When it comes to supporting entrepreneurship and youth employment in the Middle East and North Africa, Zain Jordan is taking a large step forward.
Last fall, Zain announced the establishment of a dedicated Corporate Entrepreneurship Responsibility (CER) division, a Wamda initiative designed to engage corporations across the Arab world in supporting entrepreneurship and startups. Zain is the first company in Jordan to assign a dedicated division within its organization that supports and develops startup projects submitted by young entrepreneurs.
Zain’s step to develop Corporate Entrepreneurship Responsibility (CER) is an attempt to change the quality of its traditional models by evolving its organizational structure.
Zain Jordan has taken several pioneering steps, first conducting a workshop with Wamda this January to establish internal programs to support entrepreneurs. One of the primary initiatives launched was Zain AlMubadara, a creative competition and training session designed to improve entrepreneurship skills among youth in the Hashemite Kingdom. The program aims at embracing entrepreneurial ideas and projects by providing the needed support to ensure growth and sustainability of their businesses.
This year, on April 15th & 16th at its headquarters in Amman, Zain kicked off a competition for members of the Zain AlMubadara program, beginning with training in soft skills. Over 130 participants submitted over 150 ideas to the competition, receiving guidance from youth development expert Dr. Sana’a Abdo to sharpen their pitching skills and to develop their communications and presentation skills.
The program aims to support 18 projects in total, after a jury selects 20 semifinalists and then chooses the finalists during a Venture Day in June 2014. Throughout the year, Zain employees will continue to support these young entrepreneurs to further develop their business models and financial skills.
Zain also launched a Corporate Entrepreneurship Speaker Series, in cooperation with the Global Innovation through Science Technology (GIST) Initiative. On April 16th, the telecommunications company debuted the first session, participating in a live streaming session titled “Attracting Media Attention for your Venture.” As one of 12 companies around the world that displayed the session from its broadcast location in Washington, DC, Zain united over 50 startup founders at its headquarters and facilitated their interaction with GIST TechConnect speakers.
Zain’s commitment to supporting youth also continues beyond CER. On April 19th, Zain hosted the final round of Microsoft Imagine Cup 2014, the global student technology competition. Qualifying teams from Jordan assembled at Zain’s headquarters to pitch their ideas in 20 minutes to a panel of judges who included HE Marwan Juma, HE Nadia Saied, HE Nader Thneibat, Mr. Samer Awjean, and Dr. Bashar Hawadeh.
With future events planned for CER, Zain Jordan is making 2014 the year to support youth, galvanize entrepreneurship, and plant the seeds for private sector growth in Jordan.