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No surprise to us – but Jordan is getting a boost from an unlikely place

Over the last 8 years, the Syria crisis has created 12 million refugees and internally displaced persons. Just imagine for a moment if the entire populations of Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, DC, Boston, Detroit and Philadelphia were all forced to flee their homes.

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Jordan has been one of the most generous countries to respond to this crisis. They have taken in 1.4 million Syrians. This influx, along with ongoing regional instability, has resulted in historic unemployment rates, disrupted trade with key markets, and stagnated economic growth. In addition, the majority of Jordan’s refugees live in urban areas, which has increased competition for finite resources and job opportunities.

However, there’s another side to the story.

Jordan’s small businesses, including those led by refugees, constitute 97 per cent of firms in the country’s private sector. And similar to our market assessment in Turkey, we found that they are not only demonstrating optimism about the future; they are growing, exporting to new markets, and creating jobs. In fact, our recent research shows that refugee and migrant-owned SMEs are creating on average 18 jobs, per annum.

Employment Classifications and Figures

With an enabling environment, and an expanding local private sector, Jordan is positioned to not only generate the social and economic dividends that can place the country on a path of prosperity, it can also become a leader in the region. However, to unleash this potential, Jordan’s SMEs and entrepreneurs cannot be ignored; this includes refugee newcomers who have brought with them talents, networks, businesses, and skills.

With generous funding from Open Society Foundations, Building Markets conducted in-depth research, including in-person interviews with 309 refugee, migrant, and Jordanian-owned firms. The resulting report shines a unique light on these businesses and the courageous entrepreneurs who lead them, including their contributions, and how they can continue to drive Jordan’s recovery and growth.

Interested in the full report? You can download it here: Another Side to the Story Jordan: A Market Assessment of Jordanian, refugee, and migrant-owned businesses. You can also search for these and over 1,000 other verified Syrian, Jordanian, and refugee-led enterprises on our matchmaking platform.

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