Students, Start-ups and Virtual Mentoring: How UIF is Shaping Innovation in the Middle East

Two mentoring nonprofits located over 6,000 miles away come together to promote virtual mentoring among students and start-ups. Interns working at Five One Labs in Iraq will be virtually paired with interns at UIF to support start-ups in both countries. This pilot mentoring initiative is designed to support Five One Labs students who are working with start-up companies for the first time.

The experience will enable students from both organizations to share best practices, build their skills, and create mutually supportive working relationships across cultures. The two will combine to promote innovation and entrepreneurship from opposite ends of the world.

"What entrepreneurs need more than anything is support, resources, and role models to take their ideas and help them grow into real businesses.”

Alice Bosley, Five One Labs Co-Founder

Alice Bosley, a Philadelphia native, founded Five One Labs to help refugees and conflict-affected entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses in the Middle East. These entrepreneurs are paired with mentors in the Middle East and United States for guidance and support. Now, Bosley is collaborating with UIF to provide student interns with diverse hands-on experience working with businesses in Northern Iraq.

“We are excited to collaborate with a Philadelphia native who is empowering entrepreneurs abroad through mentorship. Our interns will gain valuable international experience, while sharing their insights with peers.”

Ben Pietrzyk, Director of UIF’s Entrepreneur Mentoring Program

The Entrepreneur Mentoring Program recruits student interns from top-tier universities and matches them with startup companies in the Greater Philadelphia Area. Since 2014, more than 60 interns supported nearly 50 start-ups through research, business plan development, fundraising, social media, website design, and more. Director of UIF’s Entrepreneur Mentoring Program, Ben Pietrzyk says their interns helped raise more than $3-million for start-ups while creating 75 full-time, part-time, and contract jobs.

The Uncommon Individual Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit leader in mentor-based learning, founded in 1986 by Dr. Richard E. Caruso. A successful entrepreneur, Caruso attributes his entrepreneurial success to the mentors he encountered throughout his life. UIF is his way of ‘mentoring it forward,’ to help individuals and organizations succeed through curated connections to mentors in Business, Education, Media, and Technology. For more information about uif, visit: www.uif.org.

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