Reflections on Youth Entrepreneurship

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I’m Amer Yaghi (@AmerYaghi),  16-years old CEO and Co-Founder of AidMaid (www.aidmaid.net/gallery.html).  I volunteered at Ruwwad (@RuwwadJo) in support of their community development initiatives at an under-privileged subdivision in Amman, Jabal Al-Natheef.   I held a workshop for young adults on entrepreneurship and its positive impact.  The workshop was held at Ruwwad’s (http://ruwwad.net/) buildings for 2-hours a day for 5 days from 16 July 2016 till 20 July 2016.   Twenty teenage students attended the first session, but later an average of 12 students attended; 85% females.  The students were selected by Ruwwad.  Truly, they all were amazing; smart, polite, serious, and creative thinkers.  This was my first community service initiative after I had created at school the Youth Entrepreneurship Club (www.chillaxican.org).

 

The workshop was approved by Mrs. Samar Dudin (@SamarDudin), arranged by Ms. Rima Yacoub (@rimamaktabi), and managed by Ms. Laila Qubti.  The students leader was Mr. Salah AbuArqob.

 

My objective was to influence and inspire teenagers to learn and engage in entrepreneurial activities to reap the benefits of entrepreneurship; such as, build leadership, strengthen self-confidence, time & tasks management, presentation skills, business finance, turn dreams into reality, teamwork, and good citizenship.

 

I strongly believe that youth entrepreneurship positively impacts the lives of young people, particularly hard to reach, disadvantaged and at-risk youth. Participants in youth entrepreneurship programs have shown improvements in their communication, decision-making and goal-setting abilities and participants have an increased interest in attending college while simultaneously decreasing their exposure to at-risk behaviors.

 

Both my father, Husam Yaghi (@hyaghi), and my younger brother, Mohamed Yaghi (@yaghi33), were of help at the workshop.  My father played the role of an advocate as he always built upon my ideas and encouraged interaction which helped keep the sessions lively.

 

When I first decided to give the workshop at Ruwwad, I thought that the students were mainly interested in acquiring a small of knowledge about entrepreneurship; which possibly they could use after graduating from university. However, I was proved wrong as the students were constantly eager to learn more, kept asking questions about entrepreneurship and remained very enthusiastic throughout the course. That was very impressive and encouraging.

 

One student came up with the idea of creating a company that would deliver groceries to residents of Jabal Al Natheef and later expand into other areas where residents don’t have cars.  He suggested crafting agreements with local grocery stores and few taxi drivers to accomplish the goal.  Strange enough, a week later I read in the news that a Turkish startup company wanted to do something similar in Turkey and they got $1 Million funding.

 

Another student came up with the idea of creating a private page on Facebook and later get a room at Ruwwad (possibly) for troubled or bothered kids to vent out anger and to find a trusted listening ear; rather than getting into trouble or drugs.

 

The goal of the workshop was to motivate and encourage more youths to venture into entrepreneurship to bring about a lasting positive impact on individual citizens and society at large.  This experience has encouraged

 

I am confident that my aim was achieved and hopefully a long-lasting impact was made on the students.   Teaching & preaching entrepreneurship is less about creating businesses and more about getting youths engaged in learning and motivated to learn more to become more positive and productive citizens.

 

I’m very thankful to Ruwwad.   I am a better me now.  I am more encouraged to engage in social entrepreneurship and giving back to the community.  In agreement with my Ruwwad students, I have created a Facebook page just for the Ruwwad team to continue the engagement and coaching.  It has been a success with over 3,000 likes thus far.

 

Personal gain:

 

Teaching at Ruwwad has improved my communication and presentation skills immensely and has proven to me that underprivileged communities need organisations that don’t provide money, rather they empower them with tools and knowledge that they can use to become good productive citizens.   Every single one of us has unique traits and experiences which could benefit others.  We must cooperate and collaborate to add value to where we live and the world at large.

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August 1st, 2016

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