Educating Future Entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia
In January 2019, a pilot course in entrepreneurship was introduced in seven Saudi high schools with the goal of developing an entrepreneurial mindset and spirit as well as ensuring students’ readiness for business life.
The course is based on two Finnish professional training modules, “Entrepreneurial Mindset” and “Planning a Business”, tailored to fit the Saudi market and delivered by local teachers who are trained and supported by experts from Omnia Education Partnerships.
The course is implemented in partnership with Saudi Ministry of Education and Small & Medium Enterprises General Authority Monsha’at.
An Eye-Opening Experience for Students
129 students are now taking the course in Saudi Arabia. In the school of Al Motaqadimah located in Riyadh, Ammar, 18, and Abdullah, 17, are two of those students. The two boys describe their learning journey as an eye-opening one.
“I used to think of entrepreneurship as a career choice for someone who has failed in university,” Ammar admits. Today, he considers entrepreneurship as his dream work, which allows him to contribute to his community in a meaningful way. Ammar is still planning on going to university, but is also working in a company he set up with his father.
Abdullah’s dream since childhood has been to work with science, perhaps with biochemistry. After joining the course, he was surprised how much his options multiplied: “It changed my perspective. I was relieved to learn that I can do whatever I want. I am still sticking to science, but I have many ideas now.”
Developing Important Life Skills
Course feedback from both students and teachers has been overwhelmingly positive. 87,5 % percent of the students evaluated their learning experience as excellent or very good. The students have also developed important life skills on the course. According to student feedback, the tops skills and attributes they have developed include goal setting, self-confidence, dealing with uncertainty, creativity, problem solving as well as presentation and digital skills.
For Abdullah, working in a team and discussing ideas with other students has been one of the most important aspects of the course. “Before, I thought I didn’t need any help from anyone. During the course, I have learned to work in a team and appreciate teamwork,” he explains. “I have also learned how to act in a professional manner.”
Ammar has learned a lot about managing a business and is no longer afraid of failing or taking risks. “I am a hard worker now and someone who believes in business,” he points out.
The boys would recommend the course to all young people: “This course gives you hope, you are recognized. I would definitely recommend it even if it might be a bit uncomfortable,” says Abdullah.
The entrepreneurship course will come to an end in December 2019, and students who have successfully completed both modules will receive an official Diploma from Omnia, the Joint Authority of Education in the Espoo Region.
Read more about Educating Future Entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia on the project website.