Most companies in the Kingdom are considering relocating abroad, according to a new survey from Endeavor Jordan, the business mentorship group.
Of the 125 companies surveyed, 72 percent said they were considering moving their headquarters abroad. Of these, over half said they would only relocate their headquarters or legal entity, while the remainder were considering shifting their whole operation.
Some of the main reasons cited for wanting to relocate were a desire to access larger markets, high taxation, and regulatory instability. Most respondents named the UAE in specific as the destination they would consider relocating to, followed by the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain. Not only that, but 60 percent of businesses said if they were to start over, then they would certainly start abroad.
“We are constantly on the lookout for high-impact entrepreneurs to add to our pipeline –those who lead high-growth, innovative businesses that can create material wealth and employment in Jordan,” Endeavor Jordan Managing Director Rasha Manna said. “We find this search to be quite challenging as many company founders of this required caliber have already relocated, or are seriously considering relocating to markets they perceive as more favorable.”
To announce the survey’s findings, Endeavor held a roundtable that brought together government representatives and the Kingdom’s most prominent entrepreneurs. Not only did most participants adhere to Manna’s directions to keep it a positive and solution-finding session, but most of those who spoke during the event were quite positive.
Hala Zawati, CEO of the Jordan Strategy Forum, believed that although the findings were negative, it was still positive that the main reasons why these businesses wanted to migrate were internal challenges that could be addressed. She added that even those businesses that are outside Jordan eventually bring money and business back to the Kingdom.
Faisal Hakki, Oasis500 CEO, labeled this migration as organic. “Maybe we can reverse part of it, but Jordan will remain a feeder of human capital and business into the region because it is a small market,” said Hakki, adding that it was only natural for businesses that start off in Jordan to expand elsewhere.
Nevertheless, Manna called for a national strategy that would encourage businesses to remain in the Kingdom. “Any rectification of the local entrepreneurial ecosystem requires the support, collective efforts and long-term commitment of all relevant stakeholders from the public and private sectors backed by a cohesive government strategy that develops a consistent policy framework. Only then can we increase the confidence and ability of entrepreneurs and investors to grow companies in Jordan.”