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Jordan on ‘right path’ in creating enabling environment for innovators and entrepreneurs — experts

By Dana Al Emam - May 20,2017 - Last updated at May 20,2017

DEAD SEA — Jordan's "positive and progressive" environment for innovation has enabled several breakthroughs, which will continue to its high level of competitiveness in the international arena, stakeholders said on Saturday.

Speaking at a World Economic Forum (WEF) Middle East and North Africa session titled "Innovative Jordan", innovators and entrepreneurs said Jordan is moving to the right direction when it comes to creating an enabling environment for innovators and entrepreneurs, while noting that there is always room for improvement.

In a bid to stimulate dialogue between innovators and entrepreneurs and private and public stakeholders, the WEF meeting, carried out this year under the theme “Shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution”, features 100 startups, including 21 startups from Jordan.

At the session, attended by His Majesty King Abdullah, Her Majesty Queen Rania, and a group of world leaders, Muhannad Taslaq, CEO of Mixed Dimensions, said that, particularly in the engineering sector, Jordanians are fully capable of competing internationally.

"It is about problem solving [skills], which are universal," he said, adding that his startup, which offers 3D printing and cloud services, employs 50 Jordanian engineers and has so far obtained 16 patents by Jordanians.

In addition to the mindset of innovators, an enabling environment is central for attracting investments to emerging businesses.

Co-director of the Amman Design Week (ADW) Abeer Seikaly agreed, highlighting the engagement of local communities in social entrepreneurial initiatives as a fundamental factor for the efficiency of the problem solving process.

The ADW offers community outreach programmes and other training programmes for students, in addition to exhibitions that help the initiative remain in contact with the local community and share skills with it.

Seikaly initially designed a tent from a solar-absorbing fabric in order to address the need to provide "adequate and dignified" shelters for displaced persons.

It is also important for the government and the private sector to extend support to such initiatives, she added.

Aman Bhutani, president of the US-based Expedia, announced that the company now has an office in Amman, a decision that was driven mainly by the "hunger for learning" among Jordanian youth.

 

He added that several Jordanian stakeholders work efficiently to enhance recent graduates' interpersonal and professional skills through various training programmes, noting that mentoring programmes offered through many institutions also hone the skills of graduates and enable them to meet the requirements of the job market.

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