As the Syrian conflict enters its 7th year, thousands of Syrians have been forced to flee their homes for refuge in other countries. Since November 2015, Canada has resettled 40,000 Syrian refugees into Canada. Jusoor’s Fifth Annual Global Conference focuses on Canada’s response to the Syrian crisis.

The conference takes place on October 14th, 2017 at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. It includes a disruptor labs competition focused on developing innovative solutions to challenges facing refugees in Canada and internationally.

Entrepreneurs, developers and innovators are invited to submit their digital or technology driven solutions to challenges faced by resettled refugee communities today.

Applicants must submit their applications online and must have at least reached the prototype phase. Finalists will present their work at the conference and compete for innovation awards in three categories of Education and Learning, Career and Economic Development, and Policy Disruption.

The Labs are split into the main verticals:

  • Education and Learning
    • A generation of youth is bound to be lost forever as they slip into an education gap. Children have been denied the right to primary school and teens to university. Education is the surest way to economic prosperity, dignity, and long-term wellbeing. What are innovators doing to disrupt what is already being done to bridge the gap refugees are facing? This is not about increasing funding or capacity for existing methods to educate refugees per se. This is about finding existing methods, their flaws and inefficiencies, and then disrupting them. What disruptive minds out there are tackling this issue and what have they come up with?
  • Career and Economic Development
    • Career success is empowerment, for an individual and her or his entire family. When persons are displaced from their homes and countries, whether it’s a limbo period in refugee camps, or slipping into poverty upon resettlement in another country, refugees face hardships economically and find it extremely challenging to shatter the barrier of steel. We’ve seen a great deal of government programs and community initiatives to help displaced persons stand up on their feet and make ends meet; whether they are job boards, mentorship programs, or resume workshops. What more can be done? Who is thinking outside the box?
  • Policy Disruption
    • Entrepreneurship is bottom-up. And it works. Policy, on the other hand, is top-down. It works too. Whether it’s disrupting the policy framework in refugee camps or changing the policies in host governments, the inner spark of a refugee will remain forever in the darkness if policies are not supportive. How do we evaluate policies that are favorable to refugees? How can we come up with result-oriented policies that bring about immediate change and how do we ensure they are implemented?

Qualifying teams of applicants will be invited to present their projects to a panel of judges from various disciplines, and a room full of conference participants. Four finalist teams will be selected for this final phase of the competition in each category.

After presenting and taking questions from the jury, the winners will be chosen based on a combined score from the jury and conference participants’ voting outcomes. Winners will receive $5,000 in each of the first two categories, and will qualify for support in the areas of mentorship, office space, and networking.

Applications can be completed at https://jusoorsyria.com/disruptor-labs/

Emerging entrepreneurs, tech developers, visionaries and innovators with projects in early stages of conception and development to projects with track record and readiness to scale are encouraged to apply. More information on the conference can be found at https://jusoorsyria.com/fifth-annual-global-conference/