Meet six young entrepreneurs using green skills for a more sustainable world
The theme of this year’s International Youth Day is ‘Green Skills For Youth: Towards A Sustainable World’. Green skills are the “knowledge, abilities, values and attitudes needed to live in, develop and support a sustainable and resource-efficient society”. Strengthening the green skills of youth living in fragile and conflict-affected regions is at the heart of SPARK’s new Strategy 2030, launched this year.
Get to know six young entrepreneurs using their green skills to shape greener futures.
Rebuilding earthquake-affected zones with a green, resilient backbone
After the devastating earthquakes that struck Türkiye and Syria six months ago, Mohammad Abdo, a Syrian refugee, felt a duty to help rebuild the country which welcomed him many years ago. Pairing up with Omar, a keen university student, Mohammad drew on the knowledge he had learnt through the NAMA II competition, organised by SPARK and BINA Business Incubator, to shape his renewable energy business. Their goal is to transform the earthquake-affected cities into smart cities, powered by renewable energy sources. Mohammad and Omar believe that creating electricity sustainably should be the backbone of the reconstruction process, promising a more resilient, greener future for generations to come.
Blue Filter for clean water in the Gaza Strip
The inception of Blue Filter, Saleh Al-Saadi’s startup, was driven by the urgent need to combat water pollution in the Gaza Strip. His approach harnesses the natural properties of plant seeds to remove nitrates and salts from water. As part of SPARK’s Tech for Inclusivity programme, Salah took part in the Startups on the Move competition with Startups Without Borders, enabling him to refine his business through six months of training, coaching and access to finance. Pitching his business at SPARK’s annual IGNITE conference in Amsterdam, he took home the top award of $10,000 in seed funding after impressing the judges. Salah’s vision has the potential to reshape water treatment on a global scale, becoming a true beacon of hope for sustainable and green agriculture.
Lebanon’s waste problem gets upcycled
Margot Wehbe founded her startup UWYTA to raise awareness on the importance of effective waste management and sustainable economic development in Lebanon. UWYTA collects non-recyclable potato chip bags, which frequently litter the country’s landscape, and upcycles them into brand new products. Margot participated in SPARK’s From Innovation to Creation programme funded by the European Union, in cooperation with The Nawaya Network. She improved her green skills and boosted her confidence as a young entrepreneur through coaching and training sessions in financial management, digital marketing and export strategies. Initiating positive change is at the core of Margot’s work and she believes in the potential of youth to build a more sustainable Lebanon.
Youth innovating for food insecurity in South Sudan
As the climate crisis tightens its grip, “South Sudan is simultaneously drowning and drying”, causing extreme levels of food insecurity, according to the World Food Programme. Michael Aliam, disturbed by local farmers’ reliance on milled maize flour imports from Uganda, decided to invest in his own maize miller. As his business grew, Michael qualified for business training and received a loan as part of SPARK’s Food Security through Agribusiness programme, which cultivated his business prowess and his green skills. Today, his business has created sustainable employment for young people in his community and is a shining example of youth innovating for a greener society.
Tunisian agro-processing business brings local, organic produce to consumers
Seeing her farming community suffer as a result of industrialised farming, the climate crisis and globalisation, Dhouda Azri saw an opportunity to transform the Tunisian agricultural scene. In 2021, Dhouda and five other young entrepreneurs founded Taghamuta Agro, an ethical venture that transforms local produce into high-quality consumer goods through a unique supply chain model. They joined SPARK’s Local Employment in Africa for Development programme, where they received training to scale up the business following green and fair trade principles. Thaghamuto Agro has become a trusted name in the industry and a major producer of organic goods, illustrating the power of youth as leaders of a greener future.
Addressing Jordan’s water shortages with technology
Concerned by the impact of the climate crisis on agriculture in Jordan, two young engineers, Salma Amayri and Mohammed Zainati, launched their startup, Smart Green. The company harnesses the power of 4.0 technologies to develop intelligent systems, which help farmers to reduce water consumption by up to 70%. With the training they received through the Startup Roadshow 3 competition by SPARK and Jusoor, Salma and Mohammed perfected their technique and developed the skills to craft a legacy of resource preservation, better water management and flourishing agriculture.