Courtesy of Zawya, Thomson Reuters
INJAZ Al-Arab, the region’s leading youth empowerment NGO, has signed an MoU with Shekra, a crowd funding solution in Egypt supporting startups education, legalities, funding, mentoring, and monitoring processes, to provide additional funding for MENA start-up companies through crowdfunding.
“Crowdfunding, a way of funding a project by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet, which showcases products and innovative ideas,” said a media statement. “The wave of crowdfunding encourages the public to be a part of the start of an innovative venture, through the support of the public and through their donations, they are able to contribute to the success of start-up businesses and the growing success of the young entrepreneurs of the future.
“INJAZ Al-Arab’s collaboration with Shekra will enrich the Arab youth by helping them gain recognition through their peers and the crowd investor network. The agreement took place during the Mediterrean Economic Forum, which took place from September 17-18, where Shehab Marzban, co-founder of Shekra and Nickolas Neibauer, Regional Business Development Manager for INJAZ Al-Arab signed the MoU in the presence of Arab Ministers and Directors from the Union for the Mediterranean.”
“Our decision to sign this MoU with Shekra is a result of the recent revoluntionisation of crowdfunding. Many start-ups have received great success through crowdfunding and the public support to contribute their own money to allow for the success of others. Entrepreneurs are thriving with creative ideas and plans, but are left stranded as they do not have the financial support to back them up, ” stated Nick Neibauer Regional Business Development Manager of INJAZ Al-Arab. “The public have the power to turn their ideas and innovations into reality, with a click of a button. ”
Both Marzban and Neibauer had the honor of addressing the conference which included more than 300 participants from 25 Union for the Mediterranean countries. Both participants had the opportunity to share their success stories, their goals and attributions to help Arab youth succeed in this critical time for the region.
“Shekra is very pleased to work with INJAZ Al-Arab and collaborate to drive the Arab youth to their full potential, ” stated Shehab Marzban, co-founder of Shekra. “Our organization looks to bridge the gap between entrepreneurs and a wide spectrum of global investors. Through our work with INJAZ Al-Arab, we will ensure access to capital for INJAZ Start Up teams that require additional funding to expand as entrepreneurs. ”
INJAZ Al-Arab and Shekra Crowd Fund signed the MoU as an outcome of their collaborative work together with Union for the Mediterranean to launch a new initiative, that would scale up activities to support Arab youth in entrepreneurship in Southern Mediterranean countries as part of Med4Jobs, a Union for the Mediterranean project that was announced at the conference.
About INJAZ Al-Arab
INJAZ Al-Arab harnesses the mentorship of Arab business leaders to help inspire a culture of entrepreneurship and business innovation among Arab youth.
Operating in 15 countries across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, INJAZ Al-Arab is a confederation of national operations collaborating with corporate volunteers and Ministries of Education to provide experiential education and training to Arab youth in work readiness, financial literacy and entrepreneurship.
One of the only organizations in the MENA region that aims to equip students with practical business-related skills as part of the regular educational curriculum, INJAZ Al-Arab programs offer students an unbroken chain of educational opportunities that will strengthen their innovation, deepen their understanding of the business world, and give them professional qualifications to enable their success in the global economy.
In parallel, it fosters among business leaders a responsibility for investing their resources in the future of the region’s youth and by mentoring and inspiring young people to rise to their true potential. Since its inception in 2004, INJAZ Al-Arab programs have reached 1,000,000 students and engaged 21,000 volunteers.
A National Board of Directors leads each INJAZ country operation, with the INJAZ Al-Arab Regional Board responsible for directing overall strategy and organizational governance. These bodies comprise the region’s top business leaders who share a common ideal for the Arab youth.
INJAZ Al-Arab is a member of Junior Achievement Worldwide (JA Worldwide).
About JA Worldwide™
JA Worldwide is the world’s largest organization committed to inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy. Now in its 91st year, JA Worldwide provides hands-on, experiential learning in financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and work readiness to 9.8 million students annually. With offices in 123 countries – and an extensive network of partners from the private and public sectors – JA Worldwide mobilizes a global force of business volunteers to teach in-school and after-school programs that give students the tools they need today, to succeed tomorrow. These programs show young people how to generate wealth and effectively manage it, how to create jobs, which make their communities more robust, and how to apply entrepreneurial thinking to the workplace. Students put these lessons into action, and help strengthen their communities. For more information, please visit www.ja.org
Shekra Crowdfunding, is an initiative covering the whole entrepreneurial ecosystem and aiming to fill the funding gap that SMEs are facing (too big for Microfinance and too small for VCs). With special focus on raising the success rate of startups of the region, Shekra is also involved in legal structuring of startups and ensures Intellectual Property (IP) protection of ideas.
Shekra links startups and small enterprises with a network of investors on a profit and loss sharing basis. Despite being primarily equity based, Shekra also facilitates, through partner institutions, funding based on grants and non-interest-based loans.
For startups, Shekra has an outreach program through its events and partners. Shekra acts as a partner for startups; getting them ready for funding by offering business education, helping in business planning, and most importantly giving them access to funding through its network of investors.
For investors, Shekra offers a new investment asset class. Shekra’s closed investors’ network is very diverse, it includes institutions, small investors that want to put small amounts, and big investors who want to diversify their investment portfolios. Also, all investments are guaranteed to be Shariah-compliant and social responsible.
Shekra ensures, at all times, that the rights and interests of both parties are protected – even after the funding is completed. Thus, for all funded startups, Shekra stays on board offering mentorship and monitoring activities as needed.