Today’s Ideas, Tomorrow’s Business Prospects: Launching of Second Youth Innovation and Creativity Award

Nov 5, 2014

Youth while performing local dancing "Baraa"

Supported by UNDP and its partner ROWAD Foundation, over 600 youth gathered today to launch the second edition of the Youth Innovation and Creativity Award under the patronage of the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

The 2013 edition of the Innovation and Creativity Award, Afkar 1.0, was a successful initiative encouraging and promoting Yemeni youth from around the country to realize their entrepreneurship potential, developing solutions to local issues, and creating sustainable businesses that contribute to the creation of job opportunities. Sixteen applicants have been rewarded during Afkar 1.0 leading to the regional and international recognition of innovative and talented Yemeni entrepreneurs.

This year’s Award will feature a particular focus on solar energy projects. 100 selected participants will receive a tailored “How to Build a Business” training, with the final awards of seed capital along with mentoring and coaching services being granted to the top ten most innovative and promising business ideas. The Award will give the opportunity to youth from across Yemen to participate and turn their creative ideas into the business successes of tomorrow.

Amongst the present uncertainties, youth distilled a message of hope in the future. The launch was festive and dynamic introducing a step-by-step video on the Award, and featured acclaimed shows which included Happy Yemen, Korean martial arts dancers, breakdancers and a guitar performance by Amigos Band. In addition, 2013 Awardees inspired fellow youth with their business stories, sharing their experience and wishing good luck to the attendees in the Award.

I really like it and I found the launch combines entertainment and inspiration. It gave me many ideas now,” said Majed al-Shamiri, one of the youth attendants.

Afkar 2.0 also presented financing mechanisms available for youth, which generally remains one of the main obstacles preventing business creation in Yemen. Refa’at al-Ma’mari, Deputy Executive Manager of the Tadhamon Bank for Microfinance, spoke about the Islamic loans and a short presentation about Mashrou3i by Silatech and al-Amal Bank, a dedicated service for granting loans for youth inspiring and encouraging them to consider innovation and entrepreneurship to secure sustainable livelihoods.

The launch was moderated by the seasoned and charismatic radio anchor of the famous show “Milk Tea” Sarah al-Zawqari.

The launch was attended by H.E. Muammar al-Eryani, Minister of Youth and Sports, Dr. Ahmed al-Shibami, General Manager of the International Cooperation and International NGOs Sector, Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, H.E Katsuyoshi Hayashi, Ambeassador of Japan to Yemen, and Ms. Mikiko Tanaka, UNDP Country Director, in addition to embassies representatives, international and local NGOs active in promoting youth participation and empowerment and private sector partners.  

“Youth are the pillar of this country, politically, social, economically. Investing in them is investing in Yemen itself. We hope to receive through Afkar 2.0 thousands of provoking business ideas to shape tomorrow’s economic future,” Ms. Tanaka said.

Afkar 2.0 is being implemented by the Youth Economic Empowerment project (YEEP) and ROWAD Foundation with the generous assistance of the Governments of Japan, Korea, Netherlands, as well as Silatech, Spark, and the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund.


Contact information

Ms. Kawkab al-Thaibani, Youth Empowerment Project Communications/Advocacy National Specialist 
Mobile: (+967) 712221950

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