The World Bank has signed a pact with the Jordanian Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation to provide a loan worth $50 million to set up the Innovative Startups Fund.
The Central Bank of Jordan will also support the fund with $48 million, the Planning Minister Imad Fakhoury said.
The project will be implemented and operated by the Jordan Loan Guarantee Corporation.
“The fund translates one of the key recommendations of the Economic Policy Council almost a year ago and is in line with the Jordan 2025 Vision, and the recently adopted Jordan Economic Growth Plan 2018-2022,” Fakhoury said.
“These blueprints seek to enhance economic growth by providing support to innovative and entrepreneurial micro- small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that create jobs and contribute to the national economy,” he said.
“The fund will help potential entrepreneurs develop business ideas, connect them with business incubators and provide venture capital to SMEs that prove their ability for sustainability and growth,” Fakhoury said.
It will also support 200 innovative business ideas across the country.
SMEs make up to 75% of the Jordanian economy, said World Bank’s regional director for the Mashreq region Saroj Kumar Jha.
The establishment of the fund is an effort towards achieving sustainable growth in the Kingdom, Jha said.
The decision as to where to invest will be taken by a specialized private sector committee that will follow a clear selection criteria to ensure transparency and efficiency, said Mohammad Jafari, general manager of the Jordan Loan Guarantee Corporation.
The fund will invest in projects and in other funds that operate in Jordan, Jafari said.
In April, The Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation (JEDCO), along with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), launched a $1.3 million project titled ‘Supporting Jordan in improving policies of small- and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs).
The move aims to improve the capabilities of SMEs in developing policies and increasing coordination between public and private institutions, among others.