Since the conflict in Syria started, 12 million people have been displaced, with around 6 million now living as refugees. While those arriving in Europe have drawn most attention from the media and the public, the overwhelming majority of Syrian refugees fled to neighbouring states such as Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. Younger refugees encounter continuous barriers when trying to integrate in the labour market. One such young person is Saleem Najjar.
Saleem fled Syria in the early stages of the conflict and when he arrived in Jordan he was faced with the responsibility of providing for his family. Low finances, a lack of opportunities and not holding a work permit led to serious problems for him. Nevertheless, he did not stop dreaming big.
Saleem believes in his entrepreneurial ideas. Through a mixture of motivation, SPARK and EU support, and partnerships with Jordanians, he was finally able to successfully launch Sharqi Shop. Saleem’s business promotes handmade gifts directly from the best artisans and craftspeople in the Middle East.
During the EUTF Syria & Region conference in Brussels on 20th June on “Europe’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis: delivering effective aid in partnership with the region”, we caught up with Saleem and asked him a few questions about being a young Syrian entrepreneur in Jordan.
Listen to what initially excited him, how he started, the current environment in Jordan and advice for young entrepreneurs like him, who would like to start their business.