Empowering Youth Through Transformative Entrepreneurship Support UNDP and The Big Heart Foundation partner to support young entrepreneurs in Lebanon and Palestine

November 28, 2022
2018 – East Jerusalem. UNDP supporting students going to school in the old city of East Jerusalem to have quality education

November 2022 – United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF) signed a partnership to support young entrepreneurs in Lebanon and Palestine in 2022-2023 through developing the entrepreneurship ecosystems that create opportunities for impact-oriented youth-led businesses, employment generation and contributions towards green growth and resilient societies.

The Arab states region is still recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic. Livelihoods of many young people were impacted, and additional efforts are needed to support them and their communities through the road to recovery and beyond. The partnership aims to provide employment opportunities to youth who are at most risk of falling into extreme poverty.

Young people have the potential to develop enterprises that generate decent employment opportunities, enhance resilience of communities, contribute towards diversification of economies, and have positive impact on sustainable development of their countries. The joint project strengthens UNDP’s youth entrepreneurship programmes in Lebanon and Palestine during 2022-2023.

Mariam Al Hammadi, Director of The Big Heart Foundation, emphasized: “Sharjah and TBHF believe that young people can be engines of social and economic development. Investing in the limitless potential of young people will create an agile, entrepreneurial, and resilient workforce that is essential to securing the future of vulnerable communities. An engaged youth cohort is a powerful force for change, and by facilitating the growth of viable, innovative and scalable initiatives, TBHF strives for long-term sustainable impact.”

“We have seen the creativity of young people in developing solutions that address developmental challenges and at the same time, create decent employment and economic opportunities. Enabling them to do so is a key to supporting their countries in developing resilient communities and economies. Together with The Big Heart Foundation, we are laying the foundation for greater youth role in developing sustainable solutions for their communities”, said Khaled Abdel Shafi, Manager of the UNDP Regional Hub for Arab States.

In Lebanon, the project addresses challenges that youth-led Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) face in accessing new markets, and incubates viable, innovative, impactful and sustainable development solutions, such as social enterprises, non-profits and initiatives. The incubation is implemented by national partners, Injaz Lebanon, Riyada for Social Innovation, and Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT).

In Palestine, the project focuses on strengthening the resilience of MSMEs through enhancing business transformation and sustainability. It supports national enterprise helpdesk initiative and develops impact assessments and surveys to inform policy reform processes that would support development of youth-driven and innovative private sector. In addition, youth-led ventures will receive incubation from the local partner, Flow.

Through addressing both structural barriers and incubating youth-led enterprises, project aims for long-term sustainable impact. It lays the foundation for innovation and incremental development of policies and institutional capacities to support young aspiring entrepreneurs to contribute towards green growth and resilient societies.

The partnership is part of UNDP’s regional youth project for Arab States, the Youth Empowerment, Engagement and Knowledge Project (Shababeek), that aims to empower young people through economic and civic participation to enhance their role as agents for sustainable development in their societies. It is also in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and under the directives of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of the Ruler of Sharjah, Chairperson of TBHF and UNHCR Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children, which position TBHF’s Foundation’s humanitarian projects in key sectors to promote sustainable livelihoods and build self-sufficient communities.


For more information, please contact:

TBHF | Noura AlNoman | Programs Coordinator | noura.alshamsi@tbhf.ae

UNDP | Linda Haddad | Regional Youth Project Manager | linda.haddad@undp.org

About TBHF

The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), a philanthropic foundation officially established in May 2015, proceeded by various initiatives and campaigns launched by Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs. The Foundation’s mandate is to protect and empower vulnerable children and their families in vulnerable situations across the world. Since then, TBHF has provided health, education and emergency aid services – among others – to almost 4 million people in need more than 25 countries.

About UNDP

UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and planet. Learn more at undp.org or follow us at @UNDP.