About Jacob Korenblum
A renowned figure in the field of enterprise digital strategy, Jacob Korenblum has accumulated over 15 years of experience in devising and implementing digital solutions to tackle real-world problems, particularly in regions like Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. His groundbreaking work has caught the attention of major media entities, including The Financial Times, Forbes, Devex, and Scientific American. He finds his home in Toronto, Ontario, where he indulges in his sailing hobby.
Career in Social Initiatives and Innovation
His professional journey has marked a deep commitment to social justice and international aid. After completing his undergraduate degree, he embarked on a career at the Education Development Center in Washington, D.C., an organization known for its global outreach. Here, he played a pivotal role in crafting solutions that improved the quality of life in 80 countries, focusing on enhancing job opportunities, education, and health services.
He quickly established himself as a key figure at the Education Development Center, taking on the role of director of monitoring, evaluation, and communications for a project based in the Middle East. This position required him to spend several years in the region. After his successful tenure there, he joined OXFAM, an internationally recognized non-profit organization. At OXFAM, which annually aids over 25 million people, he focused on promoting gender equality, economic opportunities, and climate action. Between 2008 and 2010, he was involved in vital projects in Malawi, India, Haiti, and Kenya, overseeing microenterprise assessments and mobile technology initiatives.
Foundation of a New Social Enterprise
During his time in the Middle East in the early 2000s, he revealed a critical issue: the widespread lack of internet access, a barrier to economic advancement. Particularly in Palestine, families faced challenges accessing reliable internet due to limited network coverage and high costs. Yet, he observed that mobile device ownership was shared, a trend mirrored in many developing countries. In response, in 2005, he co-founded the NPO Souktel, named from the Arabic words for "telephone" and "market." Souktel's mission was to facilitate connections between job seekers and employers using SMS technology, bypassing internet access.
Jacob Korenblum's work with Souktel was transformative, helping thousands in Palestine and beyond to access employment through mobile devices. Over more than ten years, he guided the organization to significant growth, expanding its reach to around 30 countries and aiding over 500,000 users. The organization also initiated social projects, offering free legal advice and encouraging women's employment in the Middle East.
A Digital Career Focus
In 2018, he transitioned his focus from non-profit to governmental and private sector roles. Until 2021, he played a crucial role in shaping digital policy for the Government of Ontario, assisting the Ontario Digital Service in developing policies that improved digital service delivery, including essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic, adopted widely across Canada.
He graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations in 2004. The following year, the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation at Harvard University awarded him a Fellowship in Social Enterprise. He then completed his Master of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2006, specializing in social enterprise and international education policy.
His contributions include advising the UNESCO Pearson Digital Literacy Initiative and authoring works for UNICEF. He also served on the advisory board of the Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit from 2016 to 2018.
For over four years, he has been a strategic advisor to The Global Citizens' Initiative, working to promote human rights, sustainability, climate protection, conflict resolution, and various humanitarian endeavors.
Continuously engaged in global social issues, Jacob Korenblum applies his extensive experience and entrepreneurial skills to support the growth and development of small businesses and communities worldwide.