February 27, 2023

Startup ecosystem stakeholders met in Amman

On 20-21 February, SPARK brought together more than 25 local and international organisations in Amman to discuss the innovation and startup ecosystems in the Mediterranean region, under the ‘From Innovation to Creation’ programme funded by the European Union.

More than 130 participants representing 25 organisations from Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia and Palestine joined a two-days Regional Stakeholders Meeting in Amman Marriott Hotel to discuss how startups can access new markets and export their goods and services, how policy framework can create an enabling environment for the startups and how they can attract more foreign investment to the region. The first day of the event began with a minute of silence for the victims of earthquakes that hit millions of people in southern Türkiye and Syria.

“SPARK is a unique international NGO, as we are able to bring together all of the stakeholders in the startup ecosystem in Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon and Tunisia”

Governments, business support organisations, startup incubators and accelerators shared ideas to overcome policy-related challenges and discuss ways to internationalise existing startups and boost innovative businesses. “SPARK is a unique international NGO, as we are able to bring together all of the stakeholders in the startup ecosystem in Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon and Tunisia,” said Mourad Hentati, Regional Programme Director for SPARK.

Samar Dudin, Regional Director at Ruwwad delivered a welcome speech on the importance of building partnerships to achieve impact in the face of uncertainty. She emphasised economic justice at the heart of entrepreneurship and highlighted the need to acknowledge and practise empathetic listening to create impact.

“Our innovation programmes in Jordan and in the region such as the programme with SPARK, Ruwwad and Institut Arabe des Chefs d’Entreprises (IACE) will boost neighbouring countries’ startup environment and will contribute to creating jobs and supporting the economies,” said Thibaut Moyer, Deputy Head of Cooperation at the European Delegation to Jordan. He also highlighted policies and initiatives at both the EU and local level, such as training specific sectors for green and digital transitions, and generating decent work for everyone.

From Innovation to Creation programme, funded by the European Union, allows to strengthen the innovation ecosystem and enables stakeholders to cooperate and share best practices,” stated Aurélien Pastouret, Programme Manager, at DG NEAR – European Commission. “The European Union is working on a green economy package in cooperation with business support organisations to provide support through green skills development and tailored capacity enhancement,” he added.

Minute of silence in the memory of victims of the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria
Thibaut Moyer, Deputy Head of Cooperation at the EUD to Jordan
Mourad Hentati, Regional Programme Director for SPARK
Panel Discussion: Enabling Entrepreneurship Through Policy-making
Panel Discussion: Increasing Investment Readiness
10 startups from the region set up their booths at the event

Mohammed Musleh from the Palestinian Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Empowerment (MoEE) said: “Startups should be able to move freely within the Levant to access the diversified set of experience that each country brings and access new markets. Such free movement is key in tackling challenges related to integrating the workforce, building allies across borders, and bringing the region together”. In addition to market integration, the MoEE is implementing an end-to-end strategy to develop the Palestinian innovation-driven entrepreneurship sector, he added. 

Second day of the event included workshops between the programme stakeholders of the startup ecosystem in the region. SPARK’s partner organisations from four countries shared best practices, challenges and new ideas in supporting innovation and startups.

Related news