A popular Sudanese television network will shortly broadcast the country’s first Apprentice-style reality show, reported The Guardian on Saturday.
The new show, titled Mashrouy - Arabic for “my project”- will be featured on the Blue Nile television network and is courting Abda Yahia el-Mahdi, a former finance minister, as one of its judges.
The show revolves around 12 young Sudanese entrepreneurs who will pitch and develop their ideas for a start-up firm over the course of several episodes.
The dozen hopefuls will be mentored by four leading Sudanese businesspeople and economists, before the group is whittled down through a series of eliminations.
Viewers will then vote on a winner from the shortlist.
Sudan is no stranger to reality TV shows but the concept of a business oriented show is novel, according to Mahir Elfiel, one of the show’s co-coordinators.
“We have stuff like American Idol, but nothing business-oriented like Apprentice or Dragons Den. No TV station has done this before,” said Elfiel.
“Even the term ‘creative entrepreneurship’ is new in Sudan.”
“There was no specific word for it before. And that's the idea behind the whole project – to introduce the concept here,” Elfiel added.
Sudan is home to a youth unemployment rate of 34 percent. This was a contributing factor in the recent anti-government demonstrations, in which more than 200 protesters were killed.
“If we can duplicate this kind of program, I hope it will make a difference. It will help people get beyond the traditional thinking of getting employment in the government sector,” Mahdi said, in reference to the traditional cure for youth unemployment in the country – employment in a government ministry.
The show’s contestants include Mustafa Shaib, a hacker who wants his company to focus exclusively on internet security, and English teacher Yassim Gasim, who wants to export spicy peanut butter – a popular Sudanese delicacy.
The project was organized by the British Council, the British Embassy, and the Sudanese Young Businessmen’s Association with Sudani telecommunication company as the main sponsor.