IJNet Arabic's Mentoring Center for MENA Startups Opens for its Ninth Year

By: 06/08/2022

Are you a journalist based in the Middle East and North Africa? Are you eager to develop your own news media startup in a sustainable way? We have good news for you: Our IJNet Arabic Mentoring Center is now accepting applications for its ninth year and it's quite easy to apply. Just click here.

Since 2014, with the support of the National Endowment for Democracy, the MENA Mentoring Center has worked with dozens of professional and citizen journalists in the region to help them grow their media outlets.

During the program, two expert mentors work one-on-one with participants to guide them in developing a media and business plan, launching campaigns, and developing strategic services and content. Participants will be trained on producing written and visual content, in addition to digital marketing, social media, and other key aspects of digital entrepreneurship. They will also build valuable regional connections through the program.

In fall 2022, mentees attend a two-day training boot camp alongside the annual Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ) Forum. This will occur either in Jordan or remotely, depending on the ability to travel due to COVID-19.

By the program’s end, participants will be better positioned to mold their media projects to fit their respective markets and needs. Mentees’ understanding of their audience and identification of their competition will further assist these efforts. In April 2023, ICFJ will award seed funding to mentees and their projects, based on engagement during the program and a final pitch session.

Program overview:

Jun 8 - Jul 11, 2022: Call for applications is open

Jul 18, 2022: ICFJ selects 12 semifinalists who will receive one month of training in preparation for a pitch session with ICFJ's mentors. 

Aug 2022: Based on engagement during the training and the pitch session, ICFJ will select six mentees to join the IJNet Arabic Mentoring Center in its 2022-23 cohort. Each finalist will undergo a final interview with program mentors to determine their candidacy for the program.

Sep 2022 - Apr 2023: Six participants are trained and receive one-on-one mentorship to develop their projects/startups

Nov/Dec 2022: Mentees attend a two-day boot camp alongside the ARIJ Forum

Apr 2023: Eligible participants will be invited to apply for seed funding.

Due to COVID-19, ICFJ isn't sure whether program travel will take place. If not, the program will be fully offered virtually. Participants will be expected to approach this year’s program with flexibility as pertains to all travel.

Program conditions and participant commitments

  • Participants must be free for at least five hours per week to pursue their project with mentors.
  • Participants must commit to all program stages, including attending the training boot camp, ARIJ conference, and personal meetings with the mentors.
  • Participants will be asked to write articles about the skills, lessons, and new knowledge they obtained during the program, which will be published on IJNet Arabic.
  • Participants are expected to complete surveys regarding the mentorship and program activities
  • Participants are not expected to participate in another program or similar fellowship while connected to Mentoring Center

How to apply:

The application must include:

  • An overview of the goals that the Mentoring Center will help to achieve
  • An explanation of the expertise, tools, and skills necessary to achieve these goals
  • Links to the media startup’s website and/or social media accounts
  • An overview of general plans to sustain and grow the media startup

The program is open to digital entrepreneurs from all Arab countries, and projects targeting the MENA region. IJNet encourages women in particular to apply.

Final date to apply: July 11, 2022.

To apply (in Arabic), click here.

Latest News

Advice for Journalists Forced Into Exile

IJNet’s Exiled Media Toolkit, developed in collaboration with the Network of Exiled Media Outlets (NEMO), features advice from journalists with first-hand knowledge of the challenges exiled journalists face. It includes tips on how exiled outlets can remain relevant to their audiences, how to measure their impact from exile – which can be especially difficult under an authoritarian regime – and the importance of maintaining a network of journalists in-country. The resource package also includes case studies of exiled journalists from Myanmar, Russia and Nicaragua, which shed light on the paths taken by three different outlets to establish themselves abroad, each amid uniquely trying circumstances.

Exiled But Not Silenced: Russian Journalists Receive Training, Support to Continue Independent Reporting

It has never been easy to operate as an independent journalist in Vladimir Putin’s Russia. But following the country’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, journalists face even greater challenges and threats.

Tips for Covering the Republican and Democratic National Conventions

"Even though there's a zillion other reporters running around, and even though the conventions are very scripted, and [...] even though our access as reporters may in some ways be more limited than the past, I'm very curious to see what [they] look like,” said Craig Gilbert, political columnist and former Washington Bureau Chief at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, during an IJNet Crisis Reporting Forum session.