(MENAFN - Jordan Times) A regional initiative launched on Wednesday is inviting new technology and science business ventures in Jordan and other Arab states to compete for up to 1 million in investments.
Technology and science start-ups in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt and Palestine that are no less than one year old can apply to the Commercialisation Tour at www.comm-tour.com, ESCWA Technology Centre Executive Director Fouad Mrad said at the launch.
Applicants will compete for investments ranging from 100,000 to 1 million from regional investors, Mrad added.
The deadline for submitting applications is July 31, after which judges from the selected states will be in charge of evaluating the applications and selecting 10 from each country.
The 50 winning ventures will be announced in early October, after which they will have the chance to meet with investors from their countries and the region who are ready to invest in their projects.
The programme will be implemented in cooperation between ESCWA, El Hassan Business Park, the Talal Abu Ghazaleh Organisation (TAG-Org) and the Licensing Executives Society-Arab Countries.
"The real problem in the Arab world is linking innovators with investors and this project seeks to address this gap," Talal Abu Ghazaleh, chairman and CEO of TAG-Org, said at a press conference on Wednesday, noting that the project would help create jobs and spur economic growth.
According to Mrad, the initiative will be launched again in 2013 to cover other Arab states.
"Every year, four or five new Arab states will be covered by the initiative," he said.
Mrad said small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) play a major role in creating jobs in the Arab world, where unemployment rates are high, especially among youth.
"SMEs in Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt contribute about 50 per cent to the gross domestic product and create about 60 per cent of jobs," he said.