touch and Riyada announce winners of Youth Innovation Summer Program
Beirut, August 10, 2017: touch, the leading mobile telecommunications and data operator in Lebanon, managed by Zain Group, and Riyada for Social Innovation have announced the winners of the Youth Innovation Summer Program during an award ceremony held at the Grand Serail in the presence of Minister of Telecommunications, Jamal Jarrah. The ceremony was also attended by Mrs. Yasmina ElKhoury Raphael, a representative of Prime Minister His Excellency Saad El Hariri, families of the program participants, and members of the media.
The ceremony included the official announcement of the winners and the distribution of awards and certificates. Team Zee claimed first place for its proposal of an educational gaming app that raises awareness about waste management. The app looks to engage with children, raising questions regarding sorting, re-using and re-cycling. In second place, team Electro Save proposed an app that allows families to keep track of their electricity consumption by connecting and monitoring all their electronic devices.
Commenting on this impressive initiative, Mrs. Yasmina ElKhoury Raphael said, “The future of our country lies in the hands of these young innovators and others like them, who require our total support. It is our duty to provide them with all the necessary tools and adequate education to develop entrepreneurial skills. The younger generations are our gateway to creating solutions that can efficiently address the problems that our society faces, and this outlook also goes hand-in-hand with fostering startups that create job opportunities and drive the knowledge society.”
In his speech, Minister of Telecommunications Jamal Al Jarrah said, “Since joining the Ministry, I have had the pleasure of being in daily contact with young innovators like yourselves. I have experienced first-hand the active role you play in the Lebanese society and your ability to create positive change in the community. We will continue to encourage and support platforms like the Youth Innovation Summer Program that nurture your abilities.”
Emre Gurkan, Chief Executive Officer of touch commented, “We believe that change can only spring from innovations, and young people are a great resource to achieving this. I was encouraged to see these young people dedicating their time off during the summer break to build apps for social causes. At touch we feel privileged to support the Youth Innovation Program as it falls squarely in line with our corporate sustainability and social responsibility (CSSR) program, Positive touch, which is geared towards us being a strong advocate for the utilization of technology to help drive innovative ideas to achieve the ultimate goal of communal development.”
Riyada’s founder Mona Itani also expressed her enthusiasm over the success of the program.
“I would like to thank His Excellency Prime Minister Saad El Hariri for launching the Summer of Innovation initiative which our program is part of. Entrepreneurship plays an essential role nowadays. We have placed a great deal of faith in the youth, who continue to demonstrate that they are worth investing in our program, which trains youngsters to become original thinkers, play outside the margins of their comfort zones, and ultimately allow our societies to flourish, all aided by technology.”
The Youth Innovation Summer Program was held at touch lab for two weeks between July 17-28, organized for the very first time by Riyada, a community developer that focuses on planting the seed of social entrepreneurship in young people through innovative educational initiatives. The program exposed a group of seven teams, and a total of 30 participants aged between 15 to 21, to social entrepreneurship with a challenge to develop a mobile application that addresses the waste problem in Lebanon. The challenge was chosen based on its relevance to the United Nation’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, which Zain Group is an active supporter of.