IJNet Arabic launches fifth Mentoring Center for media startups in the MENA region

by IJNet
Oct 30, 2018 in Media Sustainability

Digital entrepreneurs with exciting media startups in the MENA region are invited to apply for IJNet Arabic's fifth annual Mentoring Center for MENA media entrepreneurs.

Earlier this year, IJNet partnered with Google News Initiative to launch a program that will strengthen the digital skills of 4,000 journalists across the MENA region. The Mentoring Center, IJNet's second program in the region targeting digital entrepreneurs who have exciting startups, will complement IJNet's support for emerging digital media organizations and show journalists new tools and strategies to help them refine their skills.

During the Mentoring Center, IJNet mentors work closely with their mentees to establish business and media plans, implementing strategies and guiding them by evaluating and studying each project's needs and market to put those entrepreneurs on the right track. Mentees will be trained in written and visual content as well as digital marketing, social media and other key aspects of media entrepreneurship. Participants will also study the media industry in their own countries and learn strategies to keep their startups competitive. 

The program will start with 16 semi-finalists in the first stage. The semi-finalists will complete an online training program for about one month to hone their projects. From that group, eight mentees will be selected to work with a mentor for 12 months. The program includes two paid trips for meetings, partnerships and intensive training, including an ICFJ bootcamp and admission to the 11th annual Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism conference in Jordan.

The program will equip the eight mentees with the business, technical, managerial, digital and mobile media skills and strategies needed to help their existing startups to thrive.

How the Mentoring Center works:

Applications are due June 19, 2018. IJNet and the mentors will choose 16 mentees as semi-finalists to participate in an online training for about one month that will help them further hone their proposed action plans. Once the online training is complete, the mentors will select the eight media startups with the best potential for further participation in the Mentoring Center. The finalists will be invited to a training boot camp where they will have the chance to meet with their mentors and other trainers and guest speakers in Amman, Jordan.

In addition to the bootcamp, the eight mentees will have sustained online mentoring, networking meetings and guidance over the course of 12 months to address key areas of development and ensure the growth and sustainability of their startups. Mentors will visit the mentees at their offices in their home countries, or vice versa if needed.

Applicants must already be working on their existing media startup (including digital or mobile) that targets Arabic-speaking audiences in Middle East and North Africa. Women are strongly encouraged to apply. Priority will be given to applicants from Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

Mentees will invest about five hours per week in the mentoring project.

Other commitments will include:

  • Participating in at least three online meetings with all of the program’s mentors and mentees to discuss common challenges and possible solutions
  • Participating in the training bootcamp and ARIJ conference
  • Meeting the mentor in person in the mentee’s home country (or elsewhere if needed)
  • Producing at least four blog posts for IJNet Arabic about the mentoring experience – lessons learned, new skills and tools applied, challenges

Applications must include:

  • An overview of tangible goals the Mentoring Center will help to achieve
  • An explanation of the expertise, tools and skills needed to realize the stated goals
  • Links to the startup’s website and social media accounts
  • An outline of the plan they are following to sustain and grow their media startup in bullet-point form

At the end of the program, IJNet will award seed funding to the most promising mentee projects.

The deadline to apply is June 19, 2018.

To apply (in Arabic), click here.