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Injaz Al-Arab celebrates 17th youth entrepreneurship event

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INJAZ Al-Arab, a member of Junior Achievement (JA) Worldwide, the world’s largest non-profit business education organization, commemorated the 17th edition of the Young Entrepreneurship Celebration at the Marsa Malaz Kempinski, The Pearl in Doha. The Youth Entrepreneurship Celebration was held under the patronage of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and in a strategic partnership with INJAZ Qatar, Ooredoo, QDB, Qatar Rail and QNB, Google, Nestle’, Investcorp, Mastercard PMIEF, FedEx, and Boeing. The competition culminated in the Youth Entrepreneurship Celebration on February 20,2024.

The celebration marked a special impactful year as the first to have reached 1 million learning experiences – a visionary goal set by INJAZ Al-Arab 16 years ago. The event was held under the patronage of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education of Qatar, and has witnessed 88 students from 13 different countries demonstrate their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit before the elite judge panel following an intensive six month mentorship program.

Following the judging process, the coveted ‘Company of the Year’ university prize was awarded to SUPCLAY from Tunisia for the university track and to team WAREF from Oman for the high school track.

Speaking about the impact of the event,H.E. Sheikha Hanadi Al Thani, The Chairperson of INJAZ Al Arab and Injaz Qatarsaid: “When we look back 20 years ago and trace INJAZ’s journey from one office and a few hundred volunteers, to operation across 13 countries and over 6 million empowered students, we start to truly appreciate the impact INJAZ Al-Arab has made across several generations of young entrepreneurs many of whom have already become established business leaders in their fields. We have witnessed remarkable achievements in our region in the last couple decades and I believe it is only a fraction of what can truly be achieved when you unlock the immense potential of MENA youth.”

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Commenting on the event, Akef Aqrabawi, President & CEO, INJAZ Al-Arab, said: “Since its inception, the Company Program has offered youth in MENA the opportunity to learn how to move a business idea from concept to reality.  Every year at YEC we see a room full of incredible talent, packed with ambition, creativity and innovation and this year is no different. We’re thrilled to celebrate the 2023 winners of the INJAZ Al-Arab Young Entrepreneurs Competition and witness the inception of the future business community of the Middle East and potentially some of the world-changing ideas. I want to say a big thank you to our students, volunteers, partners, and judges for making this edition a success. Together, we’re making a lasting impact on the future of our youth and our region.

Additional awards included the ‘Product of the Year’, which was awarded to team GUIDE ME from Lebanon and team FORNATURE from Bahrain. 

The celebration awarded the winning student teams who competed for 2 prestigious awards based on rigorous judging stages designed to assess character, originality, leadership, marketing, teamwork and business skills. This year, the elite panel of judges for main tracks will include Abdulla Ali Al-Mawlawi, Director of Communication and Public Relations, Qatar Rail, Jordana Semaan, Head Of Hr – Gulf And Asia Global Head Of Diversity, Equity And Inclusion Investcorp, Martin Roeske, Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy – MENA, Google, Fadi Matar, Geographic Communications Director for India, Middle East, Africa & Turkey; DOW, Hassan Abdulla Al-Ansari, Manager SME Relationship Management, QNB, AND Amber Buschmann, Social Impact Programs Relationship Specialist, PMIEF.

Additionally, the INJAZATHON, which is the newly revamped platform of the first Entrepreneurship Ecosystem launched by INJAZ Al-Arab in 2019, hosted representatives and business leaders to carry on with the skills enhancement session; Roula Droubi, Regional Director, Boeing Middle East, Turkey, Central Asia & Arica, Dina Mongy, Government Relations and Sustainability Manager, Nestlé, Sahar Al Fatayri, Regional Sales Manager FedEx Middle East, Indian Subcontinent and Africa, Sacha Abi Khalil, Emerging Professional Specialist, PMIEF, Samar Estephan, Business Development Director, Mastercard Advisors, Omar Ahmad, Director, Government Engagement, Mastercard, Sally Monem, Brand & Reputation Marketing Lead, Google MENA, Amber Buschmann, Social Impact Programs Relationship Lead, PMIEF, Ahmed Aboueleneen, Regional Sales Manager FedEx Express Middle East, Indian Subcontinent and Africa, Khalifa Al Jalahma, Principal – Emerging Markets Private Equity, Investcorp, and Sweeney Lewis, Vice President – Emerging Markets Private Equity, Investcorp.

The FedEx Global Possibilities Award recognized a team used reusable and sustainable packaging alternative and a team that had excellent presentations with a global perspective. The Nestle Sustainability Award recognized a team that recycles used consumer goods and a team incorporating sustainable practices into every element and milestone. The PMIEF Excellence in Project Management Award recognized a team that used an eco-friendly packaging made from recycled fishing nets, a team demonstrating the most innovative and viable project plan development, reflecting project management tools and techniques and a team excelling in translating innovative ideas into effective and feasible solutions, leveraging PMIEF’s expertise in refinement and implementation. The Mastercard Innovation Award recognized a team implementers of energy-collecting pressure plates. The Boeing Presentation Mastery Award recognized a team that turns used vegetable oil into fuel for vehicles. AI Spark Award by Google recognized the team that used creative AI-powered solutions during the ideation phase. The Value Creation Excellence Award by Investcorp recognized the team with Investcorp’s emphasis on value creation within the context of the presented business case.

Launched in 2007, the INJAZ Al-Arab Youth Entrepreneurship Celebration is the culmination of six months of rigorous experiential learning and application for students across the MENA region who have won the internationally acclaimed INJAZ National Company Program. In partnership with the companies behind the awards, and with the support of thousands of volunteers, INJAZ Al-Arab has continued to drive an impactful program that sees many student companies evolve into some of the region’s most promising youth-led start-ups.

For more details on the Youth Entrepreneurship Celebration or to take part in next year’s program, visit https://www.injazalarab.org/.

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