One size does not fit all in economic development, and while the focus in developing countries is often on integrating into the global economy and attracting large-scale foreign investment, it is easy to overlook the potential resources to expand economic opportunity that exist right at home. I’m speaking of creating opportunities for entrepreneurship and the growth of small business. In Jordan, hard hit by the global financial crisis, CIPE’s partner the Young Entrepreneurs Association is leading a drive to lower barriers to entry for would-be entrepreneurs in an effort to expand economic opportunity to a broader cross-section of Jordan’s citizens — particularly its youth, who are increasingly realizing that they will not be able to rely on the state for a job as in generations past.
Dubbed Sawtouna, or ‘our voice,’ YEA’s advocacy effort has already succeeded in lowering the capital requirements to start a limited liability company from 30,000 Jordanian dinars to a mere 1,000. This eliminated a major hurdle for those who have a good idea but must rely primarily on ‘sweat equity’ to get it off the ground.
And YEA was not content to stop there. In the video above, former YEA Executive Director Ayman Azzeh describes the origins of YEA’s effort and the issues Sawtouna is tackling for the future.
This is the second in a series of videos highlighting CIPE partners’ successes in the advocacy arena in the MENA region. Click here to see last week’s entry, and check back for more in the weeks to come!