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In this series, I feature the female CEO’s whose companies are making major moves towards improving the world we live in. Today I caught up with the CEO of Silatech, Sabah I. Al Haidoos.
1) Can you tell us about your organization and the amazing things you’re doing to improve the lives of thousands of young Arabs around the world?
Silatech is an International development nonprofit non-government organization that works on connecting Youth wherever they are to jobs, and enable resources for them to establish and sustain successful enterprises. Silatech has innovative youth programs in 16 Arab countries including: Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Morocco, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen and the Comoros.
The organization is currently working on expanding its operations. Expansion plans include to grow in other countries. One of our initiative recently launched a training and recruitment program for young Arab refugees in Turkey. In 2008, Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser, as a member of the High-Level Group an ambassador to the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, launched Silatech as a global initiative that seeks to create opportunities for youth. With a focus on creating change leaders who’s vision is on a better tomorrow.
Our achievements to date are as follows +650,522 Job Opportunities- 1,000,000 by end of 2018, $237,000,000 Partners Co-Funding * As of 2016, +300 Local, Regional and International Partners and +16 Countries of Operation. In 2012, Silatech and Microsoft launched Ta3mal.com. We were the region’s first employability portal that helps youth and job seekers find support to transition into the world of work. Available in Arabic, English, and French, the online platform offers online access to career guidance. It also enhances soft-skills via e-learning.
It connects people to jobs and internships opportunities and entrepreneurship training.
2) Can you explain how Silatech’s initiative improves people’s careers?
Sure! The initiative relies on local partners to provide specialized content and direct services to youth and job seekers. In 2011, Silatech partnered with Mindmill to launch Tamheed, Silatech’s career guidance program.
The program includes the following:
- online psychometric assessments
- a career advising framework
- training and capacity building for career advisors
The train-to-place programs provide the full-cycle of youth training and job placement, usually in specific industries or sectors. As well as other programs Narwi, Najjahni, and Tamm. Entrepreneurship and Microfinance. Both tools include financial and non-financial services.
Financial support includes grant, lending/financing, and investment. Non- financial includes capacity building and technical assistance.
3) How is Silatech helping to empower young entrepreneurs around the world?
First and foremost, Silatech’s mission is to connect young people to economic opportunities and jobs. We provide innovative enterprise development and employment initiatives. Our vision is a world in which young people are able to work, and are engaged in the economic development of their societies.
We support the startup and growth of sustainable, job-creating youth enterprises. We help young entrepreneurs establish and sustain successful enterprises. The way we accomplish this is by providing them with access to finance, business development training, and mentorship. In order to reach the largest number of youth, we encourage financial institutions to lend youth to start their businesses. To do so, we must combine technical support and various types of innovative financing instruments.
We also help financial institutions design loan products and market their products and services. We also provide credit officers with focused training programs. Then we implement best practices to benefit both youth and the institutions.
This is expected to result in the creation of thousands of jobs, enriching the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Arab societies. By reducing the youth unemployment rate in the world. Moreover, we can achieve our objectives through two main tools: Entrepreneurship and Microfinance.
However, both tools include financial and non-financial services. Financial support includes grant, lending/financing, and investment. Non- financial includes capacity building and technical assistance.
4) I understand you will be speaking at the UN in New York later this month. Can you tell us about that?
I will be sitting in on a panel discussion at the UN titled: “Youth as Protagonists in Preventing Violent Extremism.”
Thus, the panel’s main objective is to share best practices and real experiences in developing effective measures to counter terrorism and strengthen our youth’s resiliency to resite extremism.
5) What advice would you give to those wanting to grow an entrepreneurial community in their city?
First of all, they need to start with themselves to gain confidence and to lead by example. Next, they have to surround themselves with people who are keen on bettering their community.
Networking is key.
Always involve business owners, policy makers and decision makers will help by taking the initiative to the next level.
Therefore give back as much as you can, create community programs that involve community leaders and members. Listen and know what the community really needs. Learn from the mistakes the people before you made. Make sure to never follow anyone’s footsteps. Don’t stop learning, you can never know too much. So become an expert in what you do.
Involve youth in community-based programs, mentor, guide and support them.