The MENA Scholarship Program, now in its fifth year, will bring together future leaders from seven territories, who have been selected from more than 6,000 applicants. Each applicant has earned a unique opportunity to develop their business and social entrepreneurship skills to help realize their business ambitions.  Each of the seven territories participating in the program - Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine, Pakistan and Tunisia – will send 14 students to the Kelley School of Business’ Global Business Institute for their month of rewarding studies.

Yesterday, Coca-Cola Middle East and U.S. Department of State celebrated and welcomed 14 Jordanian and 5 Palestinian aspiring entrepreneurs, chosen for the annual Coca-Cola MENA Scholarship Program in a Pre-Departure Event attended by members of the program as well as alumni, their families and representatives from Coca-Cola Middle East as well as members of the press.   

The entrepreneurs will participate in an intensive accelerated curriculum with faculty members at Kelley School of Business before taking part in a business plan competition to demonstrate the skills learned during the program. Following a month at IU, the students will visit the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington DC. They’ll then travel to Atlanta, Georgia to meet with senior leaders at The Coca-Cola Company’s global headquarters, ending with a visit to the World of Coca-Cola.

This year’s successful scholarship winners were chosen following a rigorous selection process, after they had submitted a business idea to “Make Tomorrow Better” in their home countries.  Applicants contributed more than 6,000 ideas to an online platform which was visited by more than 1.6 million registered users across the globe, who were each able to vote for their favorite concepts.  From a shorter list of 800 ideas, the successful students were chosen by program partners at the US Embassies and Consulates in each of the participating countries.

Talking about the program, Curt Ferguson, Business Unit President at The Coca-Cola Company said “the MENA region has an incredibly young and fast-growing population, and empowering the region’s youth will be essential to ensuring long-term economic and social prosperity.  The Coca-Cola Company has a deep commitment to each of the local communities in which we operate and we are delighted to be welcoming the latest group of young entrepreneurs and their ambitions to “Make Tomorrow Better”.”

Reflecting on Indiana University’s experiences to date, Idie Kesner, Dean of the Kelley School of Business, said “over the past five years we have welcomed almost 400 incredibly talented young people with great vision at Kelley Global Business Institute who we have had the pleasure of both teaching and learning from during our time together. The curriculum has been deliberately designed to expose the students to U.S. business practice and culture, and to build connections across their respective countries, equipping them to compete in a hyper-connected world. We are excited to meet the next generation of future leaders from this vibrant region and to host them here at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, home to one of the most respected entrepreneurship programs in the United States.”

Almost 400 university students have already participated since the initiative first launched in 2012. Program alumni have secured more than 70 further higher education scholarships, with almost 80 scholars reporting to have started their own businesses in diverse fields such as technology, travel and tourism, marketing, hospitality and environmental services.  More than 34,000 aspiring entrepreneurs have applied for the Coca-Cola MENA Scholarship Program over the five years the initiative has run.

Click here to watch our 2015 MENA Scholarship Program winners explain their experiences in their own words.  

We are always honored to sponsor talented young students from around the Middle East region, so they can become leaders and meet the goal of “Making Tomorrow Better” in their home country.

Stay tuned; more success stories are on their way as the talented MENA Scholars continue their journey.

2015 Coke Scholars at the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington D.C. Scholars participated in an interactive session that included an Inspirational Marketplace that had students participate in round-table talks with various entrepreneurs and other industry leaders for interactive discussion.

2015 Coke Scholars hosted by Muhtar Kent, CEO and Chairman of The Coca-Cola Company, at the Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta, GA.

Following the visit to The Company’s headquarters, MENA Scholars, joined by Coca-Cola MENABU President Curt Ferguson, had a chance to visit the World of Coca-Cola where they had the chance to try some of Coca-Cola’s beverages offered all around the world.