During the MENA ICT Forum 2014, telecom company Zain Jordan launched its latest initiative to support entrepreneurship in the region: Zain Innovation Campus (ZINC). With the aim of incubating entrepreneurs and startup owners in an environment that is equipped with the latest technologies, it is the first of its kind in the country.
Zain chose King Hussein Business Park as the address for ZINC because the park already features an incubation mechanism that gives entrepreneurs access to experienced regional players. King Hussein Business Park also has a long history of global-level entrepreneurship.
To enrich their platform, Zain has closed strategic partnerships with experienced players in the field, as well as similar business platforms both in the region and in the world, including the American 500 Startups which is one of the biggest incubators worldwide, and the British Coventry University, a global hub for entrepreneurship and innovation support and incubation.
Built on a surface of over 630 square meters, Zinc acts as a specialized center through which Zain would manage all of its entrepreneurship initiatives. The incubator promises to meet all the needs of Jordanian entrepreneurs, including advanced technological facilities, services, consultancy, and mentorship, with the aim of helping young people turn their innovations and ideas into productive projects that would be marketed locally, regionally, and internationally.
The telecom giant has invested more than a million Jordanian dinars ($1.5 million USD) in the platform, as well as forming 37 partnerships with global technology companies, startup accelerators, and idea-stage startup incubators.
Zain Jordan CEO, Ahmed Hanandeh, assured Wamda that the company is working towards providing anything that would link the youths in ZINC with angel investors and large technology companies, whether through video conferencing, or new telecom apps and devices that would keep entrepreneurs up-to-date with the world of entrepreneurship. He pointed out that ZINC aims at making Jordan a fertile oasis for entrepreneurs and a major hub for the incubation of startups in the region.
Hanandeh also announced that Zain is preparing to launch several initiatives within the framework of ZINC, that include supporting Wamda’s investment fund which is still under construction, in order to invest in early-stage startups, as well as inaugurating a virtual reality corner in collaboration with the United Group for Education, launching a smart phone app competition for Queen Alia International Airport, and partnering with the international Lean Startup Machine to make Jordan, through ZINC, the first country in the Middle East to be part of the event’s business plans.
Speaking about the partnership with Lean Startup Machine, Hanandeh pointed out that the event will be hosted by ZINC for the first time in the Middle East, knowing that it usually includes intensive workshops over three days and hosts emerging entrepreneurs to help them develop their ideas and come up with a viable and scalable business model that would speed up their success.
The space includes the following technologies and workspaces:
Multipurpose room: It can be booked via a tablet.
Robotics corner: It displays a number of new robots, the most important of which is a robot called Zain, whose skills Hanandeh displayed during the inauguration, showing that it is capable of answering many general questions, holding various conversations, and dancing.
Gaming corner: In collaboration with Maysalward, Zain equipped this corner with the latest graphic design and online game development software, as well as with advanced computers.
Tele-presence room: The room provides telecommunication technologies reaching the world through the latest video conference technologies in collaboration with Cisco.
Simulator: The image speaks for itself.
Garden: An outdoor space that includes a comfortable and relaxing tree house that provides the perfect ambiance you need to clear your mind.
Virtual reality labs: It allows ZINC members to enjoy a virtual reality experience through the latest technologies. This lab will develop later on to turn into a platform that would operate in vital sectors in the future, including education, professional training, health, and military.
It should be noted that Zain had announced back in November 2013 the establishment of a department for its Corporate Entrepreneurship Responsibility as part of its organizational structure. And ever since, Zain has held or hosted around 25 events in support of entrepreneurs and creative thinkers, in which around 10,000 young people, both men and women from all over the country, participated. Moreover, Zain’s investment in Corporate Entrepreneurship Responsibility had amounted to 2 million dinars by the time of the launch of Zain Innovation Campus, while its overall investment, including that of ZINC, has reached 3 million dinars.
- On the same day, His Majesty King Abdullah II launched, from ZINC’s platform, Zain’s initial implementation of the 4G/LTE services in the area extending from King Hussein Business Park down to the Fifth Circle, completing the first step of its plan to implement its 4G/LTE network, after having obtained the needed licenses and necessary frequencies to launch the service with an investment of almost 200 million dinars.