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King meets start-up founders, voices pride in young Jordanian entrepreneurs

By JT - Dec 02,2021 - Last updated at Dec 02,2021

His Majesty King Abdullah meets a group of start-up founders at Al Husseiniya Palace on Wednesday (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah on Wednesday met with a group of start-up founders at Al Husseiniya Palace.

King Abdullah expressed pride in young Jordanian entrepreneurs for their contribution to bolstering Jordan’s position in business and innovation, adding that they were able to transform the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic into promising opportunities, according to a Royal Court statement. 

His Majesty noted efforts to enhance the business environment for start-ups through suitable legislation, highlighting the role of the Innovative Startups and SMEs Fund (ISSF) in attracting investments to Jordan to support entrepreneurship.

For their part, the start-up founders presented their companies’ achievements, calling for simplifying procedures to encourage more young Jordanians to launch entrepreneurial projects.

Several start-up founders said they anticipate employment opportunities at their companies to double next year, stressing the need to support and bolster the capacities of start-ups to enable them to provide further jobs.

They noted ongoing efforts to establish regional branches for their start-ups, stressing the valuable contributions from Jordanian expatriates who return to Jordan to offer their expertise after studying and working abroad.

According to Minister of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship Ahmad Hanandeh, Jordan’s efforts to build an entrepreneurship ecosystem date back to 2000, with the first Arab business incubator, Oasis 500, established in 2010.

Hanandeh underscored Jordan’s leading position in giving rise to start-ups, with young Jordanian entrepreneurs also founding many start-ups in the region as well.

The minister said 350 companies registered in this sector employ 4,000 workers, 36 per cent of whom are women, pointing out that there are 20 business incubators and 4 accelerators in Jordan, in addition to 11 regional and global funds working with and investing in start-ups and promising projects in the Kingdom.

For his part, ISSF CEO Laith Al Qasem said the fund was established in late 2017 through the World Bank and the Central Bank of Jordan with a capital of around $98 million, working to invest in and support the entrepreneurship ecosystem.

He said the ISSF has attracted 11 investment funds to the Kingdom, and has helped train over 400 entrepreneurs, stressing that more international investment funds have taken note of the wealth of qualified talents in Jordan.

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