Meet Scholars - Founder and CEO Islam Dahliz

Competition to acquire scholarships is fierce. Students all over the world vie for the opportunity to attend prestigious universities, get accepted to groundbreaking programs, and acquire the skills needed to become high-level professionals. However, the first step is picking out a scholarship and filling out the application, which can in many cases either make or break a students’ opportunity at fulfilling their academic potential.

In order to assist students on their academic journey to find the perfect scholarship and receive the guidance to submit the most competitive applications, Gaza based Islam Dahliz, founded Meet Scholars. Meet Scholars is not only an innovative approach to applying for scholarships, it is currently one of the first advisory platforms available in the MENA region. 

The idea for Meet Scholars emerged from Islam’s very own experience applying for scholarships, he says, “Five years ago, I started applying for scholarships, but all my applications failed because I did not do it the right way, I tried to look for help on scholarship announcement boards and on Facebook, but I still didn’t do well.” Islam realized that many other applicants faced similar problems, and decided to do something about it. 

“Applying for scholarships can be a very tedious and time-consuming process, after doing a lot of research and having people fill in a very long questionnaire, we found that seventy percent of scholarship applicants are unfamiliar with scholarship requirements,” explains Islam. He continues, “Sixty percent are looking for help on social media and ninety percent cannot find experienced individuals to review their applications.” 

Meet Scholars works by connecting scholarship applicants with mentors who are skilled professionals in a range of fields and have successfully applied for scholarships in the past. The mentors review applications as well as all relevant supporting documents ‘to increase the applicant’s chances of getting the scholarships they apply for.’ The Meet Scholars platform currently features an extensive selection of localized scholarships, consultation services, document reviews, and mentorship sessions. 

Potential applicants simply visit the Meet Scholars dedicated website, and then pick a scholarship that best suits their needs. Applicants can then select from over nine dedicated mentors, book a session, pay the fees, and finally attend the session. “This process helps you make sure your application and documents are correct and good quality, to give you the best chance to be successful.” explains Islam. 

The Meet Scholars team includes, CEO Islam Dahliz, who has five years’ experience in the scholarship industry as the founder of studentships.co. Islam's notable achievements includes helping over 300 (and counting) applicants in the MENA region receiving an estimated $1.5 million in education scholarships. In addition, CTO and full stack developer, Faisal Hijazi, has over five years’ experience working in software development and has contributed to some of the largest technical products in the MENA region. 

The market for scholarships is huge. There are millions of applicants originating from the MENA region alone, these applicants require professional support while applying for scholarships. Islam explains that based on his research, applicants are willing to pay up to 300 USD on average for help with their scholarship applications.  

Meet Scholars is currently targeting MENA students especially from Palestine and Jordan, who are between the ages of 18 to 36 years of age, and are on the search for the best scholarship opportunities ‘to fund their studies.’ In order to expand their outreach, Meet Scholars organizes dedicated scholarship events, as well as utilizing various social media platforms to help students get the scholarships they need. 

What makes Meet Scholars unique is their comprehensive approach to providing scholarship applicants throughout the MENA region with the best opportunities to achieve success. Ali elaborates, “Our competitors connect people with scholarships. But we are unique because we connect scholarship applicants with people who have a proven track record in scholarship applications. Also, we are targeting the whole MENA region and they only target Egypt.” In addition, Meet Scholars offers users various payment options, including Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, and Cash on Demand.  

Although launched in August of 2018, Meet Scholars has managed to gain considerable traction, reaching around 3,000 potential clients in the past two months, and earning a revenue of 4,000 USD. Keeping up with this momentum, Islam maintains that Meet Scholars will effectively reach 70,000 users, and acquire a total revenue of 100,000 USD. To further break this down, Meet Scholars takes 30% commission per every transaction, and charges 35 USD per mentoring hour, 50 – 100 USD for full document reviews, 10 USD per file. 

At this stage Meet Scholars is looking to secure 110,000 USD, which will be directed towards product development, including new features, UX design, database development and research. 90,000 USD will be used to launch social media campaigns, partnerships as well as analyzing markets. The remainder 20,000 USD will go towards maintaining operations, in terms of salaries and equipment. Meet Scholars is also focusing on expanding their outreach and breaking into markets in Jordan and eventually throughout the MENA Region. 

In terms of impact, Islam had this to say, “I hope to help every scholarship applicant in the MENA region, especially Palestinians to get accepted in one of the external scholarships to achieve their dreams completing their higher education." As an avid entrepreneur Islam believes that supporting entrepreneurship is a great way to create job opportunities for thousands of Palestinians and put the spotlight on the passion, innovation and talent emerging from Palestine. 

To learn more, visit http://www.meetscholars.net/en
 

Written by
Leila Farraj
- Palestine
Leila Farraj, key expert in Startup and Business Development, works towards achieving MENACatalyst’s overall goal to strengthen collaborations between diaspora investors and local business start... Leila Profile
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