This article has been crossposted from Nuwait.
Two organisations, one local the other not, are trying to give Kuwait's young people a leg up by providing them with the skills they are going to need in a rapidly changing world.
“There is a big gap between what universities are graduating and what the working world requires,” said Rana Al Nibari, CEO of Injaz Kuwait.
This year Injaz will be teaching around 9,000 students in Kuwait, said Al Nibari.
“We want to see our impact on job creation and on employability of students,” she said. “This is hard to measure, but one way to measure it is through our alumni association. Students are running it to make sure more students are exposed and there’s collaboration.”
Real work connections
To bring real-world scenarios and experience to its students, Injaz partners with companies such as Zain, Gulf Bank and Al Ghanim Industries who bring representatives to their training sessions and offer office space and equipment for students to develop their ideas.
“This gives real time insight into one of our pillars, taught by people who are in the private sector, or government, but with good input,” Al Nibari said.
Another way to benefit from these partnerships is through Injaz’s Startup Program, which is a six month incubation program housed at different corporations, that will provide seed funding, office space and mentorship to participants.
Startup Kuwait, an initiative by Global Center, a department of Kuwait University’s College of Business Administration, was launched in November 2015 to support young professionals and students as they pursue their entrepreneurial projects. During spring 2016, the team hopes to bring together five universities and colleges in Kuwait to participate in the Startup Kuwait Competition.
The organization will also be hosting workshops and talks given by experts who have knowledge in startup and business development.
Some of Injaz's program graduates following a competition in 2014. (Image via Injaz)
The Injaz idea
Injaz is a non-governmental organization that provides tailored programs young people aged between 11 and 24, to prepare them for entrepreneurship.
Headquartered in Amman, Jordan, the organization launched in Kuwait in 2005 and has reached over 27,000 students at more than 70 schools and universities. Injaz’s programs rely on three main pillars: entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy.
Their programs include an Entrepreneurial Master Class, a one-day workshop that teaches school students the basics of designing an idea, pitching for funding, understanding how to monetize a product, and team-building. This workshop is an entry-level program of only six hours. They also host longer programs, such as the seven-day Steer Your Career training that targets university students and teaches them how to be competitive employees in the workplace.
Engaging the youth
While Injaz caters to an older age group, Sirdab Lab targets younger innovators, usually between six and 11 years old.
Sirdab’s Kidpreneurs Summer Camp is a series of small workshops that teaches kids how to pitch an idea, find the right resources to develop it, monetize their product and develop a go-to-market strategy.
“We asked them to choose a product that they created the previous week, something they liked the most,” said Zainab Mirza, community outreach and grammar officer at Sirdab Lab.
“Then we told them they’re going to start their own business by selling this.”
The first edition of their summer camp was held on June and July 2015.
For more information on how it went and lessons learned, read Nuwait’s coverage of the camp here.
The second edition of the summer camp was held on June 5-23.
To get parents excited about signing their kids up, Sirdab Lab cofounder Haider Al-Mosawi explained three lessons that children would learn after attending the program: finding the intersection between passion and profit, boosting collaboration with other kids and getting out of their comfort zone.
In a country where 85 percent of the population works for the government, Kuwait is in dire need of entrepreneurs and the teaching of an entrepreneurial spirit.
These initiatives can help raise awareness about the role of entrepreneurship and the opportunity it creates for the country.