“If (students) can learn how to become entrepreneurs, just like they know how to read and write, then we are putting their futures into their hands. Instead of becoming dependent on government, and dependent on society to take care of them, they’re empowered to become self-actualized individuals in the entrepreneurial realm.”
Soraya Salti, Regional Director Middle East & North Africa of INJAZ Al-Arab
Current Operations of INJAZ Al-Arab
INJAZ Al-Arab harnesses the mentorship of Arab business leaders to help inspire a culture of entrepreneurialism and business innovation among Arab youth. Operating in 14 countries across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), INJAZ is based on the longstanding Junior Achievement model. INJAZ’s mission is to accelerate young people’s ability to contribute to the economic development of nations by connecting them with dedicated business mentors and providing them with the skills and mindset they need to become the entrepreneurs and business leaders stimulating their communities.
To foster entrepreneurship, INJAZ began bringing business leaders and their staff members into Jordan’s public schools for an hour each week to share their professional experience with young people. Students began learning the means for strengthening their innovation, thus deepening their understanding of the business world and increasing their professional qualifications to operate as independent business owners. Business leaders began to notice an increase in talent, skills, and confidence from graduates. In 2004, Soraya Salti, former Senior Vice President of Middle East/North Africa for Junior Achievement Worldwide, INJAZ Al-Arab, took the program from Jordan to a regional level as INJAZ Al-Arab moved into 14 other Arab countries, thereby expanding its reach to more than two million Arab youth through continued focus on experiential education, training in work readiness, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship.
More practical programs include semester-long courses that focus on promoting financial literacy, work readiness, and life skills, as well as business entrepreneurship and social leadership. In addition, INJAZ Al-Arab provides job placement options by exposing students to career choices and helping to promote them in a competitive job market. All of this is accomplished while continuing to engage the private sector in a manner that encourages their collaboration and provides a mutual benefit.
Since 2007, several countries have come together for an annual business competition to determine the ‘Company of the Year.’ A group of leaders and professionals from high-profile organizations volunteer to act as mentors and judges. The students create and launch businesses, which are then assessed based on products and services, marketing plans, management reports, budgeting, and environmental considerations. Three awards were presented during the 2012 regional competition that included: Most Creative TV Advertisement, Most Innovative Product, and Best Company of the Year. This competition gives students an opportunity to use their newly-acquired business skills in a real life setting.
Approach and Distinguishing Features
INJAZ Al-Arab demonstrates a strong belief in the boundless potential of young people, while maintaining a commitment to the principles of market-based economics and entrepreneurship. Through the power of partnership and collaboration, they have developed a network of more than 20,000 corporate volunteers, and have reached more than 2 million students. Their mission is to make a difference in Arab youth through a sense of self-motivation, confidence, and empowerment, while fostering a passionate spirit of mentoring among business leaders, and investing their resources to help youth make the leap from school to work place.
About Soraya Salti
It is with great sadness that we honor the life of Soraya Salti (1971-2015), who came to Claremont McKenna College to receive the Kravis Prize in Nonprofit Leadership award on behalf of INJAZ Al-Arab in 2012. Soraya Salti was the Senior Vice President of Middle East/North Africa for Junior Achievement Worldwide, and the head of the nonprofit INJAZ Al-Arab.
Soraya Salti became involved with INJAZ Al-Arab in 2001 when the majority of young adults in the Arab world were unable to find employment after graduation. INJAZ Al-Arab is At INJAZ Al-Arab, Soraya Salti has spent more than a decade mobilizing the private sector and ministries of education in the Arab world to join forces in creating a new generation of business-minded youth.
Salti was a founding board member of the Business Development Center in Jordan and of the Queen Rania Awards for Excellence in Education. She was also a chair of the 2011 MENA WEF Entrepreneurship Education Action Group, a position which allowed Salti to take the lead in advancing the 21st century skills in education reform across the Arab World. In recognition of her work, Salti received several awards and honors, including the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, Schwab Social Entrepreneur of the Year, and World Economic Forum Young Global Leader.
Kravis Prize in Nonprofit Leadership
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