Falko Walde, FNF, Ralf Erbel, FNF, HE Yarub Qudah, JEDCO, Lina Hundaileh, YEA, Ahmad Asfour, YEA
“To develop further, Jordan needs small and medium (SMEs) as well as large enterprises. And they need to be active in all of Jordan, not just in Amman. That is why we encourage entrepreneurs to start their businesses in all governorates and stand ready to help them”, said the CEO of the Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation (JEDCO), H.E. Yarub Qudah.
Mr. Qudah made the remarks during an event hosted on Wednesday morning by the Young Entrepreneurs Association (YEA) and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty (FNF) as part of their “Jordan Economic Breakfast Series” (JEBS). Entitled “Increasing the Competitiveness of SMEs in a Troubling Economy”, the lecture was attended by more than 90 persons from entrepreneurship, academia, politics, diplomacy, and civil society.
Emphasizing the important role that private sector development corporations have ought to play, Ralf Erbel, Director of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation in Jordan, said during the opening session: “To any reasonable mind, it is clear that the Jordanian state cannot and must not further bloat the public sector. The public sector’s capacity to absorb employment seekers has reached its limit. Rather, new government policies are required that encourage and support the private sector, in particular its SMEs and upcoming entrepreneurs to unfold the economy’s potential, to the benefit not of a small elite, but society at large.
Over the course of the event, Mr. Qudah addressed the perspectives of the Governorate Development Fund and the impact of JEDCO’s Export Promotion Project.“97 percent of Jordan’s businesses are Small and Medium Enterprises. They contribute more than half of Jordan’s GDP and three quarters of all jobs created”, Mr. Qudah said but pointed out: “We need to do more. Unemployment outside Amman is twice as high as in the capital.” At the same time, the JEDCO CEO said that the government had to stop solving the unemployment problem by employing people directly. Instead, he called on fostering the entrepreneurial spirit in Jordan: “Any Jordanian with an innovative idea should approach JEDCO. Whether you start, grow or diversify your business, do look for our support”? Between 2012-2016 JEDCO has 300 million US-Dollars at its disposal to support businesses in Jordan, through its Venture Capital Funds and the SME Financing Program. All economically feasible projects, with high economic and social added value and the ability to create employment opportunities are of interest to JEDCO, concluded Mr. Qudah.