Entrepreneurship empowers communities, encourages innovation, creates jobs, and spurs economic growth. Women entrepreneurs, in particular, are becoming a powerful force for growth, peace, and stability in their communities despite the challenges they face.
In order to empower women entrepreneurs and provide them with the skills necessary to create jobs and effect positive change in their communities, the Open Hands Initiative (OHI) hosted its first Fellowship for Young Women Entrepreneurs in Jordan in 2015. Our program provided startup founders with intensive training, mentoring, coaching, and access to funding. By supporting young entrepreneurs in overcoming barriers to growth, and connecting women in business from different cultures, OHI helped promote knowledge sharing and expanded the network of stakeholders who are part of the global startup community.
Our two week entrepreneurship boot camp and pitch day provided an opportunity to amplify the impact of 20 young female entrepreneurs from the United States and Jordan. The program encompassed entrepreneurial training, mentoring, team projects, and a pitch competition with more than $150,000 in grant prizes.
Fellows gained valuable insight from accomplished business executives and investors, while working together to share knowledge, develop their business chops, refine business models, and network. In addition to the program, fellows were also offered a year of complimentary membership to a professional women's network. This fellowship is part of our Commitment to Action as members of the Clinton Global Initiative.
Through a week of educational programming - including lectures, site visits, mentorship sessions and collaborative team projects - our fellows developed the skills and networks necessary for entrepreneurial success. Special guest speakers - such as startup founders, educators, government officials and investors - provided insight and expert guidance alongside experienced instructors from the Angel Resource Institute's Women First Enterprise.
At the end of the program, each entrepreneur had the opportunity to pitch her business idea to investors. A panel of judges selected six winning proposals (three American and three Jordanian), each of whom received cash prizes and mentoring to help grow their businesses.
Jordan is a long-standing ally and friend of the United States. It is a rock for stability, peace, and development in the Middle East, as well as a home of proud traditions and honor. Jordan is also a hub for startups and innovation --areas that serve as common ground for both American and Jordanian entrepreneurs.
OHI seeks to expand people-to-people connections, promote mutual respect, and foster understanding between the United States and Jordan by leveraging the power of entrepreneurship. While generating new opportunities, creating jobs, and spurring economic growth represent some of the most rewarding returns of entrepreneurship, they require the perfect combination of talent, training, and funding to prosper. OHI has aimed to bring these elements together by providing training, mentorship, and capital in the companies of young women entrepreneurs from both countries. The hope is that these efforts will encourage economic development, promote knowledge sharing, and expand the network of stakeholders within Jordan and throughout the region.
The success of our programs depends on the network of partners we engage and the people-to-people connections forged from these unique experiences. We are proud to count the following organizations among our partners for the Fellowship.
We actively seek partners — individuals and organizations — from around the world in order to advance our common goals. Please contact us by mail, phone or email to find out more about getting involved.
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