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News || Friday, 01 February 2013

Souktel Shares Mobile JobMatch Insights at HBS, Qatar Arab Youth and Entrepreneurship Conference

As Souktel prepares to celebrate the 7-year launch anniversary of its mobile job platform, team members are gearing up to share insights from over a half-decade of JobMatch service delivery.

In February, Project Manager Dalia Othman will represent Souktel at the Arab Youth and Entrepreneurship conference in Doha, Qatar. Organized by Silatech in cooperation with the World Bank and the Global Partnership for Youth Employment, the event will see leaders from Save the Children and the OECD–as well as the Governor of Cairo and Mayor of Amman–converge to discuss tangible ways of supporting young citizens in the Arab world through work opportunities.

Othman will speak on a panel called “Using Technology to Catalyze Youth Entrepreneurship” along with Silatech senior leadership and representatives from micro-loan pioneers Kiva. “This conference tackles a key question,” she says: “How do we create better support systems for Arab youth who want to work and become entrepreneurs? It’s a challenge that’s not only relevant to the Middle East, but to any region of the world”.

Othman adds: “Globally, youth unemployment is at an all-time high, but young people are being excluded from making decisions that affect their economic futures. We’re looking forward to sharing the work we’ve done with Silatech to change this reality–creating mobile services that link youth in Palestine and Egypt with information about entrepreneurship support, jobs, and training. We hope to inspire others to join us in helping empower youth through technology”.

Also in February, CEO Jacob Korenblum will speak on a panel at the Harvard Business School’s Social Enterprise Conference. Alongside peers from Asia and the Americas, he’ll share perspectives on how Souktel has become a unique example of social entrepreneurship in the Middle East–a region where concepts such as CSR and the “double bottom line” are still emerging.

“Since 2006, much of our success in communities has come from our team’s ability to create technology that bridges the non-profit and corporate sectors,” says Korenblum. “Most of the job-seekers who use our JobMatch service are closely tied to community organizations that provide them with things like training and apprenticeships. But they’re very far removed from the private-sector companies where they ultimately want to work”.

With JobMatch, says Korenblum, Souktel has “tried to create a mobile service which closes that gap–so that job-seekers can transition successfully from non-profit workforce development programs into private-sector jobs. We believe this interaction really embodies what social enterprise is all about–and we’re looking forward to sharing that experience with our peers”.

Moderated by Harvard Business School professor Herman Leonard, and following a keynote address by Jacqueline Novogratz, founder and CEO of the Acumen Fund, the panel is just one element of a conference that holds special meaning for Souktel.

“We got our start at this exact conference, seven years ago, by making a 30-second presentation about Souktel during the famous ‘Pitch for Change’ contest,” says Korenblum. “Later that year, we were a runner-up in the Harvard Business School’s social venture business plan competition. It’s a real honor to return to Harvard and be part of the conversation on the future of social enterprise.”