Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors of Oasis500 emphasizes that “a Successful Entrepreneur Learns More from Failure than from Success”.
Dr. Usama Fayyad, the Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors of the training and rehabilitation of entrepreneurial projects in the communication, information technology, and digital content company (Oasis500), emphasized that the company’s operations, which aim at motivating entrepreneurs to start up their own projects in the field of information technology and enhancing the growth of these companies, target all the spectra of the Jordanian society and in all the governorates, without bias in favor of any age group, and without being hindered by issues of gender, or social or economic background of the entrepreneur.
In an interview with Oasis500 Blog, Fayyad stated that misconceptions and false images are being circulated about the company and its activities. These misconceptions claim that Oasis500’s operations are targeting youth from the rich social classes of western Amman, who strive to form their private projects in order to achieve their dreams of success in this field.
Fayyad, however, stressed that “the Fund’s operations and programs are directed at all social classes and the various governorates of the Kingdom, and at all age groups from both genders, married or single. Entrepreneurship and creativity are not restricted to a specific age or a specific social class, because they are related to talents and intellect.” He pointed out that entrepreneurship is not an easy path as some may expect, but one filled with obstacles and difficulties, and the entrepreneur must expect stages of major difficulties and the potential for failure, especially when he becomes more involved in the market, and while marketing his products and services.
Fayyad summed up: “The entrepreneurial fabric of the Fund includes various classes and entrepreneurs from different governorates of the Kingdom, and from diverse social classes.”
Fayyad said that the entrepreneur must learn from failure, because failure teaches us more than success, especially when we examine the reasons behind the failure objectively and realistically, far from dreams and aspirations, even if we do have outstanding skills.
Fayyad, who formerly occupied the position of Yahoo!’s chief data officer & Executive VP, added: “The Oasis500 Fund is relatively new, and I believe that people in Amman, due to their knowledge of the concept of entrepreneurship more than others, were pioneers in our program. After clarifying this point, many people who joined our program came from various parts of Jordan, especially Irbid, Karak, and Salt. We have so far invested in two companies from Irbid, one of which, Fawk Al-Sadah, is making great progress in its business.”
Fayyad added: “We call on entrepreneurs everywhere to attend and participate in the Oasis500 training program, where we provide them with opportunities to pay reduced fees, and provide them with transportation to attend the training in Amman. All the above is available as part of the support from the Arab Partnership Program sponsored by the British Embassy, which assisted us in expanding our operations to reach Jordanian governorates, and to host a training program in Irbid last year. In addition, King Abdullah II Development Fund and the United States Embassy, in cooperation with the Jordanian government, provide funds to attract qualified candidates from the governorates, paying their expenses to attend training in Amman.”
As for the idea that this is an elitist company, Fayyad emphasized that this idea “is totally baseless. Our social fabric includes a mixture from different social backgrounds.” He indicated that the Fund focuses on “qualifications, persistence, determination and an understanding of the market” in training and qualifying entrepreneurs.
It is noteworthy that the Oasis500 Fund was established through a contribution from the King Abdullah II Development Fund, and a number of private sector companies in May 2010, to be the first fund of its kind at the level of the Middle East and North Africa. The Fund aims at supporting nascent entrepreneurial projects through the provision of necessary training and financing, for the purpose of expediting the transfer of entrepreneurial project ideas to nascent and promising companies in areas of communications, information technology, cellular phones and digital media and information.
The Fund strives to expedite the launch of 500 nascent companies over the next five years, which is considered an incentive for ambitious entrepreneurs. It also affects in a positive manner the creation of job opportunities in sectors considered to be the fastest-growing internationally. Since the first training program (training camps) was launched in September 2010, the Fund has organized 20 training camps thus far, which trained over 850 entrepreneurs. The Fund also invested in 57 companies.
Among the 20 training camps organized by Oasis500, the Fund organized one training camp in Irbid governorate and another in Ramallah in Palestine. The rest were in Amman, at the Fund’s headquarters in the King Hussein Business Park; the headquarters carrying the name “Nijm” after it was officially inaugurated by His Majesty King Abdullah II last year.
To this end, Fayyad said that the Fund will continue to emphasize the idea of extending the Fund’s operations and programs to include all the governorates of the Kingdom, and even the neighboring countries. He pointed out that the Fund intends to hold training camps in neighboring Arab countries.
He explained: “We look forward to holding a training camp in Beirut in the middle of this year, and perhaps another one in Dubai. As for training camps in the governorates, entrepreneurs throughout Jordan may join our monthly training camps in Amman, and we will help them to do so by providing transportation. Our experience from the training camp we held in Irbid taught us that it is better for entrepreneurs in the governorates to come to Amman to meet their counterparts from Amman and other countries, to mingle with them and meet company managers and other important people. We are in the process of establishing centers in the governorates to help attract entrepreneurs and provide them with support, after they pass training. We are also assigning representatives in all governorates.”
As for women’s participation in the Fund’s operations and programs, Fayyad explained: “We have seen many women participating in the establishment of companies in the field of information and communications, and we are presently seeing many examples that testify to the companies established by women and that we invested in. The current average of entrepreneurial women who received training at Oasis500 is about 22%, but the amazing thing is that the number of women entrepreneurs represents 38% of the Fund’s investments, and hence, relatively speaking, women have proved better successes than men in obtaining basic investments.
Fayyad added: “Historically, women have never had real opportunities to prove themselves and their presence. Oasis500 is considered one of the first companies that provide real opportunities to men and women on equal footing. This is the reason we are seeing women participation that exceeds expectations. In my opinion, historical ratios are but the result of the social pattern that compels women to stay at home. We are now seeing that the availability of opportunities have allowed women to take the initiative and achieve successes beyond all expectations.”
In the upcoming stages, Oasis500 Fund will be striving to increase its capital to 10 million dollars, according to Fayyad. This is an indication of the Fund’s successful idea and the private sector companies’ keenness, locally, regionally, and internationally, to participate in the Fund’s capital.
Regarding these approaches to expand the Fund’s operations, Fayyad said: “A few months ago, we launched a new investment track for existing companies, in cooperation with financial and investment companies, including ATH Holdings, Wamdah Company, and MENA Ventures. This approach is aimed at companies that have been in the market for one or two years, and are seeking to achieve a larger growth locally, regionally and internationally, and aspire to obtain financing investments for the initial and later stages from the Fund.”
He added: “We are excited about launching our new investment track, which will help us target a new sector of new small and medium sized Jordanian companies. It will also enable us to provide the support that these companies need to expand the scope of their work. This new track will permit us to provide investment financing of over half a million dollars, in cooperation with Accelerator Technology Holdings, Wamdah Company, and MENA Ventures. These companies will support Oasis500 Fund in evaluating the candidates for the necessary financing, and in monitoring them to obtain larger financing investment.