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Entrepreneurs to rebuild post-coronavirus economy, says virtual roundtable

By Maria Weldali - May 20,2020 - Last updated at May 20,2020

AMMAN — The Abdul Hameed Shoman Cultural Forum during a virtual roundtable on Tuesday focused on rebuilding the post-coronavirus economy by using innovation as a tool, in order to move forward amid the current challenges imposed by the pandemic.

The virtual session, moderated by the Executive Director of Legatum Centre for Development and Entrepreneurship Dina H. Sherif, was live-streamed on the foundation’Facebook page.

It is crucial to move to holistic actions focusing on innovation, aiming to address the needs of different communities, CEO of Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation Valentina Kassisieh said during the virtual conversation which was held with the participation of representatives of the MIT Sloan School of Management.

“Using traditional methods to recover is no longer an option and we must take different approaches,” Kassisieh further said. 

COViD-19 has changed the world and people are facing a totally different situation and “while many of us are focused on the medical crisis, it is becoming increasingly clear that the economic crisis is going to be equally as important and challenging,” Senior Lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Management School Philip Budden said.

Budden also gave insights from the Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programme (MIT REAP), which is geared towards bringing innovation driven entrepreneurship to over 50 regions worldwide.

“We need to look no further than the next generation of global innovators who believe that the best way to have inclusive impact is through entrepreneurship that comes by generating entrepreneurial activities,” Associate Dean for Innovation and Inclusion at the MIT Sloan School of Management Fiona Murray said.

When moving from a crisis to calm, it is clear that entrepreneurs and their startups are drivers to economic recovery, “ they are what brings us out of recession,” she added.

Among startups, although they all have significant roles in the economy, it is important to distinguish between two types. The small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the small companies that create employment for one or two people at a time, Murray said.

“SMEs are the life blood of economy, but there is no doubt that they have been tremendously affected by the pandemic,” she added.

There are the innovation-driven enterprises which are backed by capital providers and investors and are the engines of change to the economy, through having the most significant impact on job creation, she noted.

“We need entrepreneurs who are not only going to start small businesses, but we really need to educate a generation of innovators who are going to start growth potential businesses,” Murray expressed, adding that it is important to establish an ecosystem that brings together the right sort of entrepreneurial balance.

There are three main elements when building an entrepreneurial ecosystem, which include a system, stakeholders who need to come together to shape collective actions and a strategy which is a set of difficult choices.


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