Social entrepreneurs in the Arab World combine innovation and business skills to meet pressing social needs.
Synergos supports the region’s largest network of social entrepreneurs with skillbuilding, financial support, and networking.
The Arab World is a region of great change and great hope. Yet too many of its people face poverty, inequity, and other development problems. Unemployment is dangerously high, particularly among youth. Women’s economic participation in the region is among the lowest in the world. Half of all women and a third of all men are illiterate, and scientific achievement is low. Health problems, social exclusion, and environmental degradation affect many communities.
One promising approach to these challenges is social entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurs identify, test, and scale up innovative solutions to difficult problems. They combine innovation and business skills to create solutions to pressing challenges on issues such as employment, health, the environment, and arts and culture. But social entrepreneurs face many challenges themselves. For example, many work in isolation, funding and legal recognition can be difficult, and some lack management and leadership capacity to scale up their innovations. These challenges combined with the stresses of work can undermine their ability to develop as leaders, leading to burnout and missed opportunities.
What We Do
Synergos has worked in the region since 2008, creating enabling environments that allow social entrepreneurship to thrive, directly supporting outstanding entrepreneurs across the region and identifying promising start-ups. Our work has helped entrepreneurs collaborate with others inside and outside their communities. We also guided them think more systemically – all with the goal of scaling up their reach and impact.
We are not only helping raise the number of people and communities these social entrepreneurs serve directly, but also helping them test solutions that can be replicated by others or inform public policy.
This program currently operates in Egypt and Palestine with planned expansion to other countries.
Supporting social entrepreneurship in the Arab World
A look at how Synergos is working to support social entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa.
Ayman Sabae & Shamseya: Strengthening community participation in healthcare in Egypt
A profile of Synergos social entrepreneur, Ayman Sabae, who uses technology to engage the public in management of their healthcare.
Social Entrepreneurship in Central Asia 2014 Report
In November of 2014, Synergos helped organize the Social Entrepreneurship Education Institute in Central Asia through our role in the Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship.