“Young people today are not aware of society’s real problems.”
This is what motivated Mona Itani, a lecturer at the American University of Beirut AUB, to launch her startup, Riyada, an educational platform about social entrepreneurship.
Itani’s interest in this field goes back a long time. When she was a doctoral student at the University of Leicester, she researched women entrepreneurs in Lebanon and studied the difficulties they faced in getting funding.
Now that she’s an author and consultant in social entrepreneurship, education and ethics, she aims to raise young people's awareness about social issues and encourage them to create solutions to those problems.
Social entrepreneurship is not without its difficulties, especially when it comes to funding.
Investors tend to associate social entrepreneurship with non-profits. But that was not inaccurate anymore and was a perspective that must be changed, she said. “If the idea is successful, it can make profits.”
In this video, Itani illustrates the other challenges her project faces, aside from funding, including integrating the company’s program into school curricula and the financial burden of keeping students in classrooms after school.