The Jordanian Entrepreneurship Ecosystem
A Dynamic Start
Jordan has a highly educated and skilled workforce, as well as a pool of dormant entrepreneurial talent ready to showcase their ideas to the world. Realizing the insufficient amount of jobs in the “traditional” sector, Jordanian public and private actors have maneuvered to create one of the fastest growing entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region. The creation of the Ministry of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship, as well as the establishment of renown incubators such as Oasis 500 and ShamalStart, have led Jordan’s rank in the Global Entrepreneurship Index to rise from 72 to 49 in 4 years, out of 137 countries.
In recent years, the Jordanian entrepreneurial ecosystem has been carried by incredible success stories, stemming from a very diverse group of founders. Start-ups such as Maktoob, Souq.com, Arabia Weather, Mawdoo3, and more recently Ureed and Abwab have placed Jordan and Jordanian founders as pioneers of innovation in the region. The fact that Jordanian start-ups are often at the forefront of technological and market trends is no surprise: 94% of Jordanian start-up founders have at least a BA degree, and 91% of them already had professional experience before launching their venture. It is understandable then that, according to a World Bank Survey, “Jordan outperforms the Arab region in product innovation, technology absorption, competition, startup skills, and cultural support indicators”
More than anything, the creation of new resources for entrepreneurs in Jordan has been a flagship attribute of the ecosystem’s development. Whether it be in the areas of funding, incubation or mentoring, initiatives have sprung up accross Jordan to support rising levels of entrepreneurship. Incubators such as HASSAD, which specializes in agricultural technology (agritech) have been quintessential for diversifying the Jordanian start-up ecosystem’s offering. For a list of all those resources, check out this infographic made by TTI, a non-profit Jordanian organization, founded in 2010 with the mission of spreading entrepreneurship and innovation culture among youth and women living in disadvantaged communities.
A Path Forward
However, the Jordanian ecosystem is not void of problems. In her insightful piece “How to get Jordan’s entrepreneurship back on track”, Endeavour Jordan’s Managing Director Rasha Manna delivers a succinct and constructive analysis of the challenges the ecosystem faces. Manna’s argument revolves around a multitude of suggestions such as building a bottom-up ecosystem, clarifying the legal/regulatory environment and emphasizing that Jordan should not seek to duplicate Silicon Valley. Manna insists on finding the priorities and strengths pertaining to Jordan, mapping out a clear plan, and carrying it out. Manna’s points are a testament to the desire Jordanian entrepreneurs have to truly optimize their country’s resources to make Jordan a beacon of innovation in the region.
Who are we?
GrowHome is a social media platform connecting diasporas to entrepreneurs back home. The problem we’re trying to solve is twofold: on one hand, diasporas often gain professional and financial resources abroad which they want to share with people back home, but they have no easy way to do so. On the other hand, entrepreneurs in emerging countries have incredible talent, but lack access to business opportunities. On GrowHome, diasporas can mentor, collaborate and fund entrepreneurs from their home countries. Through the social media interface, diasporas can do what we call “impact tracking” by seeing updates from the entrepreneurs they help directly on their feed.
We are launching our BETA product in Jordan and Palestine. Visit our website www.growhome.app and sign up for our BETA waiting list, either as a diaspora or an entrepreneur.
Listen to our podcasts on Spotify.
“Turning brain drain into brain gain” — GrowHome