Startup Camp Youth Camp 2019

A partnership between our Office in Amman, Global Youth Entrepreneurs, and DART Entrepreneurship Society
News25.03.2019
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Photo from the first day of SYCASYCA

With the aim to introduce and enhance the entrepreneurial culture among high school, college and university aged students, the Startup Camp Youth Amman (SCYA) was held in Amman, which has become the regional hub for startup scene in the Middle East witnessing an increasing understanding of entrepreneurship as a valued field.

The three day program offered the participants from Amman and across the country the opportunity to innovate their ideas into reality, and network with area business, entrepreneurship and education professionals. The inaugural youth-led and oriented event in Jordan, SCYA was a collaboration between Global Youth Entrepreneurs, Princess Sumaya University for Technology, Queen Rania Center for Entrepreneurship, the DART student entrepreneurship society, and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Amman.

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In Jordan, there has been an increasing understanding of entrepreneurship as a valued field, and since the explosion of entrepreneurship only seven years ago, the Hashemite Kingdom has now become the regional hub for the startup scene in the Middle East.

Highlights

Approximately 25 Jordanian students representing half a dozen public and private high schools and universities took part in Startup Camp Youth Amman. 20 entrepreneurs, businesspeople, government officials, and field experts from across Jordan mentored the participants throughout the weekend.

The notion behind the event was borne out of the prevailing notion that young people must be at the center of innovation and business development, and that young people thus deserve the practical skills and experience to achieve barometers of excellence in those fields. The event was designed to introduce an organic framework for Jordanian youth to pursue entrepreneurship, engage in cultural exchange, and build community awareness of their potential as young people. What defines our program is that our members are youth who all have experiences in sharing our skills and backgrounds. Startup Camp Youth Amman is seventy-two hours of creative ideation, storytelling and collaboration, conferring on participants with tangible and long-lasting entrepreneurial expertise and enthusiasm.

Throughout its three days of work, SCYA geared students in the direction of social problems. Instead of tasking students with purely economic questions, mentors and facilitators invited students to first simply consider which societal problems or inefficiencies cause the most trouble and headache in their daily lives. With these notions in mind, the program then encouraged attendees to pitch ideas that would both solve a particular social issue, and carry an intrinsic economic funding source. A
custom of “social entrepreneurship,” these ideas clearly demonstrated their own need, and illustrated a much stronger case for both private and publicly sourced funding. At the end of the weekend, teams came away with prizes, feedback from experienced business and education leaders, and pairings with mentors for future consultation. While merely a start in what amounts to a lifelong practice, SCYA produced a number of viable business ideas that are being introduced to the real marketplace in Amman, and all participants were given the skills to replicate this process in the future, with some students even vowing to hold their own events for their peers in the near future.

Winning Teams and Prizes:
The judges named BUSET.COM as the first place team, a company tackling unreliable and in some cases nonexistent public transportation, a bane of existence for many Ammanis, by designing an app that will optimize bus routes and schedules based on current foot traffic. Second place was given to Team Shiny, a company designing an efficient automatic watering system for urban household gardening. Finally, Team Sakura.jo, an online platform of education games that teach through
interactive and engaging game design, won Best Presentation. All three teams earned an invitation to spend a day at Bilforon and consult with innovators there. Additionally, participants received a 10% discount on all Dish of the Day meals from Bilforon, along with a copy of a comic book on startup life
by Bilforon CEO and SCYA judge, Mohammad Albattikhi, who personally gifted the books.

 

SCYA Impact and Sustainability:
For SCYA 2019 to be a truly beneficial influence on the local community it must inaugurate a tradition of youth-led entrepreneurship initiatives in Jordan, and this outcome looks imminent given the course of the weekend. The young people who took part, many already with impressive technical skills, were emboldened by the leadership the program prompted them to display, expressing commitment to help their compatriots discover and harness their own natural entrepreneurial capabilities. Specifically, teenage participants Sham and Jana Al Bdour, already distinguished as founders of Sakura.jo, will represent the Global Youth Entrepreneurs in Jordan and lead the organizational effort for SCYA 2.0, planned for late summer or fall of 2019 and expected to welcome students from across the country. One final sphere of success is that, through the mentorship program and speaker and judge panels, SCYA brought together individuals and organizations dedicated to expanding access to resources for entrepreneurship and self-advancement among Jordanian youth. Global Youth Entrepreneurs will also host future exchange programs between secondary students in Jordan and America.