The Jordan Green Building Council strengthens the green building sector in Jordan by providing its members with expertise and networks crucial for success.
CIPE’s work described in this story was made possible by a grant from USAID LENS to support and upgrade the services of business associations in Jordan to better serve their micro and small business members.
Mohammad Rateb didn’t think twice about becoming a builder. He studied civil engineering at university and pursued a successful career working for large construction and real estate development companies in Amman. He did think twice about opening his own company, however. It was a big leap to leave a secure job to become an entrepreneur.
In 2010, he and a colleague established Moka’ab Construction, and Mohammad hasn’t looked back since. His company has grown to 13 employees and he has been able to pursue his dream of being part of the green building movement in Jordan. Around 40 percent of the homes and commercial and industrial buildings his firm constructs include green elements and efficiencies. “I take great satisfaction from constructing beautiful, elegant, cost-effective buildings that improve people’s quality of life.”
One of the keys to Mohammad’s success has been keeping up to date with new technologies and practices in his field to help his company stand out in Jordan’s competitive construction industry. To access high quality, internationally-certified training in green building technologies, and networks of like-minded entrepreneurs and professionals, Mohammad joined the Jordan Green Building Council (Jordan GBC). The Council is a non-profit, member-based organization that supports the green building business sector in Jordan and encourages the adoption of green concepts and practices for planning, designing and developing the green built environment.
The Jordan GBC, founded in 2009, consists of corporate and individual members. Most member companies are micro or small enterprises. Members come from a diverse range of sectors including construction, manufacturing, engineering, energy service and solutions providers and consultants, and companies that service the green building industry such as architects, banks and insurers.
The Council provides a wide selection of member services, including trade missions to access new markets, exhibitions to promote member products and services, job fairs to match employers with qualified labor, and networking events. The association also offers courses through its Green Academy, a training institute that delivers internationally accredited training in a range of green building technologies, rating systems and best practices.
Vice Chair of Jordan GBC, Ismael Al-Hinti, says the Council plays a vital role by increasing competitiveness and professionalism among enterprises operating in the burgeoning green building sector. When he started his energy services company, ETA-max, in 2011, there was very little institutional or individual expertise in green building concepts or technologies in Jordan. “The leadership and expertise provided by Jordan GBC has been a major factor in the development of the sector.”
Ismael also credits the networking events offered by the association as helping enterprises, including his own, make the connections needed to create new business opportunities. He says that smaller and micro businesses particularly benefit from these events as it gives them access to potential business partners, bankers, lawyers, and investors; contacts they often struggle to access. “Jordan GBC is not just for larger corporations; we also embrace startups and smaller businesses as they are essential to the growth of the sector.”
The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) has been providing technical assistance to Jordan GBC to help the association increase its organizational effectiveness and expand member services. CIPE’s work with the association is made possible by a grant from FHI360 under the USAID Jordan Local Enterprise Support (LENS) Project. Customized assistance on membership services, governance, financial sustainability and fundraising have helped make the organization more sustainable and better able to service its members. The association is currently working with CIPE on further enhancing its membership services package, including the development of its advocacy capabilities with the aim of formulating a regulatory reform platform to boost the sector’s competitiveness.
CIPE has also sponsored a number of training courses to help the association fully leverage its international networks to provide education on cutting edge technologies, delivered by internationally recognized trainers. For example, a CIPE-supported Jordan GBC training on net zero carbon buildings, held in January 2018, was the first training on this topic to be held in the MENA Region.
Jordan GBC’s Executive Director Ala’a Abdulla says the best practices and association management expertise shared by CIPE helped take her organization to the next level in terms of sustainability and institutional strength. “Building our capacity to manage our association more effectively directly impacts the value we can provide our members in terms of services offered.”
Providing members with services to help them start and grow their businesses will continue to be a key focus of the organization. Ala’a sees the potential in the industry as far reaching. “Green building engages a wide range of sectors in the economy, from engineers to entrepreneurs to technicians. There are a lot of untapped business opportunities out there for micro and small enterprises. We are working every day to connect our members to those opportunities.”
For more information on USAID LENS visit: jordanlens.org
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