© 2016 Dave G. / J. Zam
The Investment Desert
In order to start a business, there is one thing that’s needed before anything else: an idea. Whether it be a world-changing innovation, a creative twist on an old concept, or something much more humble, a viable business idea is always at the root of the beginnings of a business. After this, entrepreneurs often share their ideas with skilled accomplices, people who can contribute with their abilities and experience, and also with friends and family, who can provide both and emotional and—sometimes—financial support.
This first influx of cash to start a business is known as the seed investment round. This often represents the money needed for the entrepreneur to quit his job and pursue the business idea full-time, or it can be the money to buy much-needed equipment, real estate, or proprietary technology. It all, of course, depends on the business in question. After this initial cash input, entrepreneurs enter what is arguably the hardest time of starting a business—a desert, in a way of speaking, devoid of real opportunities to attract investment.
It is difficult to attract attention from major investors without making a big splash, either through achieving significant sales, fame, or notoriety in some way. Most companies, even ones with great people and ideas, often won’t be able to get past the early days without another round of investment, and will be forced to fold the company. In the small Middle-Eastern Kingdom of Jordan, however, one company is working to provide an oasis for startups from the region during this rough time: Oasis500, the number one startup accelerator in the Middle East.
From Jordan to the MENA Region
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, commonly referred to simply as Jordan, is a small country located at the intercontinental meeting point of Asia, Africa, and Europe. With a population of about 9.5 million, a long history, and a charismatic and influential King, Jordan is a place that thrives despite the chaos that has surrounded it over the past few decades, with neighbors such as Iraq, Syria, Israel, and Palestine seemingly always making the news for the wrong reasons.
Jordan has done well to carve out a steady, diversified economy in the desert. It is a major tourist destination in the region, with an estimated 100,000 well-preserved ancient archaeological sites and tourist destinations attracting millions of visitors from Europe and the Arab world each year. Though lacking in water, Jordan benefits from ample natural resources such as the minerals phosphate and uranium, and it has, in reserve, one of the largest deposits of oil-shale in the world. With some of the world’s best infrastructure, excellent health services, and world-class education, Jordan has a lot going for it in terms of maximizing its human potential. Jordan’s economy has solid fundamentals and great potential for future growth.
With so many well-educated, creative, and driven young people emerging from Jordan each year, the presence of a vibrant startup scene was inevitable, and Oasis500 has helped these companies achieve their full potentials.
Oasis500; Turning Creativity into Action
© 2016 Dave G. / J. Zam
Based in Jordan’s capital and largest city Amman, Oasis500 is serving an important role in the development of economies all over the region. The name evokes the existence of the aforementioned “investment desert” that exists between the angel stage, usually small amounts of funding from friends and family, and the large, full-scale investments from Venture Capital firms that typically occur much later in a company’s growth stages. Just as Jordan serves as an oasis among the conflict that often surrounds it, Oasis500 is a refreshing change of pace from the grind of attaining capital early in a business’s lifecycle.
Oasis500 is a leader in providing angel investing and mentoring of new entrepreneurs. It focuses on IT startups, and startups in the cultural and creative industries. With its comprehensive approach, that includes the development of both the companies and the entrepreneurs running them, it has invested in dozens and dozens of companies from around the MENA region, with initial funding typically amounting in the $30,000 to $50,000 range.
In order to expand its operations, Oasis500 has established an invitation-only network of Angel Investors, connecting mentors and investors with promising entrepreneurs. Oasis500 also regularly offers intensive, 4 day workshops where aspiring entrepreneurs can gain valuable knowledge and insights in starting and running their own businesses, and also have the chance to pitch their ideas for refinement and possible investment.
For providing an indispensable service for young entrepreneurs, encouraging and investing in innovation, and helping to develop the economies of the MENA region, Business Initiative Directions would be honored to present Oasis500 with the 2016 BID Quality Award, one of the world’s most prestigious recognitions for organizational excellence.
ABOUT BID AND THE INTERNATIONAL QUALITY SUMMIT AWARD:
BID is a private and independent organization founded in 1984, whose primary activity is business communication orientated towards quality, excellence and innovation in management. A leader in the broadcasting of Quality Culture, BID recognizes those companies and organizations which lead the most important activities in the business world, and is considered the founding organization in the broadcasting of the Culture of Quality, Excellence and Innovation in 179 countries. The trophy symbolizes a pledge to the principles of Quality Culture. The QC100 Total Quality Management Model, together with the Quality Mix program, media coverage of the convention and its impact on the community and business sector, create an unmatched platform for continuous improvement within the organization and awareness of the achievements of the company at an international level. Awards are given only to those who are committed to improving their Quality Culture based on the principles of the QC100 Total Quality Management Model. Candidates are proposed by the leaders of previously awarded companies who they consider worthy of the award. Especially meritorious candidates may also be nominated. The International BID Quality Award Selection Committee then chooses the winning companies who will receive the award in New York, Paris, Geneva, Frankfurt, Madrid and London.