Oasis500 held its first GIST Hub meetup last month after signing with VentureWells, a US State Department initiative to empower young innovators through networking, skills building, mentoring, and access to finance.
As a new member of the GIST network, Oasis500 was invited to become one of the innovation hubs within the VentureWells network and they accepted, said Suleiman Arabiat, head of operations at Oasis500.
Laith Irqsasi, the founder of an online print shop, MENAPrint, drove to Amman from Aqaba to attend the first GIST Hub. “It’s very important, I need to know what they are doing this year because I just launched my website and I need to stay in touch,” he said.
Irqsasi has been involved with Oasis500 since it began in 2010. He faced challenges popularizing MENAPrint because online print work and electronic payment methods were not widely used in Jordan.
But since an increasing number of consumers across the Middle East are shifting towards settling their payments using electronic cards, he is working to ensure the service he provides is reliable, in order to fulfill customer needs.
Since its inception, Oasis500 has invested in 147 business ideas but more than 60 percent of them have closed down. Forty are still alive and only 20 to 25 businesses have remained active and are actually working, said Arabiat.