The Platform's Youth Initiative (YI)

The Platform's Youth Initiative (YI)

Dubai, United Arab EmiratesDubai, United Arab Emirates
Year Founded:
2013
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

We provide female high school students with skills and knowledge needed to tackle high rates of unemployment in the region through entrepreneurship. By leveraging their vigorous creativity our programs aim to empower and encourage budding entrepreneurs while being culturally sensitive and relevant.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if the solutions to female unemployment in the Middle East came from themselves?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Unemployment rates among the youth in the Middle East cannot be solved by government efforts and corporations alone. The disparity is highly visible between male and female youth. In the UAE, 22% of young women do not enter the workforce. This is partly due to cultural reasons, but also because they do not posses the skills, resources (non-financial), and infrastructure to implement their own idea from a young age; a root cause of the problem.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The Platform's YI is a series of programs that target this segment in a groundbreaking way. The intent is to provide students at the high-school level a platform on which they can develop their idea towards implementation in the future. They do not currently have access to such resources before the college level. Most importantly, it presents social entrepreneurship as a viable career option to students. The program consists of talks and workshops tailored to the female student to develop basic entrepreneurial skills, business model generation, and future partnership building in order to realize their idea. Starting with four schools in Dubai, an estimated 100 girls will be reached by March 2014, with 10% implementing by 2014 end.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Sara and Alaa are 17 years old entering their final year of high school. Sara is from Pakistan and Alaa is Emirati. They are both uncertain of their future careers, but have a deep interest in social issues. Preoccupied with college applications and deadlines, their game-changing ideas have yet to come to fruition. Due to cultural and economic barriers, neither has ever thought of implementing their own business. Through the Platform's YI, they now possess the know-how to even begin the process of realizing their dream. They understand the basic skills and resources required to transform their idea into a viable business. They are empowered to pursue their idea further, and ultimately can create shared-value for their peers.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

The criteria used to measure impact is: number of students who attend workshops post seminars; students that enter the incubation phase; students who directly pursue business ideas post-graduation; students who pursue degrees related to entrepreneurship; and subsequently the number of jobs created due to these entrepreneurs. Through the pilot with four schools, over 2000 students will be reached, half of whom are female. Conservative estimates show that 10% of girls will attend and complete the higher-level workshops. 10% of them (10 girls) will directly pursue their entrepreneurial goal after high-school by 2014 end. The impact is maximized by bringing innovative concepts into the marketplace from a young age while improving the female-to-male employment disparity rate in the long run in the UAE. The economical impact is magnified by job creation and shared-value via their ventures.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

The Platform's YI is part of a two-fold business model that allows The Platform to fund the Youth Initiative via its social impact consulting business. As a social business we maximize our impact as we don't depend on fundraising for operational costs regarding the Youth Initiative. However in order to reach dozens of high schools in the UAE, an upfront cost of $30,000 will be required to grow our team, increase space, and develop materials.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There is no other initiative targeting high school female students in order to develop the skills needed to move from idea into implementation. The Platform's YI believes this can be done before needing higher-education. Our partnerships with Social Enterprise Week Dubai 2014, Hult Prize, C3 and Dubai high schools show our competitive edge in exemplifying the world and network we are helping students enter. The Global Youth Empowerment Movement based in Dubai provides youth with a chance to realize their own potential, and can be a key partner as The Platform's YI transforms that into action.
Team

Founding Story

The Platform's team both hold Masters in Social Entrepreneurship, having launched projects internationally for the lowest-income earners. Joshua and Tena moved to Dubai a year ago with vast experience in both the private and public sector, and after seeing the potential of social entrepreneurship in the region with their generation lead them to believe that they can help mold future social entrepreneurs by planting the idea and skills into students, specifically female, at a younger age. While launching the social impact consultancy, the team realized that in the near future social enterprises would require prepared leaders to enter that workforce. The team envisioned passing the torch of entrepreneurship on to the youth who want it.
About You
Organization:
The Platform Consultancy
About You
First Name

Joshua

Last Name

Rajkumar

About Your Organization
Organization Name

The Platform Consultancy

Organization Country

, DU, Dubai

Country where this project is creating social impact

, DU, Dubai

The information you provide here will be used to fill in any parts of your profile that have been left blank, such as interests, organization information, and website. No contact information will be made public. Please uncheck here if you do not want this to happen..

Project
Year founded

2013

Impact
Impact: What is the impact of the work to date?

The criteria used to measure impact is: number of students who attend workshops post seminars; students that enter the incubation phase; students who directly pursue business ideas post-graduation; students who pursue degrees related to entrepreneurship; and subsequently the number of jobs created due to these entrepreneurs. Through the pilot with four schools, over 2000 students will be reached, half of whom are female. Conservative estimates show that 10% of girls will attend and complete the higher-level workshops. 10% of them (10 girls) will directly pursue their entrepreneurial goal after high-school by 2014 end. The impact is maximized by bringing innovative concepts into the marketplace from a young age while improving the female-to-male employment disparity rate in the long run in the UAE. The economical impact is magnified by job creation and shared-value via their ventures.

Barriers: What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

The biggest barrier is the cultural obstacles of females in the region entering the workforce. While the YI targets both expat and Emirati women, it is safe to assume that both categories face cultural barriers to entrepreneurship. The Platform's plan is to develop local partners to ensure cultural sensitivity is observed while increasing visibility in promoting entrepreneurial solutions for female youth unemployment in the region; the UAE government's own vision. Women who enter the workforce prefer flexibility, and entrepreneurship provides that, breaking down yet another barrier.

Full Impact Potential: What are the main spread strategies moving forward? (Please consider geographic spread, policy reform, and independent replication/adoption of the idea or other mechanisms.)

The YI's goal is to ultimately provide all program material as open-source, in order to increase outreach and impact on youth development around the region. This will not begin in the first two years as the strategy is to build a giant network of pioneering students and integrate them with The Platform's own professional network. Given the number of expat students, the geographical spread covers more than just the MENA region as they might go back to their native countries to implement their idea, spreading impact further. The YI hopes to establish a central base with UAE schools over the next three years. The UAE government has established steps to promote female entrepreneurship and The YI develops the talent pool for just that.

Sustainability
Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

The Platform's YI is part of a two-fold business model that allows The Platform to fund the Youth Initiative via its social impact consulting business. As a social business we maximize our impact as we don't depend on fundraising for operational costs regarding the Youth Initiative. However in order to reach dozens of high schools in the UAE, an upfront cost of $30,000 will be required to grow our team, increase space, and develop materials.

Founding Story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

The Platform's team both hold Masters in Social Entrepreneurship, and launched projects internationally for the lowest-income earners. Joshua and Tena moved to Dubai a year ago with vast experience in both the private and public sector, and after seeing the potential of social entrepreneurship in the region with their generation, they believed that they can help mold future social entrepreneurs by planting the idea and skills into students, specifically female, at a younger age. While launching the social impact consultancy, the team realized that in the near future social enterprises would require prepared leaders to enter that workforce. The team envisioned passing the torch of entrepreneurship on to the youth who want it: The YI.

Partnerships: Tell us about your partnerships.

The Platform has established partnerships with Consult and Coach for a Cause, Hult Prize, Social Enterprise Week and is in the process of formalizing the relationship with Dubai International Academy as our main high school partner. The YI also hopes to secure knowledge partners in academia (Hult, NYU)who can provide speakers and volunteers to reinforce the entrepreneurial agenda. The Platform's partnerships ensure the YI's message is fortified.

Women Powering Work
Is your project targeted at solving any of the following challenges?

Training and education such as skills workshops, entrepreneurship courses, apprenticeship opportunities

Does your project utilize any of the strategies below?

Group learning experiences such as hands-on learning projects, cooperatives, collectives, support groups, and more