Meet the Syrian and Jordanians bringing their big dreams of small businesses to life

Fifteen new businesses walked away with over 90,000 JD in prize money after a day of inspiring ideas from Syrian and Jordanians at the Jusoor RESOLVE Small Business Program Demo Day in Amman.

19 July, 2019, Amman – Refugees are often forced to become entrepreneurs, finding creative ways to support themselves and their families in informal economies. At the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, there are more than 3,000 Syrian-run businesses with a total value of $13 million per month, according to the World Economic Forum.

In 2019 Jusoor, an organization committed to building bridges between the limitless potential of young Syrians and life-changing opportunities that create the next generation of community leaders, undertook its first ever Small Business Program.

“Jusoor has worked with Syrian entrepreneurs with start-ups for the past six years but it’s the first time we have worked with small businesses, yet these are really the backbone of the economy in the region.” said Grace Atkinson, Executive Director of Jusoor and one of the competition judges.

Running in four cities across Jordan, the Program aims to promote youth employment by supporting Syrians and Jordanians to start businesses. Consisting of a five-day long workshop and ten weeks of business mentorship with professionals from international and regional business building programs, more than 350 Syrian and Jordanians youth applied with 100 being chosen to take part.

On 14 June, 42 teams pitched their refined business ideas to a panel of judges including experts in development, investments, the legal sector, and non-governmental organizations.

“These young, enthusiastic entrepreneurs reminded me of my early work days and my strong belief that the sky’s the limit.” reflected judge Roaa Alkhudari,Private Sector Engagement Officer at World Vision.

After a morning of pitches, three prizes were awarded in each of the five business categories.

Meet our first prize winners, who each took home 10,000 JD, as well as incubation and mentoring, to bring their business ideas to life:

Agricultural Winner: Mushroom Box

Mushroom Box manufacture intelligent incubators for mushroom cultivation, which creates a smart insect-control environment for sustainable and consistent mushroom production, monitoring the environment through Internet-connected sensors.

Technology: Martha Edu

79% of deaf people in Jordan are illiterate, limiting their independence and their ability to enter the labour force. To combat this, Martha Edu are creating an app which teaches deaf children to read Arabic through a fun, interactive game. The app comes with a deck of cards which when scanned with their camera phone shows them the corresponding word in sign language.

Services: JoRecycle

According to a recent study, the percentage of organic waste reaches 51% of the general waste volume in Jordan. Plastic, cardboard and paper also account for 30%, which is a huge burden on municipalities to transport, collect and dispose of. JORecycle links private and public institutions and individuals with recycling companies and promotes the idea of ​​recycling in the community.

Manufacturing: MyBOX

MyBOX is an innovative educational resource that contributes to the development of children’s creativity, thinking and learning how to benefit from their environment. The compact box contains interactive educational materials and are connected to an app that corresponds to curriculum.

Wild card: The Winner

The Winner are committed to establishing a health and wellbeing centre in the al-Hashemi district in Al Mafraq. Their vision is for a holistic vision of health that provides fitness, nutritional and psychosocial support for Syrian and Jordanian youth, as well as a recreational outlet.

“We were so impressed by the ideas put forward by these young Syrians and Jordanians, and the motivation and passion in the room.” said Grace Atkinson, Executive Director of Jusoor and Judge. “Investing in starting these businesses will lead to job creation even for the teams who decide not to move ahead with their idea, as they are coming out of this program with many additional transferable skills.”

The day was attended by over 200 attendees from all over the kingdom and was supported by the partnership of World Vision RESOLVE and EU MADAD FUND.

For more information, interview or photo requests please contact Lily King, Jusoor Communications Coordinator – lily.king (at) jusoorsyria.com

Posted on July 19, 2019 in Entrepreneurship, Jusoor news, Small Business Program

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