Teens Club, the first entity in Egypt to focus on teenagers, is now a finalist for the Anzisha Prize, presented by the African Leadership Academy in South Africa and sponsored by the MasterCard Foundation. The prize celebrates the most effective and inspiring young entrepreneurs across the whole continent. Competing with 11 other African startups, Teens Club is the only Egyptian one this year, after three years of zero representation of Egypt.
"No Egyptian or Arab has won it before unfortunately. I hope to be the first," said Teens Club founder Aly Abd El Azem.
The club, run by teenagers for teenagers, provides early guidance, mentorship and opportunities for personal and career development through workshops and various events in several fields. The club runs monthly fixed workshops in four tracks: arts, technology, business, debates and public speaking.
Founding the club in 2013 when he was only 16, Abd El Azem hopes to contribute to the development of Egypt, Africa, and the world. Now, Teens Club has its headquarters at one of the biggest entrepreneurship centers in Middle East, the GrEEK Campus. The club is a registered entity in Egypt, seeking to expand to Africa and Middle East.
"Teens Club now is a haven for teens' ideas and projects," the now 20 year-old said.
The club also incorporates international and regional development programs, through several partnerships among which are the British Council, UN Women, the African Leadership Academy, Aspire Women, Young Arab Voices, and the Anna Lindh Foundation.
Abd El Azem takes pride in being self-funded. "We get no fixed fund from any entity. Our business model resembles the sustainability of the enterprise, we handle our fund through low-price events and workshops, and also we open our doors for any kind of sponsorship and partnerships," he stated.
The club members are 37 young volunteers whose age range is between 15 to 22 years. They take part in workshop management, events, communications, marketing, IT and media. The crew members are well-trained, and provided with opportunities like internships, travel chances, or global competitions.
"We have a lot of role models, but there's a man who push us miles towards success," Abd El Azem said, naming Emad Karim, the regional coordinator of UN Women in Arab States. "This guy is really such a great man who helped our growth for three years since Teens Club was just an idea on a sheet of paper, to a HQ in the GrEEK Campus and a multi-papers portfolio," he asserts.
Teens Club has future plans to expand its activities across Egypt, especially in the marginalized areas like Sinai, Upper Egypt, and Canal provinces.
The Anzisha Prize includes a share of $100,000, and all finalists will fly Johannesburg for an intensive two-week training in entrepreneurship. They also gain access to Anzisha Prize Youth Entrepreneur Support Unit services, which offers business support, networking opportunities and access to expertise.
"If we got the grand prize, we will open some branches in Egypt and plan to operate in one [other] country in Africa, maybe Tunisia," the founder stated.
The prize will be announced on 25th October at a gala event.
Image courtesy of Teens Club