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Silatech and BRAC partner to promote self-employment through financial inclusion for 684,000 youth in Bangladesh

New York, 17 September 2023 – Silatech has announced a partnership with BRAC, the world’s largest development organization, to promote youth income generation through financial inclusion and unlock access to finance for 684,212 youth in Bangladesh to become self-employed.

The project, Unlocking Financial Solutions for Youth Enterprise Development was signed on the sidelines of the 78th edition of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York today.

It aims to address the lack of access to traditional financing resources for the youth of Bangladesh who seek to sustain, start, or expand their income-generating ventures.

Over the course of three years, the project will provide financing products to young people who do not have access to traditional banking services. Moreover, it will offer financial literacy and entrepreneurial training programs to enhance the sustainability of their ventures and improve the financial literacy and capabilities of youth entrepreneurs.

The lack of access to formal financing is a significant challenge for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Bangladesh, with the World Bank estimating a financing gap of US$2.8 billion. This gap is particularly pronounced for women-led SMEs, as 60 percent of them lack collateral.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated these challenges, leading to reduced income, job loss, and limited financial access for youth. The project seeks to bridge this financial gap and create meaningful economic opportunities for young people and their families.

“By promoting youth income generation through financial inclusion and empowering Bangladesh’s youth, we are confident that this project will significantly improve their livelihoods, create more employment opportunities within their ventures, and drive sustainable economic growth. Bangladesh has a huge youth population with few opportunities as it is the densest country in the world, and we are excited to partner with BRAC, the world’s largest development organization to help reduce the suffering of many youths due to lack of access to financial solutions” said Hassan Al Mulla, Silatech CEO.

Asif Saleh, the Executive Director of BRAC said, “BRAC believes in the power of youth to drive economic growth. We are extending microfinance services and combining it with financial literacy, and entrepreneurship training to young entrepreneurs from marginalized backgrounds. Our client-centric approach ensures tailored financial products, while mentorship and capacity building would help the young entrepreneurs fuel the growth of their businesses. We are excited to be partnering with Silatech in testing this innovative model to support young entrepreneurs in Bangladesh. This will help us not only to design more effective products but also understand and manage risks better.”

This partnership marks an important step towards youth economic empowerment and creating a more equitable and prosperous future for disadvantaged communities.

Silatech Launched the inaugural Youth Dialogue Series on the Sidelines of the UNGA

Silatech, a non-government non-profit, socio-economic development organization that empowers youth through capacity building, direct job placement and enterprise development for marginalized communities worldwide, has launched a powerful youth dialogue series at the side-lines of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly that will help youth turn challenges into opportunities within an economic development context and through employment creation in the Middle East, North Africa region and beyond.

Within the event framework, a partnership agreement has been announced between Silatech and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). It will further create socio- economic opportunities for unemployed youth in MENA.

The partnership will launch a program together with Education for Employment Foundation (EFE) in Morocco, aiming to connect youth with decent employment. Silatech and BMGF will continue to explore interventions to advance employment opportunities in other countries in the region.

A key component of the initiative is highlighting the importance and urgency of promoting youth re-skilling and capacity building to achieve decent employment for young men and women among diverse industry sectors.

The inaugural Silatech Youth Dialogue Series, UNGA Edition held with the participation of Generation Unlimited, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Permanent Mission of Qatar to the UN, was themed “The Role of Youth Socio-Economic Empowerment in Achieving Global Resilience in the Covid-19 Era.”

 The Youth Dialogue Series featured remarks by young men and women advocates representing several countries and advocacy groups from around the world to explore innovative ideas and solutions that address the challenges young people endure worldwide in alignment with the UN Youth Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals 2030.

On occasion of the event, HE Ambassador Sheikha Alya Ahmed Al Thani, Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the UN, commented: “The Covid- 19 pandemic has had a serious impact on young workers and those transitioning to employment, particularly young women. Qatar based organizations are actively working to provide youth with the necessary skills and connecting them from learning to employment.”

Hassan Ali AlMulla, CEO Silatech, said: “The instability of the economic landscape continues to place marginalized youth at greater risk of forced displacement, thereby inhibiting their capabilities to achieve their full potential. They are the evolutionary

catalyst that fuels change to a better future, and therefore our collaborative efforts are crucial to navigate this paradigm shift in the post-Covid19 marketplace.”

Dr Kevin Frey, CEO Generation Unlimited, commented:  “Young people today represent one-quarter of the world’s population – a generation of this magnitude has enormous opportunity to transform economic and social outcomes in line with the Social Development Goals.Yet, this is a world that is increasingly challenging for young people to navigate. With such profound shifts on the horizon, we have to take action, accelerating scalable, investable ideas and innovations that can support young people to acquire the skills they need to thrive in the world of work.“

Hassan Damluji, Deputy Director – Middle East and East Asia, at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said: “Covid-19 has had a devastating effect on young people around the world, making it harder for them to access and ramp up the skills they need to build their livelihoods. This is why we are proud to work alongside Silatech to help create opportunities for the youth in Morocco, a country where 30 percent of the population is under the age of 15. As we emerge from the pandemic, this grant will help young Moroccans access trainings, job matching, and job placements in high-demand sectors, thereby providing them with opportunities to help build more resilient communities. Education for Employment is an ideal partner to execute on this ambition, given its extensive experience in youth empowerment across the Middle East and North Africa.”

Silatech High-Level Event in Geneva stresses the importance of Empowering Youth

DOHA, 6 March, 2019

Describing the role of Silatech foundation in providing more than 1,100,000 jobs as pioneering work, the participants at Silatech high-level event in Geneva urged the international community to do more to address unemployment. They also stressed the importance of investing in youth development to contribute to the promotion of economy and peace for the security of the whole world, and to implement the international strategy against terrorism, especially as young people are the foundation of the renaissance of nations.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi stressed the importance of listening to the voice of young people, adding that they have always been followers and now they should be leaders, stressing the importance of investment to employ young refugees in host countries, describing the achievement of Silatech and its success in providing more than one mn jobs for young people as a leading role.

For her part, United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth Jayathma Wickramanayake said that poverty leads to social exclusion and marginalisation, noting that 64mn young people are unemployed while 70mn workers still live in extreme poverty.

Catalist & Chief founder of Jokkolabs Mr. Karim Sy said that it’s a must to adopt creative solutions to empower youth specially in Africa, the richest continent of youth.

“How do you deal with a doubling population every 20 years? We need innovation, we need to do things totally differently, technology allows that, it is incredibly powerful. The technology is bringing us the opportunity to work together. We can bring new solutions, we can think different, for farming, for energy, for education. We can invent a new path”, added Mr. Sy.

Ambassador for Silatech, Chaker Khazaal, said that young people need to build bridges of communication rather than walls.
As a former refugee, he has learned that he must cling to hope, adding that the world is dark, but hope must be upheld because it is the only way to the life of any refugee and thanks to organisations like Silatech, there must be the belief that tomorrow will be better.

Speaker Chris Gardner, Author of In the Pursuit of Happyness called for action to tackle unemployment.
He also thanked Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Silatech’s Board of Trustees and Advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals, for her efforts in order to enable the youth and provide them with job opportunities through Silatech.

He added that Silatech’s work on empowering and improving the lives of young people is more important than ever, especially in a world that grows darker and more frightening every day.

The participants, including politicians and officials of the United Nations, the European Union and prominent international organisations, agreed that the provision of employment opportunities for young people is a key to economic development and real investment in any country.
Prime Minister of Somalia Hassan Ali Khayre said 70% of Somalia’s population is young and every job opportunity is an investment in the country’s future.
He added that the youth in the population in his country can be a positive or negative factor. If provided with the skills of entrepreneurship they would be the backbone of economic growth but ignoring them and not providing them with employment opportunities will make them a cause of instability and conflict.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and former president of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, said youth are partners in change and benefit from it, and their voices must be heard.

She highlighted the importance of youth’s role, their empowerment, investing in them and interacting with them.

Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Silatech and UN Sustainable Development Goals Advocate, had announced on Monday that youth will receive 3mn employment opportunities globally by 2022, calling for more partners to help raise that number to 5mn.

Silatech is an international, social, non-profit, non-governmental organisation based in Qatar established by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser in 2008 which aims to combat unemployment, extremism, and marginalisation of young people and women through employment and economic empowerment initiatives.
Silatech is empowering young people to lead change and improve their lives and communities for the better.

Policies To Support Entrepreneurship In Morocco
Practices And Learnings

This study has been initiated and finance by Silatech and implemented by researchers from Hassan II University- Casablanca. The study provides analysis and recommendations to help policy deciders to build foundation and conditions in order to lead the path to entrepreneurs to start their projects. This will of course clarify the different practices and forecast the constraints that may affect the feasibility of the whole program.



Silatech has launched its Annual Report for 2016 – 2017 which provides an overview of its innovative programs and initiatives; highlighting local, regional, and international strategic partnerships. Furthermore, the report presents achievements and agreements for Arab Youth in operational countries.



This national report discusses the key aspects of entrepreneurship dynamics in Morocco based on the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Survey conducted in 2015.



Under the patronage of the Ambassador of the Netherlands to Qatar, Silatech, a regional social organization that works on connecting Arab youth to jobs and expand economic opportunities, along with SPARK, an NGO that develops higher education and entrepreneurship so that young ambitious people are empowered to lead their post-conflict societies into prosperity, organized an Expert Meeting titled Entrepreneurship for Stability in the MENA Region.

The expert meeting, which took place at the residence of the Dutch Ambassador in Doha, witnessed participation of delegates from International Development Communities, NGOs, Private and Public Sector including academics and think tanks.

Commenting on the event, Her Excellency Yvette Burghgraef-van Eechoud, Dutch Ambassador to Qatar said: ‘I was honored to host in my residence a group of extraordinary people from the Middle-East and Africa to design economic opportunities for refugees and internally displaced persons. The group showed a very high level of commitment, expertise and trust. These are the basic ingredients for finding the right solutions for both refugees and the communities that are hosting them.’ H.E added: ‘The Netherlands proudly supports this partnership between Silatech and SPARK in their endeavor to provide some perspective and dignity to the many victims of humanitarian catastrophe in countries like Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya.’

The Expert Meeting addressed many topics regarding the current situation of refugees such as: innovative programs and policies can be introduced to enable refugees to carry out business activities whilst at the same time, not negatively impacting the host country economy; Employment and entrepreneurship programs and policies are the most appropriate and successful contributors to livelihood improvements in conflict-affected areas  and what can be done to ensure or create an enabling environment where some economic development and livelihood generating activities can take place in conflict-affected areas.

Mr Mohammed Al-Naimi, CEO of Silatech said: ‘Our vision is to have an Arab world in which young people are able to work and are engaged in the economic development of their societies came as a response to the challenge of unemployment in the region and led to the establishment of Silatech to connect Arab youth to economic opportunities and jobs through enterprise and employment and today this mission is even more required and needed…. as we all know, the region is experiencing unprecedented instability with ongoing conflicts and political upheaval affecting multiple countries for the past 5 Years.’ He added: ‘We hope this meeting is another step in a journey towards unlocking effective partnerships, programmatic interventions and policy recommendations that contribute to providing sustainable solutions to the complex issue at hand.’

Michel Richter, Co-Director of SPARK, also present at the event, comments: ‘Our programs for Syrian Refugees in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan funded by the Dutch Government and Education Above All Foundation are an important step, but more needs to be done in terms of business development and job creation for this group.’ In doing so he emphasized the need to capitalize on the brain power and experience mobilized at the Expert Meeting. Richter stressed ‘there remains much to learn and gain in terms of what works and what does not work and urges for the development of concrete and practical initiatives that can be rapidly deployed. This requires the involvement of organizations present at the meeting such as the UNHCR, ILO, Qatar Red Crescent, International Medical Corps, Silatech and SPARK as well as relevant private sector and government actors.’

The attendees shared best practices from various types of employment and entrepreneurship initiatives that played a vital role in improving livelihoods which contributed to fostering social stability for refugees and others. One of the potential initiatives that had been explored in depth was the establishment of free economic zones that would facilitate Syrian investors and entrepreneurs to continue and start their businesses creating employment and business linkages involving both Syrian refugees and host communities.


The Oman Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Map is designed as a tool for entrepreneurs, support organizations and policymakers involved in Oman’s entrepreneurship ecosystem. It presents the relationship between various organizations and entities involved in finance, education, government, media, the private sector, donor institutions and entrepreneurship support organizations.



Oman’s Public Authority for the Development of Small and Medium Enterprises (Riyada) recently organized a three-day “Build Your Business” master training program in cooperation with Silatech.

This training marks the first step in a larger partnership between Riyada and Silatech, including collaboration on Riyada’s Entrepreneurship Award, research to track the progress and obstacles faced by entrepreneurs in establishing or expanding their business, as well as programs to encourage and empower social entrepreneurs.

Silatech Acting CEO Mohammed Al Naimi welcomed the collaboration with Riyada, saying “Silatech will be significantly increasing our engagement in Oman, and we look forward to working with dynamic and forward-thinking organizations like Riyada to help unlock the full potential of Omani youth.”

For his part, Riyada CEO Khalifa bin Said Al Abri said “The Build Your Business program is the first step in cooperation with our Qatari partner Silatech. The blended approach of the program, which combines classroom instruction and e-learning, will help to train and empower Omani business pioneers.”

The program took place in Muscat during September 15-17, and was conducted as a “Training of Trainers” to enhance the capacity of Oman-based facilitators to deliver the Build Your Business (BYB) program directly to young Omani entrepreneurs. Build Your Business includes 14 thematic units taught over 30 hours of instruction; it uses a unique blended learning approach in which skills are introduced online, and then reinforced with in-person classroom instruction. The instruction is also coupled with practical, hands-on activities conducted in the community.

The workshop aimed to strengthen the capacity for the Sultanate of Oman to provide Build Your Business training directly to the owners of small and medium enterprises and help them in learning how to establish and strengthen their businesses.

Build Your Business (BYB) is a comprehensive, interactive training course designed to support aspiring young entrepreneurs by introducing them to the basic principles needed to successfully launch, lead and scale up very small businesses, or “microenterprises.” Originally developed by the International Youth Foundation and Microsoft, BYB has been used by more than 300 organizations in 20 countries.

Based in Doha, Silatech is a regional social initiative which works with over 100 partners in 15 countries throughout the Arab world to help young Arabs find jobs and start businesses. Since being founded in 2008, Silatech has financed and supported over 90,000 youth-owned businesses, and created or sustained over 140,000 jobs. The partnership with Riyada marks Silatech’s first program activity in Oman.


The Palestine entrepreneurship ecosystem map is designed as a tool for entrepreneurs, support organizations and policymakers involved in Palestine’s entrepreneurship ecosystem.