Jordan, the country the size of Portugal with 9.5 million people has appeared on the startup map when Yahoo acquired Maktoob, the world’s first Arab-English email service provider in 2009.
Berlin meets Amman
Jordan is one of the most progressive Arab nations – economically and socially. Its business practices and cultural norms are incredibly flexible and open-minded providing the perfect groundwork for good ideas, diversity and a place where many expats feel at home. While in the global tech sector women represent only about 10 percent of the total workforce, in Jordan they represent about 30 percent.
Amman, in particular, is a startup hub with distinctive assets. It is an increasingly robust ecosystem including a number of accelerators and co-working spaces with international flair. The institution that’s been the biggest player, especially in building Jordan’s profile globally, has been Oasis500 – the first seed-capital fund of its kind in the MENA region.
Jordan has no natural resources, putting the ecosystem’s focus resolutely on human resources and spending immensely on education (20% of its GDP). For the population size, Jordan has an extraordinary pool of global thinkers and tech talent working with localized but also scalable ideas (Sources: Economist 2013, 1776 2014, seedstars 2017)