By Hadeel Hegazy
Injaz Egypt aims at bridging the gap between the academic life and the professional one. Injaz is an educational non-profit organisation, which was set up in Egypt in 2003 as a pilot project under “Save the Children” foundation. As mentioned on their official website, Injaz Egypt is a member nation of “Junior Achievement Worldwide,” which is held in more than 100 countries; it is the world’s largest and fastest growing organisation specialising in economic education.
“Injaz annual competition is held between university students, age from 20-25,”said Madonna Gayed, Injaz communication officer. Injaz works on enhancing the entrepreneurial skills of the youth in order for them to confidently join the job market as skilled and qualified employees, and hence, create a generation of leaders.
The MetLife Award, which is concerned with entrepreneurship, was given for the whole idea of the pipeline and MetLife funds are used for the pipeline itself. The initiative is a long term one; it seeks enthusiastic students with no previous business experience and pairs them with new, innovative businesses to end up as successful entrepreneurs.
Accordingly, the pipeline continually supplies the students with the necessary guidance until they successfully translate their ideas into actions in the real business world. This initiative specifically undergoes three phases: the first phase, ideation, is when students apply for the project by writing-up their business ideas and teaming up with others, resulting in around 120 teams.
These teams are then broken down to 30 teams for phase two: acceleration. This is when students, with the guidance and assistance of mentors and trainers, produce the prototype of their projects, and winners are qualified to enter the third and last phase. Incubation, the third phase, is when the winning teams are guaranteed the physical incubation and seed funding from companies that adopted those teams.
An event is going to be held on 15 September to launch Start Up Egypt, where all projects will be displayed for investors who will eventually provide funding for students to make their projects a reality. Trainers and mentors play an essential role in the start-ups.”Most of the time we attempt to pair mentors with teams who are creating something within their area of expertise; for example, in marketing, we provide them with a mentor to help them within this specific area,” said Gayed.
“Adopt-a- School” is Injaz’s first partnership with an adopting company with the approval of the Ministry of Education. The initiative’s main objective is to solve the educational-working life gap, and help the youth become global, competitive entrepreneurs. The private sector plays a major role in the educational sector of creating a new culture in schools. The adopting companies, which may include Exxon Mobil, HSBC, and Alcatel, provide school teachers with the suitable training and equips them with effective teaching methods.
In addition, school facilities are assessed and upgraded to provide a better learning environment for students. Furthermore, the companies carry out awareness programmes for parents to create a healthy educational environment. Adopt-a- School is Injaz’s on-going initiative. Both parents and students have reacted positively towards the idea: “We always get an amazing response from students because they appreciate the changes that are done throughout the school, as it provides a more hygienic environment for the students,” Gayed said.
Injaz Foundation’s role does not end with delivering the trained youth to the community; the alumni students have the opportunity to support new generations in overcoming the gap between the current educational system and the private sector. The successful youth in Injaz programmes become role models for other youth to develop their skills and acquire the needed financial and entrepreneurial knowledge for success. Injaz Egypt’s mission is concerned with building a strong economic system on which a stable and prosperous future is based.