QRCE: A Decade of Startup Support
The Queen Rania Center for Entrepreneurship (QRCE) is marking its tenth anniversary by taking stock of past achievements and preparing for a future packed with exciting new ideas to develop. By Jane Hosking The QRCE, based out of Princess Sumaya University for Technology, is celebrating 10 years of supporting young entrepreneurs in Jordan. The center’s Executive Director Abdelraheem Abual Basal, said his team is proud of its past achievements and is eager to help many more budding entrepreneurs across the Kingdom in the future. What are your most significant achievements in the 10 years since the center was established? If you think about entrepreneurship in Jordan, our center would be one of the first places to come to mind in terms of a place that helps entrepreneurs in Jordan. In the beginning the main aim was to bring more awareness about entrepreneurship because this field was quite new, especially to the region. And there’s been a lot of successful companies that have come out of the center and especially out of our annual Queen Rania National Entrepreneurship Competition. This competition has been a vehicle for many young entrepreneurs over the years, opening many doors for them. One of the winners this year focused on 3D printing, and another one created a solution for cleaning solar panels without water. What is the QRCE currently working on to further encourage entrepreneurs in Jordan? This year we are creating a venture lab, where the idea will be for the winners of our annual competition to get mentoring, support, and some of the logistics—such as space and Internet—so that they can have a better chance of success. We call it a pre-incubator and the aim is to help get them ready to be incubated. We also have a new approach now with our competition. In the past we just called for ideas, but now we’re going to call for a problem or a challenge. We feel that in order to help the Jordanian economy we need to look at some of the local challenges and come up with solutions for them. What do you think is the biggest challenge for aspiring entrepreneurs in Jordan? I think it’s the mindset. A lot of challenges are within the mind itself. So we have been trying to create a lot of awareness about this and have been doing some research about entrepreneurship and the mindset. People need to be able to think about failure, which is often looked at as something that isn’t a good thing. But failure in the process of entrepreneurship can be one of the first steps to success. What advice would you give to someone interested in starting up a project or company in Jordan? I think they should go for it with proper support by finding a mentor or people who can guide them. They should also go and validate their idea with the customer. If you have an idea, that’s great, go test it. Ask people if they’re going to like it or not. Don’t just put it on paper. Also, people should not do it alone. Even if they have all the best skills in the world they should find other people and have the right team.