The Little Engineer Moving with the Flow
After noting the harmful effects that video games were having on her tech-savvy son’s behavior, Lebanese engineer and entrepreneur Rana El Chemaitelly decided it was time to leverage that technology expertise into a less violent vehicle: a robot.
Her son’s immediate fascination with the device served as a call to action for Rana, a VV GROW Fellow, GAP Mentee, and VV 100 Member. If she could positively transform the way her son used technology, what was holding her back from doing the same for other young people? From this idea, The Little Engineer was born, an “edutainment” center that invests in young minds and enables them to unleash their full potential in STEM fields through hands-on/minds-on learning.
Rana has now expanded The Little Engineer to over thirty countries, exposing participants and educators to the latest innovations and technological tools needed to excel in the STEM field through their products, services, and hands-on class solutions. It offers an “open space,” where children are able to “have fun while building skills like creativity and problem solving—” skills that she recognizes are “not necessarily addressed in the classroom.” In order to provide applicable content for all of their students, The Little Engineer develops their own curriculum, customizing it to fit different cultures and countries by “aligning with the vision of leaders to inspire and aspire youth to contribute in building their countries.”
After partnering with Airbus Foundation in 2012, The Little Engineer was able to create two additional STEM education programs for young people in twelve different countries across the Middle East and North Africa, impacting over 27,000 students till October 2019. These programs focus on aviation and space industries, and “gave [The Little Engineer] wings to fly globally.” When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and made their model of hands-on learning appear out of reach, Rana was able to quickly adapt their programs to an online format. During the pandemic, The Little Engineer also developed a free online program to involve their other partners, fine-tuned the content of their B2B STEM solutions, and launched an online store—all to promote the continued involvement of young minds in STEM, despite challenging circumstances.
Rana has displayed her strong ability to adapt her business in other regards as well, including relocating from Lebanon to Dubai to protect her company’s assets. Although this abrupt change was difficult, as a woman leader and fierce entrepreneur, Rana is committed to continually moving forward, reflecting, and repositioning.
To learn more about Rana and her business, follow her on social media, or check out her website.