"When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it."Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motor Company.
As the year advances, so has our Innovation and Entrepeneurship program! We're proud to announce that we've now trained 2,082 youth and incubated 178 youth-led small enterprises and social initiatives.
Today, we share two yout-led enterprises who continue to defy the odds in order to improve the world we live in!
Code Car: Driving Kids Forward!
“Here in the Shouf, there aren’t many job opportunities,” said Pascale, 21. “But what we learned is that we have the power to make something of ourselves, even though we’re young. We, as youth, can fix this.”
Earlier this year at a workshop led by the Rural Entrepreneurs group, Pascale and other youth were trained on the prospect of being business owners.
It was through that workshop that Pascale met Daniel, 22. Daniel is now her business partner on CodeCar. He is also a communications engineering student and had already started thinking about a product to teach children to code.
Together the two are building Codecar, an application that teaches children several coding languages through a remote control car, run by lines of code.
Through a grant from Nawaya, Daniel and Pascale were able to purchase car parts and after they finish building it, it will be available in select toy stores for initial testing. But perhaps more valuable than the funds, the young engineers are learning key business skills via Nawaya’s mentorship.
Through weekly meetings, the young business partners learned about budgeting, packaging, setting priorities, and learning about their competition.
“When you start a project you don’t know where you’re going, so you start exploring. This exploration is what’s so nice. You always hit the wall, but you continue,” said Daniel.
IKP: Solving Lebanon’s Most Prevalent Nuisance!
Hanan is a 19-year-old English literature sophomore at the Lebanese University, an artist, and founder of Insect Killer Plan, or IKP, aimed at solving one of Lebanon’s most prevalent problems: insects.
For Hanan, common solutions just weren’t good enough. Many of the products found in supermarkets contain ingredients like DEET, which some medical sources have noted to have negative health implications over time.
Instead, her product is a customizable wooden frame that attaches to any home or office window. The frame is bordered with a capacitor. The electricity between the two plates is enough to kill an insect hoping to get through, but does not harm to human.
With the grant she received from Nawaya, Hanan was able to buy a laptop, wood for her frames, tools to cut wood, capacitors, a printer, small solar panels and electric wiring to power her product.
Hanan’s biggest accomplishment, however, isn’t finding a non toxic way to solve a daily, and potentially harmful, problem in her community and country. It’s her own personal development, according to her family.
“Nawaya gave my child the support that as parents, we couldn’t have give her. It opened up their minds and gave them confidence that I hadn’t seen before,” said Hanan’s mother.
The Nawaya Innovation and Entrepeneurship program was made possible through UNICEF Lebanon and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
"Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth... these are one and the same fight. Solutions to one problem must be solutions for all." Ban Ki-Moon, Former Secretary General for the United Nations
Throughout the past few months, we've shared with you our Innovation and Entrepeneurship program evolution. Today, we would like to shed light on some of the youth teams who have already started generating revenue out of their small enterprises, incubated through The Nawaya Network's program.
As always, we would like to thank UNICEF Lebanon and the Kingdom of the Netherlands for making this project possible.
Organic Soap Shop:
Many natural soap factories in Lebanon generate a lot of soap scraps which are disposed of by burying them untreated. This causes the release of several toxic matters into the ground, of which, grease, oils and other compounds which cause heavy pollution. To solve this problem, Mohamad, a young Syrian refugee youth had the idea of collecting these scraps, turning them into beautifully hand-crafted, all-natural soap bars and other decorative items.
Having gone through the incubation phase of our program and with support from our business coaches, Mohamad and his team have now started their small enterprise, "Organic Soap Shop" by taking customer orders for baby shower, corporate and other gift ideas. They have also launched their Facebook business page, through which they showcase their products. Mohamad and his team are still receiving specialized training in social media marketing with a specialized mentor which The Nawaya Network has helped connect them with.
Hussein Turaani Photography:
Hussein lives in the Burj Al Barajneh refugee camp in Beirut, a camp which suffers from a wide set of problems including dire living conditions, a highly politicized environment, arrested youth development, proliferation of drugs and weapons, limited job opportunities and many more.
When we first interviewed Hussein during the training last year, he was reluctant to trust in non-profits. He spoke to us about his personal experiences working with other non-profits, the dedication and effort he had put into creating a film, which then was shown at several festivals with no mention or compensation for Hussein or his team.
After working intensively with our business coach through the incubation phase, and with seed-funding, Nawaya was able to purchase crucial photography equipment and materials for Hussein, which enabled him to finally market his skills and his services to potential clients.
As a result, Hussein has gone from being unemployed and hopeless to having a full-time job as a photographer at an NGO which earns him 650$ monthly, as well as having two other independent clients which earn him 200$ per month each, an amount which many other refugees could only dream of having in the community he lives in, and which has allowed him to live much more securely and comfortably.
Full of hope, Hussein says that our program restored his faith, motivation, and enthusiasm. With a renewed sense of purpose, he works harder than ever now. You can view his work and contact him through his Facebook page.
Our "Baytouti" team have started selling their cakes and snacks to children at the Tahaddi School in their community! Rawan and her sister, who both live in the area, want to promote clean and healthy snacking among children by adapting sugar laden snack recipes to healthier, cleaner and more nutritious ones.
Following their training with us, this sister team moved on to receive a Food Hygiene certification from GWR Consulting, a leader in quality control and training in the region. They both still attend school and have successfully launched their small business earning an average of $20 per day in sales! This is significant as they live in one of the poorest communities in Beirut, so this income will be extremely valuable for their families, and has helped make them feel much more empowered!
Mfak Braghi's 24/7 on-demand maintenance service, is now fully operational! Reach out to them for any repair needs, day or night, and let us know what you think!
Following the pilot phase of the Nawaya Impact Lab training program in 2016 in various locations across Beirut last year, the Nawaya Network team regrouped at the beginning of 2017 to analyze our training impact and put together an even more comprehensive and impactful program in 2017.
While our program in 2016 saw 650 marginalized youth from different nationalities graduate and provided seed funding for more than 14 youth team projects, we realized that the majority of the youth participating in our training had difficulties transitioning from the training room to starting a small business or a social enterprise due to a number of key factors.
To address this issue while keeping the human element at the center of our training, as well as growing our reach, we’ve developed a unified Design Thinking and Business Development curriculum and have now added a crucial six week incubation period to the program.
Our youth now get access to professional, focused, business coaching to guide them through the piloting phase.
With the April round now completed in six locations across Beirut, Mount Lebanon & the South, we will be rolling out new sessions monthly. Our aim is to reach 2,400 marginalized Lebanese and refugee youth and fund 300 youth led projects by the beginning of 2018.
Here are a few images of some of our youth on graduation day earlier this month!
Last but not least, we would like to thank UNICEF Lebanon for their continued support as well as The Kingdom of the Netherlands for funding this year’s program.
Another milestone we would like to share with you, is the life changing impact our coding bootcamp SE Factory is yielding! Now in its third edition, previously unemployed SE Factory graduates have received 3 job offers each in less than two weeks post graduation!