IJNet Arabic’s Mentoring Center for MENA Media Startups 2018

IJNet Arabic’s Mentoring Center for MENA Media Startups 2018

Deadline: May 31, 2018

Applications are invited for IJNet Arabic’s Mentoring Center for MENA Media Startups 2018. The IJNet Arabic Mentoring Center gives digital media entrepreneurs the skills and resources they need to take their startups to the next level in one of the world’s most challenging regions for journalists.

Entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa participate in a year-long program that includes virtual and in-person training and culminates in a boot camp and conference in Jordan. IJNet awards up to US$4,000 in seed funding to the participants with the most promising projects.

Since 2014, the Mentoring Center has catalyzed a culture of entrepreneurship and independent media across the MENA region. Thirteen of the Mentoring Center’s 23 alumni have been able to sustain their digital media startups beyond their year with the Mentoring Center, while the rest have used the lessons they learned from their experience to pursue new projects.

About the Fellowship

IJNet and a group of experts who serve as the project’s mentors choose 16 semi-finalists from the pool of applicants to participate in a month-long online training seminar that will help them further hone their proposed action plans.

Once the seminar is complete, the mentors select the eight media startups with the best potential for success. The leaders of these eight startups attend a training boot camp where they meet their mentors, additional trainers and guest speakers in Amman. Following the boot camp, mentees attend that year’s Forum for Arab Investigative Journalism, organized by the Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ).

In addition to the boot camp and conference, the eight mentees receive 12 months of intensive, personalized mentoring and networking meetings to address key areas and ensure the growth, sustainability and development of their startups. Mentors visit the mentees at their offices in their home countries.

Mentees invest about five hours per week in the mentoring project, and also commit to:

  • Participating in at least three online meetings with all of the program’s mentors and mentees to discuss common challenges and possible solutions
  • Participating in the training bootcamp
  • Meeting the mentor in person in the mentee’s home country
  • Producing at least four blog posts for IJNet Arabic about the mentoring experience, sharing lessons learned, new skills and useful tools with the wider IJNet community of more than 25,000 journalists who visit IJNet from the region


  • Individuals and organizations with startup media projects in the Middle East and North Africa are eligible to apply to the Mentoring Center.
  • Applicants based outside the region who are originally from MENA may also apply.
  • Applicants must already be working on their existing media startup (including digital or mobile) that targets Arabic-speaking audiences in Middle East and North Africa.
  • Women are strongly encouraged to apply.


Are you working on a digital media startup in the MENA region? Want to take your startup to the next level? Apply to IJNet Arabic’s Mentoring Center to gain hands-on training.

  • May 31, 2018: Application deadline
  • June 9, 2018: Sixteen semi-finalists selected
  • June 10-14, 2018: Semi-finalists participate in virtual pitching session
  • June 30, 2018: Eight finalists selected
  • July – August 2018: Mentees complete in-person visits with mentors
  • Nov. 29 – Dec. 3, 2018: Mentoring Center boot camp / ARIJ conference in Amman, Jordan
  • March 2019: Seed funding awarded

Applications must include:

  • An overview of tangible goals the mentoring project will help to achieve
  • An explanation of the expertise, tools and skills needed to realize the stated goals
  • Links to the startup’s website and social media accounts
  • An outline of the plan they are following to sustain and grow their startup in bullet point form

To apply, click here to view the application form.

For more information, visit IJNet Arabic’s Mentoring Center.