“Access to information is a basic right, not a privilege.” This is the motto by which 29-year-old Algerian entrepreneur Abdellah Aouf has been living -and innovating- by. After graduating from a promising degree in renewable energy a few years back, Abdellah was confronted with a harsh disillusion: there was no job for him to apply for. “Although I lived only 50km away from the capital, there was just no opportunity for work. Because I used to travel there all the time for volunteering, I realised opportunities did exist, just not for people outside of the city.” Whilst they are meant for the entire nation, Abdellah says opportunities only reach privileged youth in the capital, leaving thousands of qualified and ambitious young people at bay.
Abdellah teamed up with fellow Algerian youth and spent two years researching and experimenting. He came up with a solution by combining two of his passions: doing business and doing good. In 2019, he launched Global Opportunities or GO Platform, a social entrepreneurship project aimed at helping all youth access opportunities, regardless of their background, skillset or connections.
Free of charge, GO Platform gives young people a space to connect, harness their skills and gain access to work-related information and opportunities. It provides tailored guidance to help youth develop their self-confidence and entrepreneurship skills, and become better equipped for the world of work. The Platform has grown to reach around three million users, and partner organisations in more than 46 countries. With their participation in the EU-funded programme The Next Society last year, GO Platform plans to expand ever further, and to integrate innovative tech and financial solutions to its services. But for Abdellah, “it is not just about the job search. It is about disrupting the current system to best support active young leaders from the MENA region and Africa so they can go and solve the world’s most critical challenges.
THE NEXT SOCIETY is a 4-year EU-funded project that aims to remove the barriers to innovation and unleash the Mediterranean creative potential by reinforcing innovation ecosystems and fostering value creation. The project brings together a network of over 300 business & innovation, research and investment organisations, 2,500 international SMEs and entrepreneurs from 30 countries, all pushing forward concrete solutions for a shared prosperity in the Mediterranean and tomorrow in Africa. THE NEXT SOCIETY targets innovators and change makers in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia.