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US-funded project to enhance Jordan’s ecosystem for startups’ development

By Andrea López-Tomàs - Nov 16,2017 - Last updated at Nov 16,2017

AMMAN — BeyondCapital, a US-funded project, was launched on Wednesday, with the aim of creating a better ecosystem for entrepreneurship in Jordan, and empowering startups and helping them expand.

“Entrepreneurs are the companies that create new job opportunities and witness economic growth,” said Tamer Al Salah, managing director of BeyondCapital, at an event to launch the initiative.

 “There is a necessity to create a more comfortable environment for entrepreneurship to grow in Jordan,” he added.

Salah highlighted the support offered by BeyondCapital to startups in terms of “capital, expertise and access to networks”. 

The startups benefiting from the initiative will receive a two-year support programme, which will help them grow and find a place in the Jordanian market. 

Funded by the USAID, the initiative was created through a partnership between the NGO Endeavour Jordan, which is specialised in entrepreneurship and the company called Silicon Badia, which focuses on investments.

“We have to accept that our market is small,” said Walid Tahabsem, Chairman of Endeavor Jordan, adding “it is also acceptable to look beyond the national borders because our country is small. But I strongly encourage you all to be entrepreneurs in Jordan because our country has to be the first”. 

Jim Barnhart, the acting deputy chief of mission for the US embassy, noted that the US government proposed the idea for BeyondCapital in 2014.

Barnhart highlighted Jordan›s great advantage of “human capital” in the area of startups. “A secure sustainable economy is what the country really needs and that’s what this project wants to improve,” he stated.

The US representative stressed the innovative aspects of BeyondCapital, saying: “The focus in these kinds of projects is always on the entrepreneurs, but we wanted to also take in consideration the role of investors.” 

BeyondCapital is based on a three-pillar model with support to startups, to existing finance entrepreneurs, and to angel investors, who are the funds’ providers to startups. 

The startups targeted by the initiative are companies which already have a functional environment, but are characterised by a scale-up potential and a focus on a comprehensive team. BeyondCapital aims to provide them with an access to mentors, market capital, and entrepreneurship experts.

The idea will be registered next week, and those who are interested could start applying in January, said the general of the Jordan Loan Guarantee Corporation (JLGC), Mohammad Al Jaafari.

The presentation of BeyondCapital was followed by a discussion titled “Bridging the Gap in the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem” with representatives from partners and experts in the investing, legislative and entrepreneurs fields. 

Moderated by the CEO of Endeavour Jordan, Reem Groussous, the discussion covered the importance of an attractive legal environment in attracting investments. 

“We are targeting those people who saw an opportunity in the market, but have problems to maintain themselves,” stated the founder and managing partner of Silicon Badia, Emile Cubeisy. 

 

More than 100 participants attended the presentation of Beyond Capital, which was organised as part of the 10th anniversary of the Entrepreneurship Week.

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