Enriching innovation and creativity: Focus of Zain’s sustainability strategy
By Kuwait Times
KUWAIT: During the first quarter of 2018, Zain Kuwait adopted the enrichment of innovation and entrepreneurial creativity as the main focus of its sustainability strategy for the entire year ahead. This strategy featured a plethora of initiatives, projects, and innovative programs that came in collaboration with various local, regional, and international partners, presenting Zain as a key player in progressing the digital investments wheel in the Kuwaiti market.
In the following report, Zain showcases the most prominent initiatives and projects the company launched and supported during 2018 to achieve its sustainability strategy, with the main aim of offering the proper educational environment for students, youth, and entrepreneurs to embrace their talents and encourage tech innovation, contributing to the further progress of Kuwait’s national economy.
Zain Innovation Center (ZINC)
In early 2018, the Zain Innovation Center (ZINC) was inaugurated in the company’s main headquarters in Shuwaikh during a ceremony that witnessed the attendance of Minister of Commerce and Industry Khaled Al-Roudhan, Zain Group’s Vice Chairman and Group CEO Bader Al-Kharafi, Zain’s senior management, as well as many successful identities from the Kuwait and regional digital ecosystem. ZINC is set to encourage young minds to think and act creatively outside of the norm in an open, supportive environment. The design of the hub utilizes light and is deliberately modern and sleek, with the view to creating the right atmosphere for entrepreneurs to generate new ideas and develop them into viable opportunities. Apart from the inspiring co-working hub facilities, ZINC also provides aspiring entrepreneurs and startups access to experts in various fields and advice from mentors from the region and across the globe, including from Zain senior personnel and associated technology partners.
The introduction of ZINC is another step forward by Zain to align its brand values and Corporate Sustainability objectives, as well as the company’s active investment in delivering on its strategic digital lifestyle aspirations. ZINC attracts major global pioneers and mentors from across the digital value chain to make appearances and inspire budding entrepreneurs through presentations, workshops, and much more.
The inauguration of ZINC also witnessed the launch of the all-new ZINC Kuwait app, which connects and promotes ZINC activities to the local startup community and allows users to make bookings and more. The app also informs users of the programs hosted in the center and how interested young startups and entrepreneurs can benefit from ZINC.
Coded Juniors Summer Camp
During 2018, Zain was the Strategic Partner of the Coded Juniors Summer Camp. The program aimed at teaching children the basics of coding and technology using the latest tools and gadgets throughout 4 weeks at Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Cultural Center. Zain’s support came in line with its strategy towards encouraging innovation and digital transformation. The company is keen on contributing to the development and advancement of tech innovation within all age groups, including school children, with the aim of boosting their coding and technology skills, as such skills are essential for the modern digital world.
Coded Juniors Summer Camp mainly aimed at teaching school children (ages 7-12) the basics of coding languages and technology using the latest tools and gadgets like robots, smart toys, computers, and more, as well as traditional learning methods such as art, drawing, and music. The program featured a fun educational environment that lasted for 4 weeks in the Space Museum of Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Center.
KON Social Entrepreneurship Program
During 2018, Zain organized a workshop for the participants of the KON Social Entrepreneurship Program at the Zain Innovation Center (ZINC) in the company’s main headquarters in Shuwaikh. The event, brought to Kuwait in collaboration with Babson College in Boston, came as part of Zain’s Strategic Partnership of LOYAC, a non-profit organization that aims at developing the youth’s talents and skills. The partnership comes in line with the company’s Corporate Sustainability and Social Responsibility Strategy, which centers around the development of the Education and Youth sectors, especially in regards to nurturing and developing entrepreneurial skills within the youth.
Zain hosted the students at the Zain Innovation Center (ZINC) in the company’s main headquarters in Shuwaikh, where they took part in a workshop facilitated by Khaled Al-Amiri, owner of the Li3ib project and an ex-participant of Zain’s fourth Zain Great Idea accelerator program. The workshop covered tech startup acceleration, common challenges of entrepreneurship and how to overcome them, the basics of starting your own business, and more. Zain also participated in awarding the winning teams of the best project ideas as part of the program during the concluding ceremony.
KON, one of LOYAC’s latest youth development programs, trained youth (12-16 years) in the area of Social Entrepreneurship throughout 6 weeks at the American University in Kuwait. The program was brought to Kuwait in collaboration with Babson College in Boston, considered the most prestigious entrepreneurship college in the United States and the number one institution in the world for entrepreneurship education.
IFAD Internship Program
During 2018, Zain was the Exclusive Partner of the Internship Program at the United Nation’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Zain’s support to the program, which came for the second consecutive year, was part of the company’s Strategic Partnership with LOYAC.
Zain’s exclusive support to LOYAC’s Internship Program at IFAD featured the participation of Kuwaiti students Wadha Al-Mussalam (2017) and Thuraya Al-Holi (2018) in the program at Rome, Italy. Both students were selected by LOYAC amongst many outstanding Kuwaiti students of Accounting, Finance, and Economics to take part in this internship program, which extended throughout six months and aimed at training students on finance agricultural development projects primarily for food production in rural areas of developing countries.
LOYAC Part-time Training Program
During October – December 2018, Zain hosted 32 students of the LOYAC part-time training program who worked at the company’s various divisions, giving them an opportunity to gain experience in the private sector work environment. Zain’s support to the program came as part of the company’s Strategic Partnership with LOYAC.
The 32 students, enrolled in the LOYAC part-time program, took part in completing tasks, learning new skills, and going through professional training in the real business world at various departments and divisions within Zain, where they gained valuable experiences of working in the private sector environment. Zain also offered the students financial rewards in recognition of their efforts and as an encouragement to their dedication. Zain is proud to be one of the Strategic Partners of LOYAC since its inception, especially that it is considered one of the most prominent national programs that cater to the youth and offers them a healthy and empowering environment to develop their skills and talents in an educational, fun, and social atmosphere.
INJAZ Al-Arab 12th Young Entrepreneurs Competition
During 2018, Zain sponsored the twelfth annual INJAZ Al-Arab Young Entrepreneurs Competition entitled ‘Next Stop.. Forward.’ The regional competition, organized by INJAZ Al-Arab and INJAZ Kuwait, was hosted last year by the State of Kuwait under the patronage of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. The company’s support to this regional competition came as part of its Strategic Partnership with INJAZ Al-Arab, which extends throughout the years under the umbrella of Zain’s Corporate Sustainability and Social Responsibility strategy towards developing the youth and education sectors. The competition witnessed 80 students competing to represent 11 different countries from all over the Middle East and North Africa region.
The INJAZ Al-Arab Young Entrepreneurs Competition is the culmination of six months of experiential learning and application based on INJAZ Al-Arab’s internationally acclaimed Company Program, which is executed by a select group of corporate mentors who work hand-in-hand with students on establishing, marketing and liquidating a real business. The Competition is an annual celebration of the achievements of students who participated and won the National Company Program Competition in their countries after demonstrating sound knowledge in business planning, market research, marketing, sales and feasibility studies.
Makers Academy Program
During 2018, Zain was the Strategic Partner of the Makers Academy program held in collaboration with the Ministry of State for Youth Affairs at the Zain Innovation Center (ZINC). Zain’s support to the program came in line with its strategy towards encouraging digital innovation, as the company is keen on contributing to the development and advancement of tech innovation within all age groups, including school children, with the aim of boosting their technology skills, as such skills are essential for the modern digital world.
The Makers Academy program was hosted at the Zain Innovation Center (ZINC) in the company’s main headquarters in Shuwaikh throughout two weeks, where 50 students aged 11-15 from both public and private schools took part in exciting sessions that aimed at teaching them the basics of digital manufacturing, product design, inventions, project creation, 3D modeling and printing, robotics, electronics, and more.
Smartphone Photography Workshops
During 2018, Zain organized three specialized workshops that covered the fundamentals of smartphone photography in collaboration with H&S Store. The workshops, held at the Zain Innovation Center (ZINC) in the company’s main headquarters in Shuwaikh, were presented by professional photographers Abdulaziz Al-Suraya, Musaad Al-Obaid and Zainab Abdal. Zain organized the workshops in line with its continuous keenness to offer world-class specialized programs for those who are interested in developing their talents within all areas. Zain, being a leader in the Kuwaiti private sector, believes in the importance of enriching the talents of the community in which it operates by adopting such initiatives.
KILMITAIN 2.0 – The Innovation Series
During 2018, Zain supported the KILMITAIN 2.0 Innovation Series organized by Khaleejesque Magazine and hosted by the Zain Innovation Center (ZINC) in the company’s main headquarters in Shuwaikh. The series featured unique monthly discussion sessions covering innovation and creativity within various fields, hosting many prominent innovators from Kuwait who shared their experiences, skills, and success stories with the audiences.
ING Creatives Program
During 2018, Zain sponsored the latest edition of the ING Creatives Program that was held for the first time in Kuwait. The program, hosted at Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Center, organized creative design workshops featuring many internationally renowned designers, including a designer from NASA, a prominent meditative design practitioner from Boston, a sustainable design expert from Canada, and more.