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.