About Jacob Korenblum
Jacob Korenblum is a respected leader in the field of enterprise digital strategy. For over 15 years, he has led the design and launch of digital solutions for real-world challenges in markets across Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. His work has been featured by leading media outlets, including The Financial Times, Forbes, Devex and Scientific American. Korenblum currently lives in Toronto, Ontario, where he enjoys sailing.
A career in Social Initiatives and Innovation
From the beginning of his career, Korenblum focused on social justice and aid programs worldwide. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree, Korenblum started working for the Education Development Center in Washington, D.C., a non-profit organization with a global reach. EDC helps create solutions that improve the lives of families worldwide, improving work opportunities, educational programs and health services for people in 80 countries.
At EDC, Jacob Korenblum quickly advanced to a leadership position, taking on the role of director of monitoring and evaluation and communications for a project in the Middle East. He lived and worked in the Middle East for several years.
After concluding his work for EDC, Jacob accepted a position at OXFAM, another well-known non-profit. This international NPO helps over 25 million people annually, developing programs to support gender equality, economic opportunities and climate action globally. From 2008 to 2010, Korenblum visited impoverished areas in Malawi, India, Haiti and Kenya to assist with important economic initiatives. During this time, he worked as a team leader for various microenterprise assessment projects and mobile technology projects.
Foundation of a New Social Enterprise
During his time in the Middle East in the early 2000s, Korenblum noticed a surprising situation that presented both an obstacle and opportunity for greater economic freedom in the region: the lack of internet access. For many families in Palestine, in particular, obtaining reliable internet service was out of the question due to limited network coverage and excessive costs. At the same time, Jacob Korenblum realized that about 80% of residents had mobile devices.
This situation was the same in countless developing countries around the world. Mobile device adoption was high even though internet availability was low. In 2005, Korenblum co-founded an NPO called Souktel, from the Arabic words for “telephone” and “market.” This social venture aimed to connect job seekers with employers using SMS instead of the internet.
Through Souktel, Korenblum helped thousands of mobile device users in Palestine to connect with local employment opportunities. For over ten years, he helped the social venture become a trusted partner in many countries, supporting over 500,000 users in some 30 nations. The organization also partnered to launch various social programs, from helping communities get local free legal advice to empowering women in the Middle East to pursue work outside the home.
A Digital Career Focus
In 2018, Jacob Korenblum shifted his career focus from non-profit management to the governmental and private sectors. From 2018 to 2021, Korenblum managed digital policy development for the Government of Ontario. In this role, he helped the Ontario Digital Service develop policies that supported the delivery of simpler, faster, better digital services to Ontarians–including COVID services that came to be used across Canada.
Korenblum graduated from the University of Toronto in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations. In 2005, the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation awarded Korenblum a Fellowship in Social Enterprise at Harvard University. In 2006, Korenblum completed the master’s degree program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He obtained a Master of Education Degree focusing on social enterprise and international education policy.
Korenblum has advised the UNESCO Pearson Digital Literacy Initiative and published work for UNICEF. Similarly, he served as an advisory board member for the Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit from 2016 to 2018.
For over four years, Jacob Korenblum has served as a strategic advisor to The Global Citizens’ Initiative, a worldwide organization with members that cooperate to promote causes related to human rights, sustainability, climate protection, conflict resolution and other humanitarian goals.
Korenblum continues to care about global social issues and enjoys using his time, experience and entrepreneurial knowledge to benefit small business owners and communities worldwide.