Endeavor Jordan held its fourth annual DealMakers event in Amman last month, once again providing some of the region’s top entrepreneurs and investors with the opportunity to meet face-to-face.
The event was attended by 62 entrepreneurs, representing some of the region’s most exciting tech companies, including Mudassir Sheikha, the cofounder of the ride-hailing firm Careem, Ala’ al Sallal, the founder and CEO of the Jamalon online bookstore, Khalil Shadid, the founder and CEO of the ReserveOut restaurant reservation platform, and Mohammed al Shaker, the founder and CEO of ArabiaWeather.
Thirty-two prominent angel investors and VC funds were also in attendance to try and spot perspective new talent. “There has been this misconception that there is a brain drain of entrepreneurs and quality startups, which have migrated to the Gulf, and that Jordan has lost its position as a regional tech hub. However, this event has proven otherwise,” said Omar Sati, cofounder and managing director of DASH Ventures.
The event’s agenda included interactive workshops that focused on fundraising techniques, including the importance of accepting constructive criticism, which was facilitated by Amsterdam-based THNK School for Creative Leadership.
An investor roundtable session was also held by the Endeavor Investor Network, allowing angel investors and venture capital firms to discuss the local and regional ICT and investment ecosystems, and explore investment opportunities.
But for many, the event’s highlight were the one-on-one speed networking sessions that gave budding entrepreneurs the chance to pitch their ideas to potential investors.
Rasha Manna, the managing director of Endeavor Jordan, said the event provides entrepreneurs and investors with vast learning and investment opportunities, particularly in terms of obtaining funding to scale, which remains an issue most entrepreneurs grapple with across the region. “For this reason, we made sure that this year’s program addressed funding issues during the workshops, speeches, and panel discussions,” said Manna. “Having prominent entrepreneurs come in and give personal accounts of their own journeys was especially beneficial, and I am sure participants walked out with a renewed sense of purpose and confidence in their startups.”
Endeavor Jordan focuses on supporting job creation through helping entrepreneurs to scale their businesses. They support entrepreneurs who they see as scale-ups, rather than startups looking for seed finance. Scale ups are established businesses with a certain level of traction, a proven business model, and existing customer base that have the potential to reach the next level. By providing access to markets, talent, and networks, the organization seeks to help entrepreneurs overcome growth challenges.
Currently, there are 25 entrepreneurs in Endeavor Jordan’s network, while its board of directors includes Pharmacy 1 founder and CEO, Amjad Aryan, Zain Jordan CEO Ahmad Hanadeh, and Hikma Pharmaceuticals chairman and CEO Said Darwazah.