Under the patronage of H. E. Minister of Labour, Mr. Samir Murad, the European Union (EU), Oxfam and Plan International held a ceremony in the Chamber of Industry to launch two new projects aimed at promoting sustainable social entrepreneurship as a high potential driver of socioeconomic inclusion of disadvantaged and marginalised groups in Jordan.
Social enterprises use business to develop and implement solutions to social, cultural and environmental issues while ensuring a balance between profit and mission.
The ceremony was held in the presence of H.E. Minister of Social Development, Basma Ishaqat, the EU Ambassador to Jordan, H.E. Mr. Andrea Matteo Fontana, representatives from the Jordanian public and private sector and several civil society organisations and social enterprises.
H.E Mr. Murad, stated in his welcoming speech, that “This programme, organised in cooperation between the European Union, Oxfam and Plan International, aims to launch two new projects to ensure the sustainability of social enterprises and drive greater social and economic inclusion for the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups in Jordan. This initiative aims to promote partnership between the public and private sectors and the community, and to find effective policies that ensure the continuation of this trend and promote a culture of economic and social entrepreneurship."
For his part, H.E. Mr. Fontana said: "Social entrepreneurship has evolved into an innovative business model that helps bring about change and reflects positively on local communities. We are eager to share the EU's experience with Jordan to improve its business environment, most notably by linking our incubators with social entrepreneurs, who are looking to create positive change in their communities by finding sustainable solutions for existing problems."
During the ceremony, a short video introduced the social enterprise ‘Souq Fann’, an innovative online platform that supports small local businesses in marketing and selling their goods. The film showed the positive impact of the social enterprise model in terms of inclusive jobs and integration of women, youth, people with disabilities and displaced people into the economy.
The two projects funded by the EU will be implemented respectively by Oxfam and Plan International. Their overall objective is to ensure that social enterprises can benefit from customized services and products that will assist them in scaling up their businesses and social mission. Such services will be provided by Social Enterprise Support Organizations (SESOs), which will be supported through the two projects to develop their offer based on understanding and knowledge around the importance of social entrepreneurship in creating inclusive and decent jobs and contributing to economic growth.
Oxfam’s project, ‘JOinUP! - Creating an Inclusive, More Connected and Better Resourced Social Entrepreneurship Eco-System’, will aim to leverage the potential of the Social Entrepreneurship model for a greater social impact in terms of socioeconomic inclusion of women, youth, people with disabilities and refugees in Jordan. It will work with a local partner and allies to increase the quality and accessibility of services offered to social enterprises to grow, with a specific emphasis on social enterprises led by women. It will also award grants to social enterprises selected for their potential in terms of economic sustainability and scalability while bringing about inclusive job creation, social innovation and women's economic empowerment in both urban and rural areas.
Oxfam’s Country Director in Jordan, Ms. Nivedita Monga said, “Social enterprises challenge the traditional notions of what business is meant to achieve. It is more than what balance sheets can capture about profit and loss. Critically, in a country like Jordan, such innovative approaches are essential for women, youth, people with disability, refugees and individuals in disadvantaged circumstances, to gain a foothold on local economic growth by becoming viable economic actors themselves.”
Plan International will be implementing the other project titled "Mubaderoon, Enterprises for social change: Strengthening social enterprise initiatives to combat poverty and exclusion in Jordan”. Ms. Muna Abbas, the Head of Mission of Plan International Jordan stated, “1 in 3 young people in Jordan are unemployed. It is a staggering figure that needs to be addressed. Young people need both skills and opportunities to succeed in life and in the world of work. We believe that social enterprises can be a strong driver to achieve this. A strong driver of social and economic benefits not only for the young social entrepreneurs themselves but also for their peers, their families, their communities and the Jordanian society at large”.
Both projects will have a duration of two and a half years and will be implemented across multiple governorates in the kingdom including Irbid, Karak, Tafileh, Ajloun and East Amman. The initiative will target both urban and rural areas to promote inclusive job creation, social innovation and women's economic empowerment.