By Salma Merhebi
Scholarships are gifts to help youth reach their desired opportunities such as pursuing their education, experiencing new programs or attending different events. They represent free money to avoid taking out loans and to remove the financial barriers from your dream path. There are a lot of scholarships and grants out there, estimated to 2 millions per year, offered by governments, schools, individuals, private companies, religious communities, and other organizations and foundations. They can be merit based, or based on academic achievement, social distinction, athletic ability or a special talent, or interest. Other scholarships are geared toward particular groups of people; for instance, persons in financial need, women, refugees or residents of a specific country. A scholarship might fund the entire cost of your target opportunity, or it might be a partial fund. Anyhow, it’s worth applying for, because it takes away some of the financial concerns. With so much diversity among scholarships you’ll get the impression that getting a scholarship is not a big deal, right? Although, a lot of problems are encountered by students looking for scholarships, internships or aid, and they are countless to list. Starting from getting confused and lost between scholarships ressources, to discovering the suitable opportunity for the applicant, until getting through the painful application procedure with the required steps and documents. The whole process of preparing, searching and applying for scholarships needs a considerable amount of time and effort and is a real tough task. What if all these problems could have been solved in one place? Yes, MARJ3 is the key towards earning your scholarship or reaching the opportunity you crave for!
MARJ3(SAE) is an online platform connecting students and graduates to scholarships, opportunities and universities around the world. www.marj3.com provides information about programs, scholarships, internships and registration for universities. It offers a list of opportunities with simple and informative explanation-for free-using AI matching and advanced filtration in both languages Arabic and English. Moreover, it publishes articles with defined steps about studying abroad and getting prepared to apply for scholarships. This website targets mainly MENA citizens, as the major issue in this region is that youth are unaware of the available opportunities or they don’t know that they’re eligible for some of them! Marj3 presents other services such as:
-Marj3 Newsletter: Subscribing to receive the latest opportunities by email or by starting a conversation with Marj3 bot.
-Online Consultancy for scholarship applications and studying abroad: Connecting scholarships seekers with consultants and alumni, to guide them through the application process and to review their scholarship documents and essays.
-University Registration: Registering students in universities to study abroad.
-Marj3 Events & Workshops: Holding events for youth to make them aware about opportunities and their different requirements (Personal Statement, Essay, Recommendation Letter… etc.) with well recognized speakers.
Marj3 was conceived in 2016 and was born from the common goal of the three Co-founders Sami Al-Ahmad, Ahmed El-Gebaly and Abdullah Samy to help youth pursue their education and get better career opportunities. After Sami Al-Ahmad relocated to Cairo due to the Syrian war in 2012, he experienced the hardship to find a scholarship. He tried to help Syrian refugees study and work in Egypt. Meanwhile, Abdullah Sami and Ahmed El-Gebaly were assisting youth in Egypt to prepare for their professional life. The trio combined their shared interests by founding Marj3.
The founders faced hardships, especially in the beginning when they were only three to do all the work and didn't have enough funds to hire some candidates to help them. Moreover, the biggest challenge was to establish a successful and lasting business model, although, they succeed in confronting them and making their startup one of the largest databases of scholarships, with more than 8 thousand opportunities available and around 2.5 million visits per month. Due to their solidarity and hard work, Marj3 has been ranked the scholarship platform #1 over the MENA Region according to Alexa ranking. Additionally, Marj3 and Marj3 founders have won different awards like: Startup Of The Year 2018 by GEN Egypt, 25 UNDER 25 from Startup Scene and Public Award From Hona El shabab Season 2 CBC Entrepreneurship Competition. Even though they still have bigger ambitions to make Marj3 the platform with a step-by-step process to teach any student how to develop his skills. They want to make it eventually a large database for all youth with information about their education and career goals.
All these outstanding achievements couldn’t have been reached without the Marj3 interns. Marj3’s internship is a training program held every four months, where 100 interns are selected from around the globe (14 different countries). They help in preparing the opportunities on the website and in Marj3 events, and they get in return professional training to enhance their communication and presentation skills and to help them get the scholarship they want through useful coaching on the application process, especially tips for writing a proper recommendation and cover letter. These interns become the ambassadors of Marj3 in their countries and transfer their knowledge to their communities to help other youth finding a suitable opportunity and to achieve Marj3’s goal: Matching the right person with the right bursary.
Marj3 connects scholarship seekers to learning and development opportunities, making education more accessible by few clicks. By taking away some of the concerns such as: “How do I find opportunities?”, "How will I pay for it“ and How do I apply for scholarships?” takes a huge weight off of youth shoulders, where they can concentrate and focus on what they really want and get on their way to achieving their further dreams.
“The education sector is a complex marketplace that keeps on progressing and improving every day. To ensure your endeavor grows and becomes successful it’s crucial to know your targeted audiences who will benefit from your services. Think creatively of the customer and your products and change your strategies continuously to fit the developing learning methods. You know, the world keeps expanding in complexity and change seems to come at the speed of light. Governments cannot follow the pace of our world’s massive changes and that's where the startups' role appears. Startups are meant to create advancements in impacting human progression. They contribute directly to job creation and economic diversity. If you have a plan to execute your idea into startup you should keep in mind that age, education level or place doesn't matter. You can tackle the biggest challenges if you understand the field you’re working in and if you have the required courage. You should expect failure and be ready for the risk. Hopefully, you’ll celebrate success at the end and taste the victory of impacting the world.” - Says Abdullah Samy (COO & Co-Founder of Marj3), as an advice for anyone willing to launch his startup and especially in the EdTech sector.