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EU-funded programme aims ‘to spark innovation’ among youth

Project contributes to local efforts under five-year reform matrix — Rabadi

By Rana Husseini - Sep 29,2020 - Last updated at Sep 29,2020

Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Wissam Rabadi speaks during the launch of the new EU-funded programme ‘Innovation for Enterprise Growth and Jobs’ in Amman on Monday (Photo courtesy of Planning Ministry)

AMMAN — With the aim of encouraging more Jordanian youths to become more involved in innovation projects, government entities and the European Union in Jordan celebrated the launch of the new EU-funded programme “Innovation for Enterprise Growth and Jobs” (in short “Innovate Jordan”).

The launching event took place during a press conference at the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, with the participation of Minister of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship Muthana Gharaibeh and EU officials.

Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Wissam Rabadi pointed out this event marks the EU’s signing of three grants with three entities and coalitions from the private sector, “which makes this project special due to the private sector’s role as the engine of growth and job creation, particularly for youth”.

“It also contributes to the local efforts under the five-year reform matrix that aims to create a more competitive economic environment, and strengthen innovation initiatives,” Rabadi told the gathering.

The minister pointed out that through innovation, the business environment will be able to provide better services and products.

“It is important that innovation becomes part of companies’ business strategies, which together with a focus on competition leads to better performance and productivity as innovation creates a better investment and business environment,” Rabadi told reporters.

Meanwhile, Gharaibeh stressed the “indisputable importance of investing in innovation, while at the same time accelerating the efforts that the private and public sectors are exerting towards an efficient and enabling ecosystem”.

“The project comes in line with the ministry’s efforts to improve digitally-enabled income opportunities and to expand digitised government services in Jordan through its recently launched ‘Youth, Technology and Jobs (YTJ)’ project,” said Gharaibeh.

“We are committed to empowering the citizens and residents of Jordan in their digital journey across sectors and industries, and our alignment with “Innovate Jordan” will ensure motivating and inspiring people to produce change by maximising the impact of financial and non-financial incentive programmes in place,” Gharaibeh added.

Also addressing the press was EU Ambassador to Jordan Maria Hadjitheodosiou who stressed the EU’s interest to work on digital transformation, which would benefit everyone, and make "a real difference" in people’s daily lives.

“Through ‘Innovative Jordan’ we are looking forward to working together with the local private sector to help businesses grow, to spark a culture of innovation among youth, and to provide more innovation facilities, financing and opportunities throughout Jordan,” said Hadjitheodosiou.

At the same time, Hadjitheodosiou added, by investing in innovation and digital economy, “we aim to support the efforts of the government of Jordan to alleviate the socioeconomic impact of the COVID19 crisis”.

Through the “Innovate Jordan” programme, the EU is investing 20 million euros to promote new initiatives that can unlock entrepreneurship and innovation potential and enhance job creation and growth in Jordan, according to an EU statement.

Together with the local private sector, the EU will help companies become more competitive in local and international markets, and support innovation opportunities to boost digital economy, it added.

Three major grant initiatives will be supported,  the EU statement said.

The first one, implemented by a local team led by Endeavor, will help 45 local businesses to grow, scale and enhance their capacities to reach out to foreign investment and international markets, it said.

The second grant, implemented by a team led by SAM Engineering, will establish the first Digitalisation and Innovation Centre in Jordan to promote digital solutions in manufacturing, following the trends of the fourth industrial revolution, according to the statement. 

The third and final action, implemented by Orange, will promote digital economy, skills and jobs by developing new facilities across Jordan, including: 23 digital centres, six coding academies, six FabLabs, six incubators and six Growth Accelerators, the statement added.

The programme’s overall objective is to support private sector-led innovation that could drive inclusive economic development and promote systematic change in the local enterprise and innovation ecosystem in Jordan, read the statement.

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