Applying Entrepreneurial Solutions to Social Problems: How Karim Abouelnaga is Bridging the Educational Achievement Gap
New Lavin speaker Karim Abouelnaga knows firsthand how tough it is to attend school when you’re impoverished—let alone excel. “So much of our education reform is driven by a sympathetic approach instead of an empathetic approach,” he says. “Someone who has grown up in this environment can say, ‘I know the adversities that you’re facing and I want to help you overcome them.’” With his summer learning program, Practice Makes Perfect, Abouelnaga is doing just that. He demonstrates how in his galvanizing talks.
Empathy is also the motivating force behind Karim Abouelnaga’s inspiring, urgent keynotes. His TED Talk, named one of the Best of 2017 by Business Insider, shows his ability to meld empathy with action and business with social change. Yes, he’s a Forbes “30 Under 30”-minted entrepreneur, but as the founder and CEO of Practice Makes Perfect, (the stunningly effective summer mentorship program he founded at age 18), Abouelnaga strives to alleviate the educational achievement gap, which sees underpriveleged students struggling to keep up with their peers, sometimes losing months of progress over the summer holidays. As he tells his audiences, Practice Makes Perfect offers an antidote to that loss by providing free, accessible summer programming that returns participants to school ahead of their classmates.
In his talks, which span educational reform, leadership skills, and entrepreneurship, Abouelnaga shares his methods for building a structure around a project you believe in—a scaffold to help it grow more powerful, as he did with Practice Makes Perfect. Listening to him speak, it’s clear that Abouelnaga is one of his own success stories.