Yahoo! Middle East launches social entrepreneurship competition

Yahoo! Middle East launches social entrepreneurship competition

Yahoo! has announced today a new social entrepreneurship campaign and competition called “Social Innovation Starts with YOU”.

In partnership with Nahdet El Mahrousa, an Egypt-based NGO aim to encourage social entrepreneurship among young Egyptians. The campaign will take place on April 26 – 27, 2010 in Washington D.C., where Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang will deliver a keynote speech addressing how the Internet can positively transform lives, societies, and economies in emerging markets and Arab communities.

“Yahoo!’s announcement to acquire Maktoob last year shined the spotlight on tech entrepreneurs in the Arab world and the incredible potential and talent in the region that is largely untapped,” said Ahmed Nassef, managing director of Yahoo! Middle East. “This partnership with Nahdet El Mahrousa continues our commitment to invigorate and grow the Internet market in the Middle East as a whole and will enable the next wave of tech entrepreneurs from Egypt to realize their dreams. We can’t wait to see their innovative ideas!”

In an aim to inspire and motivate young online Egyptians, and starting from April, two successful Egyptian social entrepreneurs will be featured on the “Social Innovation Starts with YOU” campaign’s website.. currently unavailable but probably at http://socialinnovation.yahoo.com.

By June, up to ten entrepreneurs will be featured, and visitors to the website can vote for the entrepreneur who they think has made the biggest impact on their communities. The winner will be featured on the front page of Maktoob.com and be invited to be a judge for the campaign’s Social Innovation Competition.

In the Social Innovation competition, launching in June, Yahoo! and Nahdet El Mahrousa will invite individuals from across Egypt to be the next social entrepreneurs of the year by developing new ideas in the fields of education, health, environment, and a wildcard category. The campaign’s website will serve as an entry point for aspiring entrepreneurs by providing an online toolkit of inspirational stories, advice, resources, and Web services to get them started.

Ten winners will be honored with monetary grants and technical and management support to help bring their ideas to life. Among the winners will be already existing social entrepreneurs who will receive support to scale their efforts and achieve wider impact. In total, Yahoo! will contribute $500,000 to the campaign, and as part of that, will provide close to $250,000 in monetary grants to awardees. In addition to monetary support, the innovation awardees will also receive training and mentoring support for three years to help ensure success.

It’s encouraging to know that entrepreneurship support for the region is at an exponential rise. I hope the initiative will soon expand to cover the rest of the region. I also hope that more follow the tracks of Yahoo! and YallaStartup to support the young, talented, and sometimes desperate entrepreneurs in the Middle East.

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