Some people dream of changing somebody else’s life. For Dina El Mofty, Excecutive Director or Injaz Egypt, the objective falls half a million people short. Through entrepreneurship programs in schools and universities, as well as partnerships with the private sector, her organization has impacted more than 500,000 young students across Egypt in only 11 years. After her inspiring panel at the Rise Up Summit, she tells Barakabits how she made her dream come true.
What would you say is your greatest achievement?
Something that is very close to my heart is that one of the startups we are supporting was featured as one of the top 10 startups in the Middle East by Forbes magazine. These young students had barely graduated from university in Tanta, and created this waste recycling company called Recyclobekia that today is a success.
What also really makes us proud is that one of our alumni, Hamid Sharara, is the brainchild of the Rise Up Summit. One of our biggest purposes at Injaz is to spread the culture of entrepreneurship among young people, so to have our alumni organizing one of the biggest events in the region is something we are incredibly proud of.
You’ve made an impact in the lives of half a million people; what was the biggest obstacle you came across?
We dealt with a lot of bureaucracy in setting up the organization. The government had a very outdated perspective on things, and we were in our early twenties, and when you are starting, no one wants to deal with a young person. These were incredible challenges.
Your work involves teenagers and very young people; what is the potential you see?
We work with a broad range of ages to help them start a business, and what we notice is that this generation is unstoppable. They have great ideas, amazing drive and passion, and all they need is someone to support them or invest them and help. It is not always a matter of financial support, but in terms of mentoring, too. That is when you see that the sky is really their limit.
Do you feel there is special training needed for girls or women?
Our advice is to dream give and never give up, never let anyone hold you back. If you have a dream, stick to it, focus and pursue it no matter what it takes. As women, you have so many factors holding you back, and it is easy to fall into that comfort zone. But if you are a fighter and you are determined with that dream in your mind, don’t give up. Don’t let anyone get in your way.