DUSTIN POH


Endeavor Jordan’s fifth DealMakers event convened participants from 15 countries for two days of networking activities connecting top local, regional, and international investors with the region’s most promising entrepreneurs. Held March 11-12, the event created the ideal environment for investors and business owners to collectively maximize the investment and divestment potential of startups and scale-ups in the Arab world, with a focus on Jordan. DealMakers was sponsored by the Arab Bank.

Welcoming the guests, Endeavor Jordan Managing Director Reem Goussous praised the synergy between local entrepreneurial and investment ecosystem players, and highlighted the collaborative work being done to overcome the challenges faced by entrepreneurs in Jordan. She highlighted the new developments pertaining to access to finance through the newly established investment and finance funds, led by the Innovative Startups and SMEs Fund (ISSF). On access to markets, Goussous stressed that this remains a main obstacle for startups and scaleups in Jordan, and added, “While Jordan is used as a launching pad into outside markets, Jordan continues to be a very lucrative place for any entrepreneur wanting to expand their backend operations in an efficient and effective manner.”

The event which was attended by H.E. Muthana Gharaibeh, Minister of ICT, and Adrian Garcia-Aranyos, President of Endeavor Global, has also witnessed great presence of incubators, accelerators and key players in the entrepreneurial and investment sphere in Jordan and the region. Also present was an outstanding lineup of over 75 investors representing 45 Venture Capital and Private Equity Funds, and 25 Angel Investors, including an official delegation from the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), and 90 entrepreneurs from 74 startups.

Countries participating from abroad were Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UK, USA, Argentina, Lebanon, UAE, Palestine, India, Canada, Greece, Turkey, Qatar, and Austria.

Dr. Mazin AlZaidi, Director of Innovation & Entrepreneurship at SAGIA said, “DealMakers brought together the most prominent players in the entrepreneurial and investment scene in both Jordan and Saudi Arabia. We now seek to facilitate the expansion of Jordanian companies to the Saudi market and will provide full support to them.”

The richly curated agenda of DealMakers included a number of workshops for the entrepreneurs and angel investors, as well as discussions on the investment state of affairs in MENA, Jordan’s position among other countries in the region, and the important role investors have in accelerating the growth of companies and opening new markets. The agenda featured presentations of the new funds by the ISSF, the Saudi Jordanian Investment Fund, and BeyondCapital. Endeavor Global partner EY also led a workshop on their 7 Drivers of Growth framework for entrepreneurs in attendance.

Commenting on Arab Bank’s sponsorship of this event, Miss Randa Sadik, Arab Bank’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer, stated that this initiative organized by Endeavor represents an ideal platform to connect entrepreneurs from Jordan and the region with main investors towards optimizing the growth and scalability potential of start up companies both regionally and internationally. Miss Sadik added that holding such an event in Jordan reflects the prominent position the Kingdom enjoys with regard to entrepreneurship in the region. She highlighted that Arab Bank’s sponsorship of this event comes as part of the Bank’s constant commitment towards supporting entrepreneurs through stimulating the entrepreneurial ecosystem which plays an instrumental role in achieving sustainable economic and social development.

Gaston Frydlewski, CEO & Founder of Hickies (Argentina), said “Experiencing the positive energy and quality of the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Jordan first hand was a confirmation that Hickies has to expand to the MENA region. The infrastructure is in place. Endeavor Jordan has become a lighthouse for the entrepreneurs and investors in the region and confirms the impact that it can have in developing ecosystems.”

Endeavor Jordan’s mission is to catalyze sustainable, long-term economic growth and support the creation of employment opportunities in the local market by accelerating high-impact entrepreneurial companies that have a positive and tangible impact on society. Endeavor offers entrepreneurs support through its global network, access to an unrivaled mentorship network, as well as other tools that are essential to achieving entrepreneurial success.

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