|Shads Break Through with Social Entrepreneurship
A love of social entrepreneurship and the desire to make a difference – that's what drives brothers Ilyes and Yassir El Ouarzadi. Still in their early twenties, they have accomplished more than many people twice their age and, together, launched MOMENTUM Magazine and Youth Network dedicated to social change. Their initial exposure to entrepreneurship happened at Shad Valley just one year after they moved to Quebec from Morocco.
In Morocco, both Ilyes and Yassir wrote for a youth magazine, but didn't find one in Quebec. With their newfound grasp of entrepreneurship from Shad Valley, they decided to start their own, and MOMENTUM was born. Written in English, French, Spanish and Arabic, MOMENTUM is a forum for youth to discuss global issues and how to have an impact on them. In addition to the magazine, there is an online social network to exchange ideas, experiences and opinions.
Ilyes says, "I'm passionate about developing my own projects and I value the connections made with like-minded people through MOMENTUM and the many other social change organizations where I have worked. I just completed my undergraduate degree in finance and international business and now plan to grow MOMENTUM while I pursue a career in global consulting. We want to publish the magazine more frequently, plus help connect aspiring entrepreneurs to mentors."
Both brothers are Millennium Excellence Scholars and participated in the fourth and fifth World Youth Congress in Quebec and Istanbul, the One Young World Summit in Zurich and, most recently, the 2012 Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Liverpool. One of Ilyes' most recent projects is sitting on the finance committee of the Laval Youth Forum, which is a provincially funded organization that evaluates youth's entrepreneurship projects and provides funding. Yassir is the treasurer and head of finance for SPECQUE, the largest international French-speaking simulation of the European Parliament.
Yassir adds, "To start MOMENTUM, we obtained a Millennium Grant and built a team of volunteers around the world. It's great because, with technology, it's possible to collaborate online. We come in contact with many inspiring new people and ideas. Entrepreneurship has become our way of life, and a way to give back to the community. Next, with my Bachelor of Law (LL.B.) completed, I am embarking on my career in the legal field as I'm working to expand the footprint of MOMENTUM."
Finding solutions to community and global problems is at the heart of what motivates Ilyes and Yassir. They believe that youth have an important part to play in making positive changes in society and that even small actions matter. Involvement in programs that support these values and nurture innovative thinking have helped advance the twins to where they are now. The future is wide open as they pursue their paths of excellence and strive to make an impact on the world around them.