posted on May 18, 2011

Jordan’s entrepreneurial heat wave.

Amman, Jordan, 18 May 2011 @4:30 pm….From technology to animation to adventure travel, Jordan is home to a host of rising entrepreneurial stars. The Jordan Fast Growth 30, a project of AllWorld Network, highlights the fastest growing businesses in Jordan, private companies with proven track records of growth.

The Jordan30 bring to life Jordan’s knowledge economy with strengths in software, gaming, web communities, e-commerce, animation, telecom, health and education. There is also a strong presence of green companies on mission to preserve Jordan’s natural environment, from Keenwash that wants every car washed without water, to Feynan EcoLodge that is a totally solar-powered experience.

What truly distinguishes the Jordan30 is the dominance of knowledge-based companies, with Jordan achieving the AllWorld #1 spot for a creative economy. Jordan30 is a powerhouse of engineering talent, turning out digital products for local and global markets. The rise of Jordan’s tech strength can be seen at the rapidly growing attendance of Amman’s Tech Tuesdays, the creation of the Oasis 500 to accelerate young tech companies, and Jordan’s dominance at the ArabNet conference held in Beirut.

The AllWorld ranking is divided into companies three years and older that are ranked by their revenue performance, and younger companies called Start Ups to Watch. The ranked older companies span more traditional industries from travel, to consumer goods, to engineering. The Start Ups to Watch are dominated by cutting-edge web and e-commerce companies.

By the Numbers

The Jordan30 is the youngest of AllWorld’s eight country rankings, with most of the companies younger than three years old. Also reflecting the small size of the country, the Jordan30 have the smallest average revenue size (averaging $1.5 million in revenues per company) in relation to other AllWorld rankings in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, South Africa, Pakistan and Turkey.

As a group, the Jordan30 employs 1,072 people, creating half those jobs since 2006. What the Jordan30 are best at is creating dynamic work environments, with teams that power a collective average growth rate of 42% a year. Many of the companies are setting new standards in workforce training, and nearly two-thirds offer performance based financial bonuses and flexible work schedules.

Says AllWorld co-founders Deirdre Coyle and Anne Habiby, “the power of the Jordan30 is that for each company that succeeds, all of Jordan shares in that success. The Jordan30 are engines of positive energy that send a signal to the next generation of entrepreneurs, who may now only be teenagers, that they too can succeed and play an important role in the future.”

Interestingly, the average age of the Jordan30 founders at the time of their respective companies’ establishment is 30 years old. The founders are educated, tech-savvy, globally connected, and champion the potential of Jordan’s market. Most are “professional entrepreneurs” having previously worked for world-renowned corporations before assuming their own risks to establish companies in Jordan. All have aspirations to be the leaders in their industries, or to pioneer new industries and markets all together.

The Jordan30 is a hub of entrepreneurship. Most founders have established other successful companies, and 72% expect to start another company in the next 2 years. Furthermore, they foster entrepreneurship within their company ranks; the Jordan30 has collectively helped 25 employees spin off their own businesses.


The Companies

 The top three fastest growing companies on the Jordan30 are Jeeran, Amani Tours, and the Amman Consulting Engineering and Planning Office, with average annual growth rate of 82% a year 2006 and 2008.

• The #1 company, Jeeran was established in 2005 and is the largest website in the Arab World that caters to user-generated material. It has over 6 million viewers per month, and is responsible for hosting 650,000 active websites and 120,000 active blogs. Jeeran had a 3-year growth rate of 300%.

• #2 company, Amani Tours was founded by Basem Mubarak over three decades ago. Amani Tours has retained its dominant market share by practicing exceptional customer service and always seeking new opportunities. This, coupled with Jordan’s rich history and culture, facilitated Amani Tours’ impressive 3-year revenue growth of 202%.

• Amman Consulting Engineering and Planning Office (ACEPO), an architectural and engineering consulting company, was founded in 1978 and is now one of the leading engineering firms in Jordan. The founder and one of the main shareholders Mrs. Maysa Al Shihabi and two of her daughters now help run the company. ACEPO had a 3-year growth rate of 196%.

The largest company and number one job creator on the Jordan30 is Pharmacy 1, having created over 500 jobs since 2006 by expanding to 50 stores. Founder Dr. Aryan’s entrepreneurial spirit was on display at the 2010 AllWorld Adventure Race at Harvard University, where his team soundly defeated eight others from around the world. When asked about the impact of winning the race, he said “it reminds me of how much energy I have and how I want to start another company!”

Like the number one company Jeeran, the Jordan30 has a strong representation of web-based companies. and Gate2Play are leading the charge in expanding internet content and commerce for the Middle East. exploded onto the scene with over 13 million users, and after Facebook and Twitter was the most popular Arab social media site used during the recent Egyptian revolution. Gate2Play is creating an e-commerce platform for small internet companies to be able to process payments with huge international payment corporations. Jordan is also the first of AllWorld’s rankings to have a gaming company, in this case two - Wizard Productions, and Maysalward, and the first to have an animation company, Sketch-In-Motion.

The Formula

The Jordan30 are part of the Arabia Fast Growth 500 that will be announced November 15-17 at the Arabia 500 Awards & Global Summit. Jordan will host the first Arabia 500 Summit, held under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan. This will be the largest convening of growth entrepreneurs ever held outside of the United States. Currently companies from all over MENA, Turkey and Pakistan are competing for a spot on the Arabia 500.

AllWorld MENA Chairman Yahia Samawi stated, “I am honored that Jordan will host the first Arabia 500 Awards & Global Summit. Our goal is to promote the Arabia 500 so that it becomes a key and permanent feature of advancing entrepreneurship in the MENA region,” adding that “The Arabia 500 gives entrepreneurs a chance to shine and compete in the new economy.”

Joining AllWorld in helping to find companies are partners Brascus S.A., the Business Development Center (BDC), Endeavor Jordan, Intaj, Start.Alliance and YallaStartup. BDC nominated ten of the winning companies and Endeavor Jordan nominated six.

Private companies from any industry were invited to apply to the Jordan30. Only the fastest growing private companies make the list, and each company is credentialed by AllWorld based on strenuous international standards. Applicants much complete a detailed survey of business strategy and operations and provide audited statements or an audit letter to verify revenues. 32 companies were credentialed as AllWorld Entrepreneurs. 14 companies older the three years made the ranking and an additional 18 qualified as Start Ups to Watch.

All companies in the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and Pakistan are invited to apply to the Arabia 500 at Winners gain worldwide visibility and the application process is free. The deadline is June 30, 2011.

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MEDIA CONTACT: Deirdre M. Coyle, Jr, JO +962 7977 11155 or US +617 504 4547