IJNet Arabic launches seventh annual Mentoring Center for MENA startups

by IJNet
Jun 4, 2020 in Media Sustainability
2019-20 Mentoring Center participants

Continuing IJNet’s tradition of supporting journalists and media entrepreneurs, we are excited to announce that IJNet Arabic is now accepting applications for the seventh round of the Mentoring Center for media startups in the Middle East and North Africa. Through this program, media professionals in the region will receive expert mentoring on new business models, tools and strategies to help them develop their media outlets.

We invite digital and media organizations — whether online, mobile device-based, creating digital content, or developing creative digital solutions — to apply for the 2020-21 program.

[Read more: Meet the standout media entrepreneurs from the 2019-2020 IJNet Arabic Mentoring Center]


During the program, two mentors will work closely with participants to guide them in developing a media and business plan, launching campaigns and developing strategic services and content.

Mentors will advise participants on how to improve written and visual content, in addition to digital marketing, social media and other key aspects of digital entrepreneurship. With this guidance, participants will be able to reshape their media projects to better fit with their respective markets and its needs. Mentees’ understanding of their audience and identification of their competition will further assist these efforts.

Check out our IJNet articles on last year’s program participants: 

Program overview:

The program will select 16 semi-finalists in the first phase of applications. These semi-finalists will complete an assignment and develop a pitch for their media initiative. From there, eight finalists will be selected to work closely with a dedicated mentor for ten months. Each finalist will undergo a final interview with program mentors to determine their candidacy for the program.

The Mentoring Center includes two fully covered trips for meetings, partnerships and intensive training, including an ICFJ bootcamp and admission to the 13th annual Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism conference, which currently is scheduled to take place in Amman, Jordan.

[Read more: IJNet Arabic's 2019 Mentoring Center trains diverse selection of media entrepreneurs]


To further develop and strengthen the digital media startups, an in-person visit will be initiated in the early stages of the program to develop the road map and planning of each project.

Due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic this year, all typical program travel is subject to be adjusted to virtual mentorship and training. Participants will be expected to approach this year’s program with flexibility as pertains all travel.

Program conditions and participant commitments

  • Participants must be free for at least five hours per week to pursue their project with mentors.
  • Participants must commit to all program stages, including attending the training bootcamp, ARIJ conference and personal meetings with the mentors.
  • Participants must produce articles about the skills, lessons and new knowledge they obtained during the program, which will be published on IJNet Arabic.

How to apply:

The application must include:

  • An overview of the goals that the Mentoring Center will help to achieve
  • An explanation of the expertise, tools and skills necessary to achieve these goals
  • Links to the media startup’s website and/or social media accounts
  • An overview of general plans to sustain and grow the media startup

The program is open to digital entrepreneurs from all Arab countries, and projects targeting the MENA region. IJNet encourages women in particular to apply.

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

Final date to apply: Extended to July 7, 2020.

To apply (in Arabic), click here or fill out the form below.



Main image of participants from the 2019-20 Mentoring Center program.