Sixty-four merit scholars of the University Scholarship Program (USP) at Haigazian University, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), competed to win prizes at the 2014 Social Entrepreneurship Competition on April 2nd at the Hall of the Armenian Evangelical Church in Beirut. The competition was the closing event of the “Leadership through Entrepreneurship” project, launched in June 2012 at Haigazian University, the first university in the region to adopt a three-year program on social entrepreneurship, implemented by Beyond Reform and Development (BRD).
Students presented their social business ideas in front of a jury of investors and entrepreneurs, composed of Dr. Fadi Asrawi, Dean of Business and Economics at Haigazian University, Mr. Fadi Bizri, Managing Director at Bader Young Entrepreneurs Program, Mr. Raed Charrafeddine, First Vice-Governor at Banque du Liban, Ms. Ghada Khouri, Chief of Party at Promoting Active Citizen Engagement (PACE) program, Mr. Nicolas Sehnaoui, Former Telecommunication Minister, and Ms. Asmahan Zein, General Manager of Aramex Lebanon and Infofort Lebanon.
In attendance were prominent figures from the social entrepreneurship and business community, faculty members, and international organizations working with youth. Following the welcoming note by University President Dr. Paul Haidostian, a video was shown, highlighting the major steps of the project as well as the lessons learned by the students throughout the process.
The eight competing teams were from All for One, which provides career orientation and employment opportunities for youth; Excelling Young Entrepreneurs, which recycles car tires into crumbs and useful products; Healthy Lebanista, which employs unemployed women to cook healthy food products; Second Chance, which creates a new clothes line from recycled material designed by unemployed underprivileged women; Al Reef Tourism, which works on reviving Lebanon’s heritage and encouraging local businesses through attractive alternative tourism in rural areas; Slingshots, which creates a first of its kind exchange program for youth from across Lebanon to foster social cohesion; VIA, which promotes volunteerism through an online database linking youth with community and social issues across the country; and UniGoAll, which provides students relevant information about universities and different majors.
At the end of the ceremony, certificates were distributed to each of the 8 teams for their participation in the project and the winning team “Second Chance” was announced.