EU launches new programme to support digital economy and innovation in Jordan

Building on its continuous support to Jordan’s innovation industry, the European Union in cooperation with the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation and the Ministry for Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship, has celebrated the launch of the new EU-funded programme “Innovation for Enterprise Growth and Jobs” “Innovate Jordan”.

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Digital economic development is a joint priority for both the EU and Jordan. The ongoing COVID-19 crisis clearly emphasized the importance of digital connectivity, technologies and services to the local economy and society. Through the “Innovate Jordan” programme, the EU is investing EUR20 million to promote new initiatives that can unlock entrepreneurship and innovation potential and enhance job creation and growth in Jordan. Together with the local private sector, the EU will help companies become more competitive in local and international markets, and support innovation opportunities to boost the digital economy.

H.E. Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Dr. Wissam Al Rabadi, pointed out that this event marks the EU’s signing of three grants with three entities and coalitions from the local private sector, which makes this project special due to the private sector’s role as the engine of growth and job creation, particularly for youth. It also contributes to the local efforts under the five-year reform matrix that aims to create a more competitive economic environment, and strengthen innovation initiatives.

The minister noted that, Through innovation, the business environment will be able to provide better services and products. It is important that innovation becomes part of companies’ business strategies, which together with a focus on competition leads to better performance and productivity as innovation creates a better investment and business environment.”

For his part, H.E. Minister of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship Muthana Gharaibeh, stressed the indisputable importance of investing in innovation and accelerating the efforts that the private and public sectors are doing towards an efficient and enabling ecosystem.

“The project comes in line with the Ministry of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship’s efforts to improve digitally-enabled income opportunities and expand digitized government services in Jordan through its recently launched “Youth, Technology and Jobs (YTJ)” project,” said Minister Gharaibeh. “We are committed to empowering the citizens and residents of Jordan in their digital journey across sectors and industries, and our alignment with “Innovate Jordan” will ensure motivating and inspiring people to produce change by maximizing the impact of financial and non-financial incentive programmes in place.”

“The EU is working on a digital transformation that will benefit everyone, and will make a real difference to people’s daily lives,” said the EU Ambassador to Jordan, H.E. Maria Hadjitheodosiou. “Through 'Innovative Jordan' we are looking forward to working together with the local private sector to help businesses grow, to spark a culture of innovation among youth, and to provide more innovation facilities, financing and opportunities throughout Jordan. At the same time, by investing in innovation and digital economy, we aim to support the efforts of the Government of Jordan to alleviate the socio-economic impact of the COVID19 crisis.”

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Three major grant initiatives will be supported. The first one, implemented by a local team led by Endeavor, will help 45 local businesses to grow, scale and enhance their capacities to reach out to foreign investment and international markets.

The second grant, implemented by a team led by SAM Engineering, will establish the first Digitalization and Innovation Centre in Jordan to promote digital solutions in manufacturing, following the trends of the fourth industrial revolution.

The third and final action, implemented by Orange, will promote digital economy, skills and jobs by developing new facilities across Jordan, including: 23 digital centres, 6 coding academies, 6 FabLabs, 3 incubators and 6 Growth Accelerators.

The Digitainment Industry saw a number of sizable investments over the last 5 years, a total of $235M invested across 98 deals from 2015 to 2019. Discover more trends and insights in our 2019 Digitainment Venture Investment Report