Innovative Startups and SMEs Fund partners with INJAZ to support environmental and EdTech entrepreneurs

Through a $250,000 investment

Innovative Startups and SMEs Fund partners with INJAZ to support environmental and EdTech entrepreneurs

Amman: Recognizing the sustainable impact of social enterprises, theInnovative Startups and SMEs Fund (ISSF)- the largest investment fund of its kind in Jordan - has partnered withINJAZ to grant the ‘mySTARTUP’ incubator a USD 250,000 investment. The partnership, which extends from January 2021 until December 2023, aims to serve 50 social enterprises across Amman and its governorates, 30 within the environmental field and 20 within the educational technology (EdTech) field.

This step seeks to contribute to the establishment of a stimulating ecosystem for entrepreneurs - aged 20 to 35 - to implement scalable projects that introduce innovative solutions to pressing environmental and EdTech challenges, while simultaneously driving national economic advancement. By forging partnerships and collaborations with relevant entities within the field of social entrepreneurship, INJAZ will provide comprehensive incubation and support services tailored to these project owners over the next three years. As part of the process, INJAZ will first draft an effective mechanism for identifying projects with high growth potential; equip them with viable business models; as well as hone the operational, technical and financial skills and capabilities of the project owners and link them to prospective investors and supporters that can ensure their transition through the business acceleration and growth stages until they reach sustainability.

The ‘mySTARTUP’ project will involve 50 national social entrepreneurship enablers and advocates - including cewas Middle East, which will deliver a tailored training program for environmental entrepreneurs and innovators, alongside Philadelphia Consulting, which will support, guide and train EdTech solution providers. Moreover, the project will focus on the inclusivity of entrepreneurs with limited economic opportunities, whereby 40 percent of the projects backed by ‘mySTARTUP’ will be from outside Amman and 40 percent will be led by women.

“We are pleased to have partnered with an active, national player such as INJAZ, which boasts a longstanding history in promoting the local entrepreneurial ecosystem and encouraging Jordanian youth to bring about positive change. This partnership will enable us to contribute, together, to building a sustainable and competitive economy, founded on innovative companies that generate opportunities, as well as shape and sustain an enhanced reality by leveraging technology and creativity,” commented ISSF CEO, Laith Al Qasem. “We chose to support the environmental and education fields specifically, as they are among the most influential in people’s daily lives. We believe that young entrepreneurs - both women and men - are highly capable of transforming the challenges existing within these arenas into real opportunities.”

In turn, INJAZ CEO, Deema Bibi, stated, “We are very proud of our ISSF partnership, which will significantly benefit a host of environmental and EdTech entrepreneurs and their enterprises via the ‘mySTARTUP’ incubator. The incubator offers a supportive and encouraging environment for both female and male entrepreneurs, as well as the services they need to establish and grow their companies. The ‘mySTARTUP’ incubator strives to empower entrepreneurs to spark tangible positive change, particularly on the educational and environmental fronts, both of which are witnessing dramatic shifts due to the current global events.”

The ISSFis registered as a Jordanian private shareholding company. The objective of the ISSF is to support and elevate Jordan’s entrepreneurial and innovation landscape by facilitating the establishment of new investment funds that serve the ecosystem; making direct investments in innovative, export-oriented and scalable local startups; as well as implementing initiatives that improve the capabilities of Jordanian entrepreneurs and startup teams through training, capacity building and targeted incubation and acceleration programs.

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About the Innovative Startups and SMEs Fund

The ISSF is a national project established in 2017 as a private shareholding company to actively promote a fundamental shift within the local entrepreneurial and innovation landscape. An initiative under the National Financial Inclusion Strategy, the ISSF is the largest investment fund of its kind in Jordan, committed to facilitating funding for Jordanian early-stage startups and SMEs, particularly those demonstrating ambitious vision and high growth potential. The ISSF endeavors to foster a thriving and supportive entrepreneurial environment that enables promising local entrepreneurs to transform innovative projects into sustainable startups; generate jobs for Jordanian men and women; and prompt economic sectors that serve export markets by capitalizing on the creative and technical capabilities of entrepreneurs and management teams across Jordan. The ISSF project is implemented in cooperation with the World Bank over a duration of six years, concluding in November 2023. During this period, the World Bank foresees the ISSF to make both direct and indirect investments (the latter in investment funds) in 150-200 local innovation companies and build the capacities of at least 600 entrepreneurs and SMEs through specialized training to qualify them for prospective investments. The total working capital of the ISSF is USD 98 million, with a USD 48 million investment from the Central Bank of Jordan and a USD 50 million investment from the World Bank.

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