Amman – Nov 2011 – Wamda, a platform that supports and invests in entrepreneurs in the MENA region, has announced a strategic partnership with Oasis500, the MENA region’s premier early stage and seed investment company. The partnership was signed on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum “Special Meeting on Economic Growth and Job Creation in the Arab World” that was held at the King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre at the Dead Sea, Jordan, between 21st – 23rd October, 2011.
The highlight of this partnership is Wamda’s commitment to annually invest in several Oasis500 startups. The investments will provide follow-on funding for incubated startups ranging from USD 50,000 to USD 100,000 per investment. The goal of Wamda’s investment is to help Oasis500 companies grow and target regional and international audiences.
Wamda and Oasis500 will also join forces to create several joint activities aimed at empowering entrepreneurs and providing them with expertise, exposure and tools to jump-start their businesses and expand into the emerging economy of the Middle East. The activities will include training boot camps, mentorship and investment events in both Jordan and the region.
Commenting on the partnership, Mr. Habib Haddad, CEO of Wamda and co-chair of this year’s WEF Special Meeting in Jordan, said: “The approaches that Wamda and Oasis500 take are synergistic. Not only do we invest financial capital, but more importantly we also invest the necessary intellectual and human capital to take startups to the next level.”
Dr. Usama Fayyad, Chairman of Oasis500 and former Executive VP and Chief Data Officer of Yahoo! Inc., said: “We are excited about this strategic partnership with Wamda and we are confident that it will accelerate the awareness and impact of Oasis500 around the region in reaching to our target audiences of entrepreneurs and investors. Wamda’s commitment to invest in follow-on funding to our startups is a great vote of confidence and will greatly benefit our portfolio companies.”
Wamda, which launched at the Celebration of Entrepreneurship event last year, is a platform for empowering and investing in small and medium enterprises. It also offers daily news and tutorials with the goal of enhancing access to knowledge and capital for the region’s entrepreneurs.
Despite its recent establishment in 2010, Oasis500 has proven to be a highly successful model for transforming entrepreneurial ventures into viable businesses. In its first year of operation alone, Oasis500 exceeded its forecasted number of applicants, training sessions and candidates for initial and follow-on funding. 22% of the entrepreneurs who made it through the Oasis500 Boot Camp training program qualified for seed investment. One in four of these companies has been awarded further funding through the Oasis500 Angel Network or through other means such as venture capital firms. Each startup that receives investment is expected to hire an average of 10-20 employees, and companies that are funded by Angel Network affiliates are expected to hire an additional 20-30 employees. This creates a powerful ripple effect that boosts employment levels in a region renowned for its low dependency ratio.