67 students enrolled from universities in Riyadh and Medina

Over 120 students from selected High Schools in Riyadh and Jeddah participate for the first time

Saudi Arabia, March 30, 2016 – The Coca-Cola Foundation, in partnership with INJAZ Al-Arab, have launched the ninth semester of the ‘Ripples of Happiness’ (ROH) program in Saudi Arabia. The Ripples of Happiness program is a training program jointly developed by the Coca-Cola Foundation and INJAZ Al-Arab. This program inspires university students to identify and implement projects that will have a positive impact on their communities, with a primary emphasis on social responsibility, entrepreneurial skills, financial literacy, and workplace readiness. The program’s 9th semester in Saudi Arabia will witness participation of 187 students from selected universities in Riyadh and Medina and high schools in Jeddah and Riyadh, taking part for the very first time.

A total of 10 student teams from the selected universities and schools have so far enrolled in Ripples of Happiness, for a chance to have their projects selected and financed by the Coca-Cola Foundation, with grants totaling SAR82,500. The process for schools is also underway as orientation sessions are in place, in preparation to announce the teams early April.

Throughout the course of Ripples of Happiness, participating teams will attend a number of training sessions aimed at developing their entrepreneurial and business management skills. The program also includes coaching sessions provided by volunteers from the private sector and the participating universities, on financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship skills, in addition to sharing their experiences of working in the private sector.

As part of the initiative, each team will create a business plan for their project, which will be assessed by a judging panel at the end of the program. Entries will be evaluated based on feasibility, sustainability and social impact.

Commenting on the partnership and the launch of the 9th semester of Ripples of Happiness, Akef Al-Aqrabawi. CEO of INJAZ Al-Arab, said: “We are proud of this unique partnership with the Coco-Cola foundation for several fruitful years. The Ripples of Happiness program has facilitated knowledge transfer to the next generation in a fun, yet challenging environment that teaches students to operate their own projects in the future, while still receiving education.”

Nael Fayez, CEO of INJAZ Saudi Arabia commented: “We are delighted to be working with the Coca-Cola Foundation for the 5th consecutive year in Saudi Arabia, following the resounding success we had over the past years. In a market that has one of the youngest populations in the world, we managed to identify, train and prepare young Saudi entrepreneurs to be able to face some of the main challenges affecting their society today”.

Omar Bennis, Director of Communications and Public Affairs at the Coca-Cola Company Middle East, commented: “We at the Coca-Cola Company are committed to sustainability and developing the communities in which we operate. In partnership with INJAZ Al Arab, we managed to reach out to hundreds of promising young students from selected universities across the region since 2012. Today, we are launching the 9th semester of Ripples of Happiness in Saudi Arabia with INJAZ Saudi Arabia. Building on the success achieved in previous years in this vibrant market, we continue our journey of preparing a young generation of aspiring Saudi entrepreneurs, who are motivated and determined to play a significant role in improving their societies.”

The 9th semester of Ripples of Happiness program, which is set to conclude in May of 2016, will award the first place winner with a SAR37,500 grant, and SAR26,250 and SAR18,750 for second and third places respectively.

When asked about their experience with the program, one of the participants of the 8th semester of Ripples of happiness, said: “Ripples of Happiness has changed my life forever. It gave me a whole new perspective of community work and how each of us can contribute to our society in a positive way. The wealth of information and knowledge I got from the program was unmatched. Today, the very same team who took part in Ripples of Happiness last year is getting together to pursue that same idea even further, and turn it into a real business model. We want to continue what we started; continue the positive work. I would like to thank Coca-Cola Foundation and INJAZ Saudi Arabia, for helping us realize our potential and for motivating us to spread happiness and goodness amongst our community.” 

There were a number of strong submissions last year as part of the Ripples of Happiness campaign in Saudi Arabia that impacted the community in a very positive way. “Ra7at-hom B Edaina” Program, which helps integrate those with special needs into society and “Nothmer”, which promotes story-telling to children and provides them with a friendly environment while encouraging them to read, are just two good examples of many shared.

For more information, visit: www.ripplesofhappiness.com

- ENDS -