Zain and Wamda kick off Traxn with 5 Jordanian startups

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Entrepreneurs from five Jordanian startups meet with Zain Telecom's CEO Ahmad Hanandeh at the launch of the Traxn corporate entrepreneurship responsibility program.

Five Jordanian startups have been selected to join a new accelerator program designed to bring together young innovators with one of the region’s corporate pioneers, Jordan’s Zain Telecom.

Dubbed Traxn, the initiative is built on the concept of Corporate Entrepreneurship Responsibility (CER), which aims to establish a symbiotic relationship between the entrepreneurship ecosystem and established corporations. Initiated by Wamda to accelerate startups' growth by engaging entrepreneurs with established large corporations, it is the first of its kind in the MENA region.

More than 20 teams applied for the program after Wamda announced the launch of the program around the start of 2015. The five teams that will participate in the program were selected through a rigorous process that took into account the startup’s growth stage, challenges, and business proposal.

Traxn aims to leverage each stakeholder’s knowledge and resources to fill the needs of both parties. Large corporations are slow to innovate but possess abundant tangible and intangible resources, while entrepreneurs are highly innovative but constrained by market access and resource scarcity. All involved will, ideally, benefit from the program.

The selected entrepreneurs met with Zain’s CEO Ahmad Hanandeh in Amman on Wednesday to discuss the program in more detail and the potential benefits of the engagement.

“We provide the infrastructure that paves the way for Internet accessibility,” Hanandeh said. “[But] once our users are on the Internet, we don’t exist anymore. The more startups use our infrastructure to deliver localized services to their users, the more customers are willing to go online and engage with the startup’s content and services.”

Resources requested by entrepreneurs include access to Zain’s large market in Jordan, mentorship in human resources, and business model adaptability, and, perhaps most importantly, establishing a strong relationship with Zain for potential partnerships in the future. In turn, entrepreneurs offered novel marketing strategies through their products and services.

“We want to exist on the Internet,” Hanandeh said. “We see a great potential with collaborating with startups since they are able to bring their users online, ultimately, our success depends on the startups’ success.”

“[But] Traxn is not a charity program,” he added. “If we want to generate the most impact on the ecosystem we need to build a sustainable engagement model that yields revenues to ensure we continue to target the challenges faced by entrepreneurs not only for this generation but also for the future.”

Moving forward, the selected startups will individually meet with several of Zain’s departments to tailor the 6-week program that addresses their specific needs. Below is the list of the chosen startups:

  • Ifood.jo: A free online food delivery platform that allows customers to order from over 250 restaurants in 6 cities throughout Jordan. Founders: Zeid Husban and Omar Akel
     
  • MICEit: The first regional venue booking and management engine for Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) for events in Jordan. Founders: Rola Fayyed, Mohammed Turki
     
  • Alhodhud: Creates digital Arabic content for early childhood in both educational and edutainment tracks. Founders: Mohammed Albishtawi, Shaimi Albishtawi
     
  • Arabia Weddings: A comprehensive online wedding platform that provides English and Arabic content on all aspects of the wedding. Founder: Samar Shawareb
     
  • Sawwa7 Travel: A platform which visually guides Arab travelers to desired travel websites through a website and an app. Founders: Sahar Barqawi and Doaa Barqawi   

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