#MeetTheMB100 – Roberta Ventura, Founder & CEO, SEP Jordan
Posted on June 10 2021
Meaningful Business (MB:) Please tell us a bit about your background.
Roberta Ventura (RV:) I am an Italian with a lifelong passion for the Middle East. Formerly an investment manager, I became a social entrepreneur when it became apparent that the knowledge and experience I accumulated in my twenty years in the City could be put to use to help others.
MB: What led you to start SEP Jordan?
RV: During the twenty years I worked in the Asset Management sector, my husband and I donated to various NGOs supporting refugees, mainly Palestinian refugees. During the same timeframe, we observed how quality of life in refugee camps across the Middle East had actually been deteriorating. So, in 2013 we decided to take the matter into our own hands with a project, designed to become a brand and to demonstrate that the private sector can and must get involved when the emergency is over.
By working with talented individuals who happen to be refugees, we hope to bring thousands above the poverty line and restore their dignity and inspire others to do the same.
MB: What is the main problem you are trying to solve?
RV: Evidence shows that once you become a refugeee, you are likely to remain a refugee – and so are your children – and their children too. If we stick to the way we are collectively approaching “refugees” then millions of people, generation after generation, are doomed to depend on charitable aid and face clinical depression. This is a cycle we aim to break at SEP.
Roberta Ventura (left), Founder & CEO, SEP Jordan, with a refugee artist
MB: What is your biggest challenge right now?
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