The World Bank on Saturday launched a new project to promote entrepreneurship in Jordan by providing critical, early stage financing to the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that have proven to be the engines of job creation.
The 50 million U.S. dollars project aims to support over 200 innovative start-ups from across the country, with the establishment of a private sector managed funding facility, the World Bank said in a statement, a copy of which was obtained by Xinhua.
The Innovative Startups Fund Project will help launch the "Innovative Startups and SMEs Fund" (ISSF).
The 50 million U.S. dollars investment from the World Bank will be complemented by 49 million U.S. dollars in co-financing from the Central Bank of Jordan, bringing the total working capital of the ISSF to 99 million U.S. dollars.
Along with providing early stage financing, the new fund will encourage entrepreneurship across the country with outreach to entrepreneurs from lagging regions, underserved industries and underserved groups such as women entrepreneurs.
"Jordan's business ecosystem is relatively well developed. There is no lack of innovative and creative ideas. However, startup creation is low due to some barriers in the business environment and access to finance," said Kanthan Shankar, Acting Director of the World Bank Middle East Department.
"This project puts in practice the very first recommendation of the Jordanian Economic Policy Council to set up a fund to facilitate financing to innovative startups and SMEs in an effort to increase the level of startups with high-growth potential."
The fund is expected to invest 50 million U.S. dollars in approximately 200 Jordanian companies and provide approximately 3.5 million U.S. dollars in investment support to partner investors.