More than 70% of Jordan's population is under 30 years of age, and Jordan's young people aged 20-29 make up 61% of the country's unemployed. Young women are hit particularly hard by a lack of employment opportunities, with almost double the number of unemployed females, despite the fact that 78% of those women are educated. Tamweelcom, Noor Al Hussein Foundation’s leading microfinance company, has made the empowerment of youth a top priority, as evidenced by a range of youth-oriented programming including "Fekrati," a competition for aspiring young entrepreneurs.
Launched in February 2014, Fekrati aims to create jobs and improve economic opportunities for young Jordanians. It is made possible in partnership with Qatar-based social initiative Silatech, which provides in-kind and financial grants to Jordanian youth between the ages of 18 and 35 to those whose pioneering ideas are selected to become a reality. From over 750 applications, 52% were submitted byyoung women, and of the 106 finalists, 46% of those selected were female. Those that were selected will undergo a rigorous 40-hour training program to develop a solid business plan; from the applicants who will make it past the training phase, 12 will be selected for an ongoing mentorship program in addition to seed capital in the form of soft loansin order to establish feasible businesses and secure their futures.
Today, a few of the aspiring entrepreneurs shared their innovative business ideas at a launch event located at Tamweelcom's headquarters. Her Majesty Queen Noor attended to learn about each young entrepreneur's bourgeoning business and listen to their reflections on the training process. "I am constantly inspired by young people in Jordan – they have extraordinary energy, creativity, and initiative, but they face tremendous obstacles in turning their dreams into a reality," Her Majesty said at today's event. "Today, Tamweelcom has launched yet another innovativeenterprise to enable young people to realize their dreams and contribute to national and regional development."
For more information about Tamweelcom, Jordan's Microfinance company, or the Fekrati initiative, check out www.tamweelcom.org.