Jordan’s Ministry of Planning & International Cooperation has signed a $50 million facilitated loan agreement with the World Bank to establish Innovative Startups Fund. Jordan’s Central Bank will also inject $48 million into the fund, said country’s Planning Minister Imaad Fakhoury at the signing ceremony last week.
Named Innovative Startups Fund, the project that will be implemented and operated and maintained by Jordan Loan Guarantee Corporation aims to support 200 innovative business ideas across Jordan. The innovative and entrepreneurial businesses have created 40 per cent of the jobs in the Kingdom over the period 2006-2011, said Jordan’s Planning Minister.
The Planning Minister also said that the fund was one of the “key and critical recommendations” of country’s Economy Policy Council about an year ago.
“These blueprints seek to enhance economic growth by providing further support to innovative and entrepreneurial micro- small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), that create jobs and contribute to the national economy, he added.” he added.
“The fund will help potential entrepreneurs in further developing their business ideas, connecting them with business incubators and providing venture capital to entrepreneurial small- and medium-sized businesses that prove their ability for sustainability and growth” said the Planning Minister.
Central Bank of Jordan’s Governor Ziad Fariz thinks that the Innovative Startups Fund will also help other funds by stimulating the market.
Regional Director of World Bank Mashreq Saroj Jha pointed out the need to invest in SMEs as they make up to 75% of Jordan’s economy.
The investment decisions of fund will be made by a specialized private sector committee which will follow a strict clearly announced selection criteria to ensure transparency and efficiency, said Mohammead Jafari, the General Manager of Jordan Loan Guarantee Corporation.
Jafari also said that the fund will invest only in projects and other funds that are established and operating in Jordan.
The country is home to some of the most successful startups of the region including Maktoob that was acquired by Yahoo, Jamalon, the region’s first online bookstore, ArabiaWeather and many others.
Signing Ceremony Picture via Jordan Times