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Endeavor gives young people the tools and the network of support to effect change in the lives of the people they touch.
Approximately 39% of Jordan’s population lives in the capital city of Amman, and around 70% of the population is less than 30 years of age, representing vast untapped economic resources. At 13%, Jordan has a relatively high unemployment rate, and approximately 90% of the unemployed fall into the 15-39 year age-group. Historically, a focus on job security and the lack of an entrepreneurial culture has meant that employment has been primarily focused in the public sector. In 2009, the service sector accounted for an estimated 66.5% of Jordan’s GDP and more than 75% of jobs. Thus, entrepreneurship is not deep-rooted in Jordanian society, but this is changing.
Recognizing the need for job and wealth creation in the ever-expanding youth sector, a number of initiatives aimed at stimulating entrepreneurship in the country have been established in the past two decades. Yet most of these initiatives are focused on micro-enterprise and smaller entrepreneurial ventures.
The lack of venture capital in Jordan has also meant that most entrepreneurial ventures rely on informal funding through family and friends – which is limited due to the country’s low per capita income level.
While the investment climate has witnessed a rapid change in recent years – with several investment banks and private equity firms operating for the first time in Jordan – they continue to be somewhat risk-averse. Consequently, many Jordanian start-ups and SMEs are finding it difficult to grow.
The idea to establish Endeavor Jordan originated at the 2007 World Economic Forum hosted in Jordan and co-chaired by Endeavor CEO and founder Linda Rottenberg. Committed to the Endeavor concept and inspired by Endeavor’s success in other emerging markets, Ali Al-Husry, now Chairman of Endeavor Jordan, actively sought to bring Endeavor to Jordan.
Endeavor Jordan commenced its activities in July 2008, following the recruitment of Endeavor Jordan’s Managing Director, and held its official public launch on September 30, 2009. After a successful Jordan ISP resulted in seven newly selected Endeavor Entrepreneurs, Endeavor Jordan’s portfolio has continued to grow, and the focus on building out an entrepreneur services framework began in earnest.
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