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The Levant’s rising digital economy creates new opportunities for tech entrepreneurs

Startups in Jordan and the Palestinian Territories will be vital in driving the Levant's Digital Economy and job creation for technology talents, SAP announced at the Start-up Focus Event in Amman, hosted by startup enabler and technology company SAP and supported by Zain Innovation Campus (ZINC) and USAID West Bank and Gaza through its Compete Project.

Technology is a cornerstone of diversified economic growth for both countries, with their national development plans calling on leveraging technology to drive job creation for highly-educated entrepreneurs. Jordan's National ICT Strategy, for example, aims to more than double ICT investment to US $ 450 million, increase ICT revenues to US $ 3 billion, and create more than 4,000 jobs by 2017.

Startup Focus, which was launched in the Middle East in 2015, is now helping eligible Jordanian and Palestinian start-ups, whose product ideas are based on Big Data, predictive or real-time analytics solutions, to accelerate the development of their solutions, and assist in bringing their solutions to market.

"Tech startups can drive Jordanian and Palestinian diversified economies, and Zain is committed to joining forces with global and local partners to activate and ignite the Levant's startup ecosystem. By providing innovative entrepreneurs with hands-on mentorship and guidance, we aim to make their startups profitable, change daily lives and businesses, and drive the region's Digital Economy," said Ahmed Hanandeh, CEO, Zain Jordan.

"Emphasizing that entrepreneurship is of paramount importance to the regional economy and society, USAID is pleased to support initiatives like SAP Startup Focus, which drive the creation of an entrepreneurial eco-system in the West Bank and Gaza and beyond," stated Jonathan Kamin, Acting Mission Director of USAID West Bank and Gaza.

"This partnership is integrated with USAID's objective to develop and enhance the Palestinian ICT sector by helping Palestinian companies grow and increase their competitiveness, thereby enabling them to enter regional and international markets and attract global investment."

Selected Palestinian and Jordanian start-ups now have the chance to develop their solutions on the SAP HANA real-time analytics platform, receive free support from technical experts to help them bring their ideas to life and make the best use of the SAP HANA cloud platform.

Participating start-ups have access to a community network of entrepreneurs, partners, investors, thought leaders and industry experts. Once validated, start-ups can pitch to SAP's ecosystem of more than 335,000 customers worldwide.  

"Jordanian and Palestinian entrepreneurs are among the best and brightest in the region, and SAP's Training and Development Institute has seen strong success in developing youth in the ICT sector. Now we are advancing our commitment to digital transformation and upskilling local talent by helping to bring the most game-changing local Big Data analytics solutions to a global marketplace," said Marita Mitschein, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, SAP Training and Development Institute.

Worldwide, Startup Focus has engaged with more than 3,750 start-ups across 59 countries and 22 industries, bringing more than 225 of their validated solutions to market since 2013.