The two-day workshop organised by the British Council and Qatari Students Network as part of the Silatech youth summit on employability and entrepreneurship came to a close yesterday evening.
The participants and organisers declaring the event a success in allowing the young people gathered to communicate and form a unified vision on many of the issues they face.
Day two of the workshop included speeches from a number of experts in the field of employment, as well as representatives of Silatech and the British Council and a session with one of the participants from the UK, Claire Edwards.
Participants were addressed by Silatech board member Nada al-Nashif and the company’s chief technology officer, Charles Nagy who both discussed issues related to employability in the region, and the work Silatech is doing to help young entrepreneurs overcome the challenges they face in establishing and maintaining their businesses.
Edwards gave a speech on how she has used music as a tool for communication and transformation of certain areas of her home city, Birmingham, through organising music festivals and events.
In an interesting twist to the session, she got the participants to join her in some musical and rhythmic exercises, and after ensuring she had their attention Edwards went on to discuss her business and share her experiences with the other participants.
Edwards said she had been “incredibly inspired” to meet so many young entrepreneurs, especially with so many of them being women.
She said there was definitely the potential for collaboration with some of the companies represented at the event, and said she was “hopeful” about the possible outcomes from the networking at the workshop.
The British Council’s regional head of skills for employability, Melanie Relton led a discussion session on the skills necessary for both employers and potential employees, and gave an outline of the work her programme has been conducting throughout the region to encourage and support young entrepreneurs.
Chair in economic development at the University of Glamorgan, professor Stephen Hill, a constant presence and master of ceremonies at the conference, spoke for a number of sessions over the two days, and helped to address some of the “burning issues” raised by the participants in terms of their business development.
“The issues they identified as being the most important were: How do I access capital? How can I lead my organisation? How can I improve inter-personal skills? How do I develop my business in a recession? How do I find and develop the best people for my business?”
“This event gave them the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience in these areas, and remind them that although starting a business is a very lonely task, there are others experiencing the same challenges,” he explained.
He claimed that the success of the event is something that will be discovered in the future, and said: “If in 10 years, half of these participants are running successful businesses, employing people and changing their societies, then maybe just a bit of that is down to this event.”
“I think the participants have been stunning, and I have no doubt that they can change the Arab World, and hopefully the wider world in the future,” he added.
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