Four times a year, MIT Press publishes its disruptive Innovations journal--a must-read collection of case studies by leading innovators, research from key academics, and commentary from top global executives. A joint venture of MIT's Legatum Center, Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and George Mason University, the journal has emerged as a crucial resource for global private and public sector decision-makers--who often contribute pieces themselves: PastInnovations authors include former US presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.
This month saw the release of a special edition of the journal, in the run-up to 2013’s Global Development Week--which includes the opening of the UN General Assembly, the Clinton Global Initiative and the Mashable Social Good Summit. Called the "Youth and Economic Opportunities" volume, and launched at the Washington, DC conference of the same name, the special edition features thought leadership essays by Microsoft Senior Director of Public Affairs Akhtar Badshah and Rockefeller Foundation president Judith Rodin, among others. Souktel was honored to add its own perspectives to the journal, in an essay by CEO Jacob Korenblum titled “Frustration, Fearlessness and Fortune: How Youth-Led Startups are Redefining Entrepreneurship”.
In a brief case study, Korenblum draws on Souktel’s half-decade of experience launching mobile services in crisis zones like Somalia, Iraq, and Gaza. He focuses on the key success factors that have helped the venture grow from a Palestine-based startup into a regional tech-sector leader, and shows how entrepreneurs across the developing world can apply this knowledge to their own endeavors.
As his main take-away message, Korenblum suggests that “the traits which adult leaders often cite as weaknesses among youth may actually be catalytic strengths,” and that “three of these characteristics—frustration, fearlessness, and the propensity to capitalize on good fortune--are ingredients that are empowering youth across the globe to become successful entrepreneurs; adult leaders can benefit by emulating these attributes”.
Making Cents International and the Citi Foundation, the guest editors of this Innovations edition, note the timeliness of the publication: “As the economy shows signs of recovery, the International Labor Organization reports that the global rate of youth unemployment hovers around 13%, just below the jobless rate at the peak of the crisis--this still represents an estimated 73 million young people”. By bringing together top thinkers and field practitioners in a single volume, the editors hope to highlight “the scale of the opportunity before us,” rather than “the scale of the problem”--and inspire readers to make their own commitments to empower young entrepreneurs.