SPARK updates:

October 2023 

In light of the challenging circumstances the world is facing today, our hearts go out to everyone going through difficult times. We all need a little positivity in our lives, and that’s why we would like to share our latest news and activities from SPARK worldwide.

IGNITE North Africa: Here's what you missed 🌍

The IGNITE North Africa conference, organised by SPARK in collaboration with the European Union and Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, addressed the impact of the global digital revolution, climate change and digital innovations within agribusiness as solutions to youth unemployment across North Africa. 

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Burundi: Follow the fish 🎣

Watch the video to discover how Burundi’s fishermen and fish sellers working on and around Lake Tanganyika are tackling overfishing by storing and freezing their catch. Funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and SPARK, the Samaki Centre near Rumonge offers facilities for cleaning, drying, smoking, and freezing fish. This first-of-its-kind centre in Burundi aims to stabilise fish supply in the market and reduce waste during periods of oversupply. 

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Updates from Türkiye

📍Launching a 1.1 million euros loan guarantee project. In partnership with Sheikh Abdullah Al Nouri Charity Society and Al Baraka Bank in Türkiye, SPARK is launching a 1.1 million Euros Loan Guarantee Project. Over four years, this project will provide loans to 600 small and medium-sized businesses in Türkiye with a special focus on the emerging Turkish and Syrian entrepreneurs in the earthquake-affected region.

📍SPARK will hold a B2B Networking and Closing Event on November 16th in Ankara for the “DAHIL” programme, funded by the European Union. The B2B Networking event will bring SMEs together to establish relations between businesses and to get updates about the latest opportunities and trends over the sector.

📍Meet the winners of the NAMA Competition’s Fourth Edition SPARK, with Qatar Fund for Development’s support, hosted the 4th NAMA competition to empower Syrian refugee startups in Türkiye. NAMA offers bootcamps, mentoring, and funding for innovative projects and startups.

Read more about the NAMA Competition

Meet our Entrepreneur of the Month, Hatica Aktürk 🎇

“We do not let any part [of the tree] go to waste”

After 12 years in the textile industry, Hatica Aktürk founded ‘Ata Ağaç’ in 2016, a women-led cooperative in Türkiye’s Muğla region that produces eco-friendly cosmetics from local olive oil. Her brand blends environmental sustainability with a commitment to social impact.

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Iraq: Reforming the higher education system 💡

27 professors, PhD holders, and officials from 12 governorates and 14 Iraqi universities convened for a SPARK-organised Training of Trainers (ToT), funded by EU Madad, paving the way for Bologna Process implementation in Iraq.

Find out more about the Bologna Process here

In other news

📍 Jordan: Enhancing graduate employment. Enhancing graduate employment in Jordan with Amman Arab University, supported by the Qatar Fund for Development. SPARK provided TOT (Train the Trainer) sessions, empowering professors to create innovative entrepreneurship courses, advancing sustainable education and the economy. Check this LinkedIn post.

📍Libya: Entrepreneurship Day 🎯SPARK Libya joined Entrepreneurship Day at the University of Benghazi, presenting SPARK and the Libya Start-Up project, guiding students, and networking with motivated students.

📍Lebanon : Meet the founder of Grade A Plus, Jocelyne Saade ♻️Watch this video to learn about Grade A Plus, a green startup that aims to reduce environmental damage and support local communities. Thanks to the ‘From Innovation to Creation’ programme funded by the European Union and in partnership with The Nawaya Network.

🌍International Day of Rural Women : On the 15th of October, we highlighted three inspiring stories from rural women that SPARK supports in Rwanda, Lebanon and Burundi. Rural women are the backbone of our communities, often playing a pivotal role in agriculture, food security and sustainable development in fragile and conflict-affected regions.

Want to work with SPARK? See our vacancies.