Notre Dame University- Shouf Campus, in an effort to support local initiatives and contribute to the development process of its surrounding community, sponsored the Innovation Camp organized by Injaz Lebanon in collaboration with Rural Entrepreneurs on May 13, 2017, in Mokhtara Official Secondary School.
The aim of the innovation camp is to introduce students to the concept of entrepreneurship, train them to take proactive stances towards challenges and come up with innovative business solutions and interventions to solve problems. Dr. Souhad Abi Zaki, NDU-SC instructor, and the main brains behind the sponsorship and coordination effort with the Innovation Camp organizers, mentioned that “NDU-SC supports community and youth building efforts; NDU-SC is a staunch believer in youth’s capacity for constructive education, innovation and positive change.”
The camp stretched over a period of 8 hours, from 9 am to 5 pm, during which 100 students from three public schools (Batloun, Mokhtara & Baakline official secondary schools) competed for scholarships granted by NDU-SC. The students were randomly divided into teams of 10 and were assigned mentors with diversified backgrounds and experiences to monitor and guide their work and efforts. After being introduced to the concept of entrepreneurship and engaged in problem solving activities, the students were asked to develop creative and innovative interventions and business ideas to address and promote one of five sustainable development goals in their area. The five goals were (1) responsible consumption and production (2) affordable and clean energy (3) industry innovation (4) gender equality (5) Good health.
After working closely with their mentors, the students developed basic business plans and ideas and pitched them to a jury of three judges. The judges graded the ideas presented according to several criteria including the degree to which the business ideas were clear, innovative, realistic, achievable and well presented. Based on their scores, two teams were selected. The first team won a 75% scholarship for their first semester in NDU-SC whereas the second team won a 50% scholarship. The remaining teams received certificates of accomplishment from Injaz and free training sessions on social entrepreneurship from Rural Entrepreneurs.
Once again, and through the sponsorship of the innovation camp, Notre Dame University- Shouf Campus, under the directorship of Father Hanna Tayar, reaffirms its commitment to the development of its surrounding community and to supporting the promotion of accessible, inclusive and quality education to all Lebanese youth.