By nature I am a solutions-seeker and perfectionist, which are apparently two common qualities in the best entrepreneurs! I was also always very interested in training and learning initiatives, but although I launched something like a training academy startup in University, it failed and I lost some money. So I did what is very common in this society to do, and joined my father’s company after graduation.

I was good at my job, I had many travel opportunities, and I was able to keep learning and take many technical courses to develop my work… but it did not satisfy me. I could not run from the feeling that I wasn’t adding any value to the community or to my country, especially given that I worked in a very low income part of Jordan, with low levels of education or diverse job opportunities for the people surrounding me. I joined a STEM education academy as a volunteer and saw the life-changing impact of exposing young children to innovative tools and technologies. It inspired me to take entrepreneurialism seriously as a path to improve society, and especially the future generation.

As an enpact fellow, I then founded SALMAorg as a STEM education initiative. This a particularly strong sector in Jordan, but is not accessible to everyone. Such projects usually struggle with sustainability, equal participation and scale. The projects I work on now make a larger impact by building the capacity and business development strategies of all national STEM education initiatives that target an under-served part of Jordanian society: children from low to middle income families.

enpact exposed me to successful people to show me there were different definitions of success; it taught me the importance of finding a good co-founder, of taking investment when it is needed, and taking professional risks, as well as personal ones. I learned the valuable art of listening to my colleagues and working in a team. I was inspired by my colleagues who worked in full time jobs and then quit to commit fully to their startups. One day, that could be me!

by Malek Aljabari