No entrepreneur left behind: World’s largest competition for refugee businesses launches

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Press Release.

Amman, Oct 29th, 2020. The Online Roadshow, the world’s largest competition for Syrian entrepreneurs and vulnerable host communities, is kicking off its third edition on November 2nd, with the ambitious aim of “leaving no entrepreneur behind” during the global pandemic.

Host country entrepreneurs and Syrians in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq, will access new open-access online training, and have the chance to land a coveted spot in the Roadshow Accelerator with access to $60,000 in cash prizes.

The competition is organized by Jusoor and SPARK by a generous support by The Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) and was first launched in 2018. The first of its kind, it has been adapted during the pandemic to provide training and mentorship virtually, along with an innovative new online Entrepreneurship Bootcamp, which will be available to thousands of entrepreneurs in the MENA region.

“We knew we had to keep innovating during Covid-19 to ensure entrepreneurship in the region is still supported – the stakes are too high not to. We are so pleased to be working with Jusoor again this year in supporting refugee and host country businesses through these incredibly challenging times. Special thanks for our partners the Qatar Fund for Development who believed and supported The Online Roadshow 2020” says Yannick du Pont, Founder and Director of SPARK.

This year, the competition is going bigger, with cash prizes of up to $15,000 and a new track for small to medium businesses (SMEs). Kicking off on November 2nd, the Roadshow is setting off to train thousands of entrepreneurs in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq through its innovative Entrepreneurship Bootcamp. 1,000 Syrian entrepreneurs and vulnerable host communities will receive entrepreneurship skills training. Those who complete the training will have the chance to land one of 50 spots in the Roadshow Accelerator where they will receive 3-months of training, mentorship and direct business services worth thousands of dollars.

The 50 entrepreneurs (Startups and SMEs) will then compete to pitch at the final Roadshow Demo Day, where they will battle it out for cash prizes of $15,000 for first place, $10,000 for second place and $5,000 for third place winners.

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“Looking at the data from the last few years, we knew we had to offer a new track for SMEs this year, especially given how hard Syrian-led small businesses have been hit by the pandemic. We are also so excited to expand our model to reach thousands of new entrepreneurs this year through the exciting open access online training in Arabic – a first of its kind in the MENA region” says Dania Ismail, Board Member and Director of Jusoor’s Entrepreneurship Program.

The winners of the Online Roadshow will also get the chance to showcase their businesses during the 2021 SPARK Ignite annual conference.

The Roadshow is calling on Syrian, refugee-led and host country entrepreneurs with business ideas to transform them into companies ready to take on the world. The online entrepreneurship bootcamp will begin registrations in December 2020, with the 50 entrepreneurs selected for the Roadshow Accelerator in Spring 2021.

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