different countries in three continents (Asia, Europe and Africa), and joined seven international festivals in Europe and Africa, and it’s considered the first theater in the entire Arab world that has been awarded with transparency international certificate.

Charisma Arts is using Arts and social initiatives to empower the community in Egypt

Egypt is rich with handicrafts, and after the Egyptian revolution in 2011, with the political and economical challenges, the field started to vanish. Producers and artisans suffered for years after the revolution to sell their handicrafts products, they depended more on the tourism industry, as their main customers were foreigners, but the tourism industry has dropped down after the revolution, and therefore they are not generating a sustainable living income.This is where the social entrepreneurs should step in and play a role to help the artisans to market and sell their handicrafts products not just to preserve the heritage as some of the handicrafts’ history goes back to thousands of years but as well helping those who were living by selling handicrafts products to have a sustainable living income as they used to.Vivian Labib Noeur, a social entrepreneur who founded Charisma Arts which is a social enterprise that empowers and trains artisans and marginalized communities to leverage the rich inheritance of Egyptian handmade products, and helps them creates sustainable income to enhance their life quality. She actually started this as the first Egyptian female to have an ecommerce site back in 2003, and was keen to promote unique handicrafts that also have a social impact on the producers.Charisma Arts started with marketing artisans’ handicrafts products through different online channels so they can sell their products not just in the local market, but as well in the international market. Currently she sells on charisma arts website unique gifts supporting families and looking for agents abroad to help marketing products of over 175 different groups of artisans products.  After the revolution, as a social entrepreneur who is keen to address the community challenges, Vivian registered Charisma Arts as a nonprofit foundation, and started also having other on-going projects that uses arts and social initiatives to empower the community, like “Box of Colors “that promotes the value of accepting diversity among youth and children, in addition to outreach program, and training program specially on entrepreneurship for the young entrepreneurs in Egypt.

‘Each one of us is representing a color, and a beautiful picture is combined with different colors, that’s why I named the event Box of Colors, as all of us together with our differences can make Egypt beautiful country’ says Vivian.Vivian had a Bachelor of Arts from the Faculty of Fine Arts in 1997, and she worked as graphic designer, translator, interior designer, marketing manager for companies in Egypt, and country manager for foreign companies in Egypt before starting her own social passion and establishing the social enterprise of Charisma Arts. In 2009 Vivian was chosen in cohort one in 10,000 women initiative, “Women entrepreneurship and leadership skills”, and was chosen first 20 entrepreneurs from Euro Mediterranean area by the Catholic university of Milan, Italy in 2010, was also chosen as a delegate to meet President Obama in 2010 in the social entrepreneurship presidential summit, and recently became a fellow in George W. Bush foundation in 2014, besides being chosen to be a speaker in the first TEDx Cairo Women in 2012.“Social entrepreneurship is not an option is an obligation” this is the famous quote Vivian likes to use to emphasis about the importance of social entrepreneurship specially in Egypt and specially in the current critical transforming stage – Vivian admires artistic work, and with her passion to the community development, she reached to orphanages, refugees, prisoners and Upper Egyptians to teach them some handicrafts skills, and provide mentorship, and finally help them to sell their products, by doing so, these people who are living in marginalized and isolated communities, they found source of sustainable living income.Besides providing several training to over 700 women all over Egypt on entrepreneurship and how to start your own business, Vivian also is a volunteer mentor in several women programs like “Aspire women” with Microsoft citizen and like “Women in business” mentorship program with US embassy in Cairo.Ms. Noeur has been a speaker in a number of events, where she is always keep empowering the audience and influencing youth to discover the charisma God has granted each and every one of them, and use it to help others and make an impact on the society, to spread the good will and volunteerism concept.Vivian has joined many local and international fairs where she sold many of the handicrafts products, and she received many international and national awards for her excellent work at Charisma Arts, and she used to have her own gallery in Cairo before the revolution.

 

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Entrepreneurship: some interesting experiences across the world/2

Mostafa Shahat has been working in entrepreneurship field for 7 years. He founded a training company called G.O.L (Goal Oriented Learners). G.O.L is improving Egyptian youth employment’s skills to be qualified candidates for the job market by offering trainings on entrepreneurship, professional trainings (marketing, sales..ect).Mostafa succeed to deliver G.O.L trainings to 30,000 entrepreneurs & graduates in Egypt.Mostafa interviewed over 80 entrepreneurs from all over the Middle East and published their success stories in international entrepreneurship magazines.Mostafa succeed to build partnerships with several European organizations to organize funded Entrepreneurship programs by National European Agencies in Italy, Bulgaria and Netherlands. Here he gives us a collection of some very interesting stories from international entreneurship.

Building a sustainable community by supporting women with micro-credits

Fida Abu Turkey is a Palestine woman, who succeed to support 100 underprivileged women to start their businesses when she was only 18 years old, and started three different organizations when she was studying arts at Al Quds Open University, she is considered one the most influential civil society activist in Palestine.

Fida grew up in Palestine particularly in Hebron city , since young age, she was volunteering in local organizations that support underprivileged women socially and economically. In 1999 when Fida joined the university, she has successfully run a fundraising campaign and gathered $100,000 to support underprivileged women in her city to start their businesses; 100 women received microcredits, Fida has started three organizations when she was studying in the university, Palestine Center for Communication & Development Strategies  (PCCDS) is a Palestinian non-profit NGO founded in Hebron in 2009 by Fida and a group of young female activists working in fields of development, democracy and human rights, in order to empower the most marginalized and disadvantaged families socially, politically and economically, and she also established Mobile Legal clinic for Human Rights and Rural Development Committees, and lately she has joined them with PCCDS.

In 2009; Fida started Irada for comprehensive development, one of the biggest sustainable organization in the entire Arab world that supports underprivileged women with micro-credits, training and marketing consultation to grow and scale their businesses, Irada supported more than 2500 women to receive funds between $1000 – $5000.As Fida is always active, she has joined more than 20 international conferences in Asia, Europe and Africa to represent Palestine entrepreneurs’ women. She was rewarded with the 1st place in King Abdullah II of Excellence and Youth Innovation Award in 2011, and 1st place in Prince Abdulaziz International Prize for Entrepreneurship in 2014, and Ashoka fellowship.Fida has a dream to support women not just in Palestine, but in the whole Arab world countries, she wants to implement Irada model in each of the Middle Eastern countries to help and support women to receive a fund and build their business. Fida believes that women in 21th century are playing a big role not just in the community’s sustainability but as well in the country economic stability.

Sustainable entrepreneurship Ecosystem in Jordan

Entrepreneurship flourished in MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region after the Arab spring in 2011, and with the support of the international donors, each of the Arabian countries succeed to build a sustainable entrepreneurship ecosystem which has a varieties of main actors; incubators, accelerators, venture capitals and angle investors who invested in social businesses or ventures which have potential to grow up and be sustainable organizations or companies.Jordan is one of the Arabian countries that succeed to create a sustainable entrepreneurship ecosystem before even the Arab spring, one of the most active entrepreneur and investor in the region his name is Saeed Omar a Jordanian who started the first accelerator in the MENA region in 2009, and have been running different successful businesses inside and outside Jordan.Saeed studied hospitality management in 1999 at Cyprus, he served for 9 years in multinational companies in different positions in many of the Gulf countries, but the company where he stayed longer was Media One as sales manager for 5 years in Dubai.Saeed went back to Jordan in 2009 to help founding the first accelerator in the middle east called Meydan (means in English square) with famous Jordanian social entrepreneur Maher Kaddoura, where they were supporting social ventures with an investment twenty thousands dollars each, and in return they have ten percentage equity of the company, Saeed was responsible for the selection process including receiving application and interviewing entrepreneurs. Saeed succeed in one year to recruit 19 social ventures from 500 who have applied, after the great success of the program in the first year, Saeed has decided to step down and work only as management consultant to Maydan and focus on his new venture.Saeed has founded in 2010 Sitat Byoot (which means in English women’s houses) is E-commerce website that helps women who are producing handmade products to sell it online, in less than 6 years, the website has 750 thousands women from 25 Arabian countries registered, with a revenue sales per month 10 – 15 thousands dollars, as well; they have conducted workshops to teach women who would like to learn how to make handmade products, around 100 workshops have been organized for 1000 women in Jordan, and they used to upload these workshops online so all the women in the region can learn how to make handmade products as well, almost 21 thousands women have access to the online uploaded recorded workshops.Parallel to running Sitat Byoot, Saeed has decided that his passion towards supporting entrepreneurs and creating sustainable entrepreneurship ecosystem is endless, that’s why he started in 2015 Startupnow which is a consulting company that helps organizations that support entrepreneurs, their services varies between marketing and management consultation, to training & development, within a year Startupnow has conducted 224 workshops that served 13 thousands entrepreneurs from all over the region.Two of the most incredible achievements that Saeed is proud of, first; he wrote a book named “Company Startup Program’ currently being taught at 20+ universities in Jordan, that helps wantrepreneurs how to start companies or organizations, providing practical solutions for all the marketing and management issues that usually face all the startups when they launch, second; Saeed for one year during 2014 has worked as a consultant for Doha Business Incubation Center (DBIC) which is considered as the biggest incubation center in the world that is built on 22 thousand meter squared, Saeed was supporting the center through the selection process, interviewing entrepreneurs as well giving marketing and managements advices.Saeed has been awarded with many international awards for his great contribution to create entrepreneurship ecosystem in the region and his successful sustainable businesses, one of the most prestigious award is Queen Rania Award for Entrepreneurship.