Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Middle East

We can talk about the theoretical importance of these two qualities in a successful leader, but how does one translate the theory into team inspiration? In this article posted by Rahilla Safar on Huff Post World, read how one woman is making a big difference using her skills of entrepreneurship and innovation in the Middle East to help her team understand the significance of personal responsibility .

Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Middle East

Entrepreneurship and innovation have become buzz words in much of the Middle East. What are some examples of work you’ve done where you felt that you truly had an impact in this realm?

Leena Al Olaimy: Entrepreneurship and innovation have certainly swept the region by storm, and it’s time social entrepreneurship and social innovation were in the spotlight! Last year we developed and ran a pilot of our Leadership Bridge Program (LBP), in partnership with Baraka Ventures.

Most of the Middle East’s youth population lacks access to social entrepreneurship education and a foundation in ethics and social responsibility — which goes hand in hand with creating leaders who can accelerate social change.

We created the LBP, a three-day intensive program that promotes youth empowerment, and inspires young leaders to play an active role in constructively shaping their communities and countries for the better. Essentially, it is about molding and empowering the region’s future responsible business, government, religious and community leaders. We’re currently trying to roll the LBP out across the region, and provide a platform for Arab youth to connect and collaborate on regional issues from a young age.

As much as I value the work we have done with the private and public sectors, the last day of the LBP was definitely one of the most moving moments for me since co-founding 3BL.

With over half of the MENA (Middle East North Africa) region being under 20, do you think there is enough emphasis on teaching youth leadership?

Leena Al Olaimy: I think the attention towards teaching leadership is growing, but you can’t ‘learn’ leadership theoretically without actually putting those leadership skills into practice. I don’t think there are enough opportunities that allow students to hone their leadership skills. I also don’t think there is enough of an emphasis on responsible leadership.

Moreover, often times, leadership programs will only focus on students who are in the highest percentile in terms of academic achievement — which is not necessarily an accurate indicator of an individual’s capacity to become a leader.

We have a lot to learn from people such as Leena Al Olaimy, whose entrepreneurship and innovation in the Middle East are paving the way for how to inspire our teams and thus succeed our ever-changing global market.


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