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Programme to fund start-ups seeking to tackle urban challenges

By Mohammad Ghazal - Mar 30,2014 - Last updated at Mar 30,2014

AMMAN — Oasis500, an Amman-based investment company that supports entrepreneurs, is organising a global initiative that aims to identify and reward aspiring entrepreneurs who are developing promising technologies that tackle urban challenges.

Under the Omraan initiative, winning start-ups will secure an investment of $30,000 worth of seed funding by Oasis500 and an opportunity to accelerate their idea in Amman over 100 days, Omar Al Sharif, Oasis500 marketing manager, told The Jordan Times on Sunday.

Acceleration will involve coaching and mentoring from the Oasis500 team, industry experts, and a group of 300 local and international mentors, many of whom work in Silicon Valley. 

The 100 days of acceleration and investment will be followed by six to nine months of incubation in Amman or any other partner city, according to the initiative’s website www.omraan.me, where start-ups can submit applications.

“Start-ups with ideas for technological projects that address urban challenges such as pollution, limited energy resources, traffic jams and others, are invited to take part in the initiative,” Sharif said.

“The initiative seeks to encourage start-ups to focus on addressing urban challenges facing cities in light of the rapidly — urbanised Middle East region,” he added.

Starting in June, the winning start-ups will be announced, Sharif said, adding that there is no limit on the number of winners.

“As long as we receive pioneering ideas, we will continue to support them.”

The initiative is implemented in cooperation with the New Cities Foundation, the Greater Amman Municipality and the King Abdullah II Fund for Development.

Those wishing to apply will have to submit an idea online; applicants will be required to send a short statement explaining their idea, the technology and its urban application to the Omraan website.

If the idea meets the selection criteria, applicants will be required to do a final pitch presentation via Skype/phone to the judges.

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