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EU, Orange Jordan inaugurate Digital Village, JOHUD centre in Aqaba

By JT - May 28,2022 - Last updated at May 28,2022

Guests during the inauguration of the Orange Digital Village in Aqaba, and the Women Digital Centre at Princess Basma Centre for Human Development on Wednesday (Photo courtesy of Orange Jordan)

AMMAN — The European Union (EU) and Orange Jordan on Wednesday inaugurated the Orange Digital Village in Aqaba, and the Women Digital Centre at Princess Basma Centre for Human Development, as part of “Innovation Space”, marking a continuation of the EU and Orange’s joint efforts to support youth in digital and entrepreneurial fields.

This three-year project is co-funded by the EU’s “Innovation for Enterprise Growth and Jobs” programme, according to an Orange Jordan statement.

The event was attended by Minister of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship Ahmad Hanandeh, EU Ambassador to Jordan Maria Hadjitheodosiou, Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority Chief Commissioner Nayef A. Bakheet, Governor of Aqaba Mohammad Al Rafaiah, Aqaba Representative Obaid Yassin, Aqaba Development Corporation CEO Hussein Safadi, Aqaba Special Economic Zone Commissioner of Youth & Entrepreneurship, Ramzy Al Kabarity, President of the University of Jordan Aqaba Branch Amer Salman, and CEO of Orange Jordan Thierry Marigny, in addition to media representatives.

Moving forward towards achieving the EU and Orange Jordan’s common goals of “training for employment”, the digital village in Aqaba comprises a coding academy that provides training in programming languages and personal skills required in the labour market for seven months, including a one-month internship, said the statement.

The newly inaugurated village also includes a Fabrication Lab (FabLab) that offers training in the latest machines, tools and programmes in this field, such as laser cutting, CNC and 3D printers, to create prototypes that will grow into entrepreneurial projects.

In the context of the “Innovation Space” project in Aqaba, the EU and Orange Jordan also inaugurated a Women Digital Centre at Princess Basma Centre for Human Development in partnership with the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development (JOHUD), attended by PMO Director at the Fund, Dina Alaeddin. 

The centre is an extension of the successful programme, which includes eight centres in seven governorates, implemented by Orange Foundation and JOHUD to empower women with managerial, digital, and marketing skills needed to support their projects, according to the statement.

The expansion of Orange digital programmes in Aqaba will empower more youth, as it is expected to reach around 1,000 beneficiaries/certificates, as it will cater not only to Aqaba, but also the surrounding villages and nearby southern cities.

Additionally, Orange Jordan and the EU launched an incubator and startup accelerator to support entrepreneurs in Aqaba and enable them to scale up.

The EU ambassador stressed the importance of mainstreaming digital entrepreneurship and innovation culture across the Kingdom, which are key to creating employment opportunities for Jordanian youth. 

“The core of the ‘Innovation Space’ project is about increasing the opportunities for employment, creating local value and enhancing the capacity of small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurs to innovate,” said the ambassador. 

Reaching out to youth, students and entrepreneurs all across the country in order to enhance their digital skills is an essential element of this project,” she added.

CEO of Orange Jordan, Thierry Marigny, expressed his excitement about the extended digital programmes at the Orange Digital Village in Aqaba and the new digital centres executed in partnership with JOHUD, as they will offer youth in the southern governorates the opportunity to benefit from free digital programmes in the most in-demand skills in the labour market, as well as the support provided to launching and growing startups.

Marigny said that this step aims to enhance innovation culture on a larger scale in Jordan and enable more beneficiaries, noting that the “Innovation Space” project seeks to increase the number of beneficiaries to more than 20,000 in 29 locations across the Kingdom.

He also noted that “these projects fall under Orange Jordan’s comprehensive social responsibility strategy and its role as a responsible digital leader, seeking to curb the unemployment rate, and increase employment opportunities for youth across the Kingdom, while supporting entrepreneurial and ambitious projects that will drive economic growth”.

The “Innovation Space” project supports the expansion of Orange’s digital programmes to include nine community digital centres, in addition to five new coding academies, five FabLabs, eight startups accelerators and incubators, in addition to an “Innovation Hub” at the Orange Digital Village in Amman.

The EU-funded “Innovation Space” is “a pioneering initiative in Jordan” and a one-stop shop for digital innovation and entrepreneurial support, read the statement. 

It introduces digital culture, fosters digital skills, especially among women and youth, and promotes and nurtures entrepreneurship by identifying key opportunities for digital economic growth.

 

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