March 17, 2023

Abu Julia, Palestinian influencer, visits businesses in Jordan supported by Economic Resilience through COVID-19 programme

SPARK and its local partners hosted Abu Julia, a popular Palestinian chef and social media personality with 8.9 million Facebook followers. During his visit, he met with young entrepreneurs and business-owners in Jordan who are supported by SPARK and its partners.

Abu Julia, a Palestinian entrepreneurial chef and social media star with over 6 million Facebook followers and around 2.5 million Instagram followers, recently visited businesses supported by the Economic Resilience through the COVID-19 programme, funded by the Qatar Fund for Development. The visit was hosted by SPARK and its local partners to highlight the growth of startups and local businesses and the impact on their communities. 

The programme kicked off in 2019 to tackle high levels of unemployment in Jordan and Türkiye, compounded by the global COVID-19 pandemic. With a mission to safeguard the jobs and livelihoods of vulnerable youth, including women and refugees, as well as support entrepreneurs to grow their companies to create job opportunities, to date the programme has put almost 1,000 entrepreneurs through business bootcamps and competitions, resulting in the launch of 151 startups; supported 423 micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) with action-oriented coaching, with around half of those 232 with financial grants, leading to the creation of 351 new job opportunities. 

Abu Julia paid a visit  to Souq Fann, an e-commerce platform that connects artists, artisans, and handicraft producers throughout Jordan to new markets and partner of SPARK. There he met with the Founder and CEO, Dr. Sami Hourani and learnt about the efforts to support mostly women-led home-based businesses and help them become more sustainable by digitalising their operations and accessing new markets.

The online star met with Yara Design, Sanabel Crafts, Subbeh, and  Faten Albawab, four businesses that received support from SPARK and Souq Fann. As well as specialised mentorship and coaching in marketing, packaging and showcasing their products on the e-commerce site, Souq Fann has provided the entrepreneurs with a platform to share their stories, offer payment, delivery and customer support services. 

“In my experience, and from what I hear, home-based businesses often struggle to stay afloat due to the challenge of generating sales and reaching new customers,” commented Abu Julia. “Even when they produce high-quality items, they may not have the means to expand their reach. That’s why I’m glad to see initiatives like this that help these businesses tap into new markets and grow their customer base.”

Abu Julia also visited a startup called Tebcan, which provides online medical appointment booking services and connects patients, doctors, hospitals, medical diagnosis centres, pharmacies and insurance companies on a single platform. Meeting with the Tebcan team, he tried out their platform and listened as they shared their plans to expand into new markets and discussed SPARK’s role in helping them to connect with new opportunities in the MENA region.

A participant of SPARK showcased their products and shared their experience of partnering with SouqFann to support the digitalisation of their business©2023, SPARK
Yara Design, a family business specializing in handmade products explaining to Abu Julia their products and their marketing approach. ©2023, SPARK
Abu Julia was briefed by three young architects and Jordanian graduates about their innovative project, Subbeh, and how it evolved into their primary source of income©2023, SPARK
©2023, SPARK
Dr Maher Qaaty, Medical Officer at Tebcan explains to Abu Julia Tebcan approach and business module ©2023, SPARK
Tebcan team test their website with Abu Julia ©2023, SPARK
Founder of Andrew's Cold Brew briefing Abu Julia about their products and the method of extracting coffee notes makes them specilised in this field ©2023, SPARK
Founder of Andrew's Cold Brew, was in a discussion with Abu Julia about the equipment utilized in their production process as well as their plans for business expansion.©2023, SPARK
SouqFann team with Abu Julia ©2023, SPARK

Abu Julia then visited Andrew’s Cold Brew, which is the first nitro cold brew coffee factory in Jordan, founded by young entrepreneur Ramzi Marji. Ramzi started the business on his own, but it has since grown to a team of 15 with products sold across the country. Ramzi shared insights with Abu Julia from a recent market research study, which identified potential target markets in Europe and Gulf countries.

With a focus on refugees, the programme has placed 400 refugee youth in sustainable employment opportunities, and to help them overcome key barriers to growth. Collaborating with higher education institutions and the private sector, the programme has also developed an entrepreneurial curriculum in Türkiye and Jordan, which will equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills for the labour market.

SPARK thanks Abu Julia for his commitment to highlighting the important work of young entrepreneurs who are building fantastic businesses that contribute to the Jordanian economy. 

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