Oasis500 in Jordan is working to support seed stage startups and encourage more young people in the region to consider becoming entrepreneurs. As a GIST Innovation Hub, Oasis500 will work to strengthen the local entrepreneurial ecosystem while connecting its startups to an international network of knowledge and resources.
Startups: 150 startups since its inception, 82 of those startups are still active
Sectors: Technology services and platforms, software development, FinTech, health tech, IoT, mobile applications, communications, digital media and content, creative industries
A Closer Look at Oasis500:
Sitting in the center of the Middle East, Oasis500 believes Jordan is one of the best places in the region to start a business. Because of the countries strong regional and international linkages, the accelerator says Jordan is a good place for entrepreneurs to launch companies they hope to scale into other markets in other countries. Jordanian entrepreneurs also benefit from government support, and private support from investors, accelerators and other ecosystem stakeholders. Finally, startups in Jordan benefit from a young talent pool.
But young people in Jordan are hesitant to become entrepreneurs, even with success stories like Maktoob. Founded in Jordan, the email service was acquired by Yahoo! in 2009 for $164 million USD. The sale was the catalyst in Jordan that lead to heavy investments into the country’s startup ecosystem. But 10 years later, Oasis500 said young people still choose to work for established companies rather than start their own – even though there is a limited number of available jobs for young people in Jordan. By joining the GIST Network as an Innovation Hub (I-Hub), Oasis500 is hoping to create an ecosystem that encourages young people to become entrepreneurs and supports those entrepreneurs as they scale their businesses.
“We are hoping to create a more connected ecosystem to the entrepreneurs in Jordan, to enable them to connect with key players in the ecosystem, mentors and fellow entrepreneurs locally and globally,” said Nora Al-Moughrabi, marketing and public relations officer at Oasis500. “All the events and panels that are to happen during the program will assist in building this larger network of fluid information and exchange experiences.”
As an I-Hub, Oasis500 will work over the next year to connect its founders with the experienced entrepreneurs and venture capitalists inside the GIST Network. It will also create in-country programming, in partnership with GIST, to promote entrepreneurship and activate key stakeholders in Jordan’s startup ecosystem. Through this partnership, Oasis500 will build an ecosystem with global connections that attracts Jordan’s young talent to consider becoming entrepreneurs.
New Strategic Partners Announced for Oasis500
In 2017, Oasis500 was able to create new partnerships that will help its entrepreneurs connect regionally and globally. Partnership include Amman Design Week, AIM Startup, Mobile 360 MENA by GSMA – Dubai, ArabNet Dubai and ArabNet Kuwait. These partnerships will help Oasis500 fulfill its stated mission to invest in quality startups.
International Startup Competitions Hosted in Jordan
Through its work to support entrepreneurs, Oasis500 hosted two notable competitions in Amman, Jordan. Those competitions included Fincluders and Challenge Cup. Fincluders identifies and supports promising fintech startups that create better, more inclusive financial practices for small businesses and retail customers. Challenge Cup, by 1776 and Revolution, is a worldwide tournament for the most promising and innovative startups, which compete for seed capital and mentorships.
Oasis500 Joins National Campaign to Promote Innovation
Launched in May 2017 by Oasis500, with direction from the Royal Hashemite Court, Innovative Jordan is a nationwide campaign to celebrate the achievements of Jordan’s entrepreneurs and creative youth. The campaign aims to strengthen Jordan’s standing as a regional hub for innovation and to build a generation that contributes to sustainable development through innovative ideas.
Partnership with UNIFEC Targets Social Innovation in Jordan
In an effort to build a better community, Oasis500 partnered with UNICEF to host three different workshops focused on social innovation. Through the workshops, both organizations hope to empower entrepreneurs with startups that will have a positive social impact.
Continued Support Provided to Oasis500 Startups
During 2017, Oasis500 invested in 11 new startups under its ICT and eight new startups under its Creative Industries fund. That same fund was also used to provide follow-on-investments for two more startups. Finally, Oasis500 trained 291 entrepreneurs through nine different Startup Trainingss throughout the year – each Startup Trainings targeted to a specific industry, including FinTech, CleanTech, hardware and technology, urban solutions, creative industries and social entrepreneurship.