Venture Building

Creating the Future We Want

The 6 entry points to disrupting learning and earning in MENA

At BLDR, we view our role as unlocking the potential of the learn to earn cycle across MENA. An estimated 300 million people will join MENA’s workforce over the next 20 years. What region they join will be primarily defined by our ambitions and efforts today. We need less reports and studies, and more people BLDing the future of learning and work. Our region’s labor force is going through a transformation, with workers gaining independence through flexible work, contracting, and freelancing. We believe that the infrastructure supporting this growing class will have to be purpose-built now.

We believe that a venture building approach is the right one for the task at hand. The merits of the venture building approach have been made before, but we also believe that venture building is particularly well-suited to emerging economies.

The best investors typically have an educated view of the potential future lying ahead. They scour their networks for changemakers already working towards that future and conspire with them to create it.

In emerging markets, because of low-talent density and a largely fermented ecosystem, a traditional venture capitalist approach may not work as successfully for the early stages. A venture building approach allows for a more targeted and deliberate approach for idea validation and talent sourcing. With the right incentive structures, a venture builder acting as a professional co-founder, is able to create the right environment for would-be entrepreneurs.

The 6 entry points with disruptive potential

At BLDR, we are as excited about problems as we are about solutions. We believe that truly disruptive potential lies in a clear understanding of the most important problems at hand as entry points to creating change across the ecosystem.

There are multiple entry points towards reinventing the learn to earn cycle. At BLDR, we are particularly excited about 6 entry points:

  • Lack of holistic and humane assessment of learners at all ages
  • Poor provision of early care and lack of relevant resources and support for parents
  • Delivering resilient education in emergency situations
  • Scarcity of high quality content in Arabic(s)
  • Inability to navigate career transitions across the career journey
  • Absence of infrastructure for a regional labor force that is increasingly remote and freelance

We believe that these entry points present the biggest disruptive potential and a great avenue for return on investment - especially for those interested in a triple bottom line of people, profit and planet. They are areas where there is an acute and documented need, but also areas where we believe BLDR has the expertise to support founders to launch companies with disruptive potential.

These problems present the entryways to a better future for people across the region and the globe. And while we do not know what the keys to these entryways are yet, we have developed a principles based framework for what we expect the best solutions to look like:

  • Asset light and can scale to meet the demands of emerging markets
  • Lean heavily on gameful design and human motivation
  • Aligns stakeholder incentives and outcomes
  • Pedagogy first, drawing on the latest advances in the learning sciences
  • Pioneer legal frameworks in white spaces
  • Learn from models in similarly resources environments

While we are excited about these areas and our solutions framework, it is important to underscore that we take a very broad view of learning and earning (and everything in between). At BLDR, we are not constrained by a traditional definition and labels on sectors, but are inspired and energized to work across spaces that will drive the path forward for the future of work and learning. These areas include for example the provision of better childcare across the region. The region will never achieve its full potential unless parents, and especially women, have all the support they need to get back into the workforce and fulfill their potential. Other examples include wage collection - how can we reinvent how people earn their income, and work culture - how do we ensure that people show up to work happy and leave inspired to do more. These are all areas that are ripe and ready for disruption.

We are excited to be on this journey, and above all else are excited to meet fellow BLDRs that are energized by the creative disruption ahead! Apply now and help us learn a bit more about you and your idea.