Struggling to find work is a shared experience for young people worldwide. However, in a country experiencing high levels of unemployment, Jordan's youth are doubly challenged, particularly women. Unemployment among young people is more than twice the national unemployment rate, leaving youth vulnerable to poverty. Of the Kingdoms unemployed, 61% are young people, and of those, 63% are females.
Many Jordanian youth are extremely ambitious, challenging the difficult circumstances in order to achieve their dreams. Yet, they are struggling to compete in the market not only due to lack of capital but also due to lack of knowledge, capacity, and skills. Globally, studies show that only 1 out of every 10 enterprises that are given capital alone will be successful (TechRepublic USA).
To empower such youth, Tamweelcom in cooperation with Qatar-based social initiative Silatech launched the Fekrati Award for Entrepreneurship early this year under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Noor Al Hussein. Fekrati is a competition for aspiring young entrepreneurs to improve their economic opportunities by receiving business literacy training, seed money, and mentorship to turn innovative entrepreneurial ideas into realities. A unique approach that goes beyond the prize money, it supports youth for three years, developing their capacities to ensure the success of their businesses.
The Fekrati team toured the Kingdom, raising awareness amongst youth age 18 -35 and received over 750 applications, of which 52% were submitted by young women. The 106 finalists, 46% of which were female, were chosen for their innovative business ideas and went through a rigorous 40-hour training program to develop their individual business plans.
The prize evaluation committees comprised of local experts selected the best 12 business plans, 8 of which were submitted by women. The winners, in an award ceremony held on 21 of October under Talal Abu Ghazaleh's patronage, were granted up to JD7000 in seed capital, soft loans with zero interest, and ongoing mentorship for 3 years. The prize chose 2 winners out of each of the 6 business categories which are: Commercial Enterprises, Service Enterprises, Industrial Enterprises, Manufacturing Enterprises, Green Enterprises and Social Enterprises.