Amman, Jordan – The Regional Business Networking Forum and LevelUp Project Achievements were held on May 22-23, 2023, in Amman, Jordan.
This event, funded by the Italian Government through the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) under the “LevelUp – Advancing Jordanian Industries” project, has been organized by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in partnership with the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Supply (MITS) of Jordan. The project aims to enhance job creation and economic inclusion by empowering competitive small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Jordan.
The Regional Forum served as a platform to highlight the key accomplishments of the LevelUp project while fostering business-to-business networking within the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The forum emphasized the industries of Garment and Fashion, Food Supplements, and Natural Cosmetics.
To facilitate connections between Jordanian SMEs, entrepreneurs, and private sector companies from the MENA region, participants from Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Italy actively engaged in the forum. This gathering enabled the exchange of experiences and best practices in strengthening export-oriented value chains.
The BusinessMed Business Country Desk Platform (BCD) played a pivotal role in connecting businesses during the forum. As a business-to-business (B2B) matchmaking platform, it provided a dynamic marketplace and dedicated space for networking and brokerage among companies, small and medium enterprises (SMEs)/start-ups, and institutional structures.
The forum achieved remarkable success in achieving its primary objective of promoting business-to-business networking. It effectively showcased the best strategies and practices to reinforce export-oriented value chains. Attendees were presented with the achievements of the LevelUp project, enabling participating SMEs to engage in networking, idea sharing, and the exploration of new opportunities.
The impact of this forum is expected to be long-lasting, fostering new business partnerships, increased trade, and economic growth in the MENA region. The LevelUp project continues to drive progress towards its goals of job creation, economic inclusion, and the development of a vibrant SME ecosystem in Jordan.Notable attendees of the event included H.E Ms. Kholoud Al-Saqqaf, Minister of Investment, H.E. Mr. Luciano Pezzotti, the Ambassador of Italy to Jordan, Mr. Cristiano Pasini, Director of the Division for Capacity Development, Industrial Policy Advises and Statistics at UNIDO HQ, Austria, Mr. Emilio Cabasino, Head of Office, Italian Agency for Development Cooperation in Jordan (AICS), Mr. Fabio Russo, Chief of the SME Development & Job Creation Unit at UNIDO HQ in Vienna, Austria; H.E. Ms. Dana Alzoubi, Secretary General of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MITS); Eng. Sulafa Mdanat, Country Representative of UNIDO Jordan, Mrs. Jihen Boutiba, Secretary General of BUSINESSMED, and Mrs. Diana Battaggia, Head of UNIDO ITPO Italy.During the opening remarks, H.E. Ms. Kholoud Al-Saqqaf emphasized the critical significance of accessing both regional and global markets, providing the country with greater opportunities to showcase the prestige of Jordanian companies and Arab rarities.
Moreover, H.E. Mr. Luciano Pezzotti reiterated his strong conviction that collective endeavors should be focused on discovering practical and impactful solutions that serve the best interests of the people in both Jordan and Italy.
Mr. Cristiano Pasini mentioned that “together, we developed Jordan’s industrial competitiveness, we shed light on the past of Jordanian industries, and proposed very action-oriented policy recommendations, which might be an inspiration for the new Jordan industrial policy.”
Mr. Emilio Cabasino, Head of Office of AICS in Jordan, mentioned that LevelUp project is a testament to the Jordanian and Italian commitment to foster sustainable economic development by supporting and empowering local industries. He added that by enhancing their capacity, promoting innovation, and providing targeted assistance, it is possible to achieve ambitious development opportunities and propel Jordanian industries to new heights.
Eng. Sulafa Mdanat stated that “throughout this project we were also able to come up with future project ideas that built on what we have done currently, and we would like to join forces with our donor community and identify implement those best ideas.”
Furtheremore, during his remarks, Mr. Fabio Russo underscored the pivotal role played by entrepreneurs hailing from the MENA region, Italy, and Friuli Venezia Giulia, and commended the support provided by BusinessMed, recognizing the importance their holistic approach that went beyond merely assisting enterprises and SMEs.
HE Ms. Dana Alzouby expressed her admiration for the remarkable UNIDO team, particularly those based in Amman, and lauded their dedicated efforts. She also emphasized that the achievements attained thus far would not have been possible without the broader commitment and coordination of all parties involved, especially private and public sector. She commended the collaborative spirit and collective determination displayed by stakeholders, underscoring the significance of their combined efforts in realizing impactful outcomes.
Mrs. Jihen Boutiba highlighted the importance to engage, collaborate, and explore new avenues for investment and partnership to connect Mediterranean entrepreneurs and achieve the immense potential that lies within the Southern Neighbourhood countries.
Laslt, Mrs. Diana Battaggia stated that “UNIDO ITPO Italy, we remain committed to supporting Jordan’s industrial development efforts, as well as in the entire Middle East Region to promote sustainable investments by boosting the competitiveness of SMEs.”
For more information about the LevelUp project and its achievements, please visit www.levelUPjordan.org.