Ever since I was a student in Jordan, I have been participating in initiatives that help youth with entrepreneurial ideas to make them a reality. While I was still studying Computer Science, I took part in a training that asked participants to identify a social problem and create a business model around solving it.

Jordan is a beautiful country, but compared to our neighbours in the region, we don’t have many green spaces. This is not just bad for the diversity of landscapes but more importantly, for the environment, too. Nature helps keep the air clean and provides us with fresh foods that keep our health strong and biodiverse ecosystems working well!

I began working on the Aster project as an initiative which transforms urban rooftops into lush gardens. We are the first of our kind in the Middle East, which maybe shows how undervalued environmental causes are here. To a European audience, Aster’s mission sounds familiar and attractive, but I faced challenges promoting this concept in Jordan; at first, people did not receive me well. The idea of ‘community gardens’ on the rooftops of shared buildings caused people to be sceptical and resistant at first; but when they could see the benefits, Aster began to get more positive attention and press coverage.

Aster has matured so much in the past few years: we have always used irrigation techniques to save and recycle large volumes of water and promoted solar power for lighting; but in more recent months, our project portfolio includes both residential and commercial projects and the use of 3D designs. It is an exciting time to be its CEO.

In the enpact program, I won the award for most press coverage and it’s true that I have been given so many amazing opportunities to promote Aster and the cause behind it.

Thank you enpact program for introducing me to other amazing initiatives in Europe that work in the ‘clean and green’ sector like me. It can feel lonely at times doing something so unfamiliar to our markets here; so I found the peer support and mentoring to be really valuable and motivating.

To all younger entrepreneurs who want to do something that has never been done before with their startups, I would encourage you and say, “have the confidence and keep working to make your dreams a reality.”

by Kamal Alhmoud