In the second quarter of 2018, the unemployment rate in Jordan rose again to 18.7%. The struggling economy needs a boost in order to provide jobs for the country’s young population, of which approximately 55% are under the age of 25.
SPARK and the University of Petra (UoP) have been responding to this urgent need by introducing entrepreneurship as a viable career path for youth. This summer, we held an Entrepreneurship Course and Competition whereby applicants with the most promising business ideas were invited to join the advanced 3 week course in the Startup Incubation Quarter (SIQ) at the UoP.
This course offered the unique opportunity to collaborate with the International Business College Mitrovica (IBCM), founded by SPARK. The IBCM developed a suitable syllabus and shared valuable content with the Jordanian university, who in turn provided feedback to in order to better customise the materials for the local context.
Four experienced entrepreneurship experts taught the different modules alongside the university’s local professors. The resultant co-teaching method meant the interactive sessions exposed the students to international and local case studies, adding to the enriching experience. To bridge the gap between theory and practice, the course incorporated invited guest speakers, field visits and one-one coaching.
The culmination of 3 weeks training ended with 12 teams pitching their business ideas in front of a jury of incubation experts, CEOs, business owners and SMEs. The ‘Takallam team’, who won first prize, had designed a product dedicated to assisting people with a stutter by. The device and accompanying app they developed reduces rate of stuttering by up to 90%! The entrepreneurship course helped sculpt their idea and presentation skills in a way that made it appealing and presentable for potential investors.
The runner up business idea went to the ‘Q.Jo team’, whose business idea involved designing an interactive, digital platform for daily competitions, called ‘Questions and Answers’. The winners went home with cash prizes and one year incubation at SIQ to support them on their journey.
SPARK is now expanding this model to work within 5 universities on Winter Entrepreneurship School in Jordan, where it will be implemented according to each university’s needs.