What sets Kravis Prize winners apart from other social entrepreneurs is their aim to empower those who do not have their own voice. 2012 Kravis Prize winner Soraya Salti’s INJAZ Al-Arab is a perfect example. Youth unemployment in the Middle East and North Africa is the highest in the world and INJAZ Al-Arab is working to remedy this problem.
As part of the Global Journal’s series on the New Global Generation of Female Change-Makers, the publication interviewed INJAZ Al-Arab Executive Director Soraya Salti, who discussed the importance of youth entrepreneurship.
“[The youth] realize that due to population demographics governments are no longer hiring – they can’t cope with the influx of graduates – and the private sector discriminates against them. So their only avenue for economic inclusion is entrepreneurship, and we see that reflected very, very strongly in the motivation of young females we work with. They take the entrepreneurship experience and opportunity we give them as a raison d’etre. They put their hearts and souls completely into it.”
Salti also offered some insight into how and why the government is beginning to work with the organization:
“I think it was a moment of awakening for governments, that the biggest national security issue is unemployment. In the short-term, we have been looked upon as a solution provider – by the Jordanian government, by the Saudi government, by the Bahraini government. It’s made our life a lot easier in a way, because so much of our effort went into piloting, and proof of concept, and convincing ministries of education to really take us seriously and invest and give us the access we need. At least now that part is over – they no longer need convincing. It’s very clear.”
Check out the rest of the interview here.
And learn more about Salti and INJAZ Al-Arab here.