MENACatalyst’s Amman Demo Events – an Overview
Amman, Jordan, April 23-25, 2019 – The fourth destination of MENACatalyst’s flagship Demo Events Series took place in Amman, Jordan, over a three-day period. Joining MENACatalyst this time around were a group of passionate entrepreneurs with some of the most promising startup ideas which ranged from digitalized accounting apps, alternative energy solutions, e-commerce platforms, and even on-demand tutoring services, just to name a few.
During this round of Demo Events, startups were able to delve into the intricacies of sustainably integrating into regional markets that have time and again proven integral for Palestinian industry and growth, especially with regards to the Jordanian market. Although, startups only had three days during their stay, events were organized to provide participants with the insider industry knowledge, skills and strategies needed to translate their entrepreneurial projects into viable startups.
The first day of Demo Events (April 23, 2019) was jointly hosted by MENACatalyst and Zain Innovation Campus (ZINC) and brought together startups and business experts from both Jordan and Palestine to not only share their respective entrepreneurial journeys, but more importantly to build strategic business connections and explore invaluable mentorship opportunities. In attendance were prominent industry leaders from the Palestinian diaspora, namely Bassem El-Wazir, an IT professional with over 20 of experience at one of the region’s biggest corporations, Fine Hygienic Holding; and Penelope Shihabi, Founder and CEO of one of the region’s most cutting edge biotechnology company, MonoJo.
On (April 24, 2019) MENACatalyst followed up the event at ZINC with an intense daylong event jointly organized with some of the biggest accelerators, investment companies, and entrepreneurial launching pads transforming the landscape of entrepreneurship in the region. In attendance were Luma Fawaz, CEO of Oasis500, one of Jordan’s leading accelerators; and Tamer Al-Salah, Managing Director at Beyond Capital, an organization dedicated to promoting the Jordanian entrepreneurial ecosystem by leveraging capital and expertise for emerging startups. Also in attendance from Jordanian based venture capital firm, Silicon Badia Lina Al-Araj, Manager of Corporate and Legal Affairs; and Senior Program Manager at Mercy Corps Jordan, Khaleel Najjar.
MENACatalyst and accompanying startups met with serial entrepreneur, Ziad Al-Masri, Co-founder and CMO of Varai, a tech company that builds and implements innovative B2B and B2C solutions for business in the region, to learn how to sustainably launch startups that address market needs throughout the region. In depth discussion with representatives at Umnia Business Incubator proved to be a great opportunity for participating startups to learn how to take part in Umnia’s virtual incubation programs right from their homes. The day came to a close with an orientation session with TIP (Technology Innovation Pioneers), a government based initiative aimed to advance the startup and entrepreneurial ecosystem in the UAE, allowing participating startups to have a better idea into the importance of developing startups that not only provide marketplace solutions but that are sustainable and give back to the community.
Concluding the Demo Events on (April 25, 2019), MENACatalyst organized an orientation session with Shamal Start, a leading accelerator and seed investor that specializes in creating sustainable businesses focusing on manufacturing and service sectors in northern Jordan. Touring the campus, participating startups learned how Shamal Start’s fully equipped manufacturing and technology labs provides startups with the tools and expertise needed to develop and refine workable prototypes. Shamal Start then provided an introductory session illustrating their adoption of the Lean Startup Method, including an overview of the tools and principles needed for effective implementation. In-house startups then shared their respective entrepreneurial journeys’ to highlight challenges faced and how to overcome them. Ending the day, was a mock up interview session, composed of a jury panel experienced in the field of entrepreneurship and innovation, which allowed participating startups to share their project ideas and receive invaluable feedback and potential support.
As the Amman Demo Events came to a close, participating startups expressed their excitement to put all their newfound knowledge to the test. With invaluable insights into the inner workings of regional investment firms and accelerators, game-changing business advice, regional exposure, and capitalizing on mentorship opportunities with major industry players, MENACatalyst is opening new doors and creating endless opportunities for Palestinian startups.
MENACatalyst’s ْAmman Pitch Challenge and subsequent Demo Events are jointly funded by Taawon (Welfare Association), and KOICA (Korean International Cooperation Agency).