Startups are continuously witnessing a rise in popularity due to their role in the economy. Not only do they create job opportunities, but they also contribute to GDP growth and provide valuable products and services that satisfy consumer needs. However, not all startups appeal to investors and entrepreneurs. For example, you’re more likely to hear about FinTech, software, or healthcare startups than agricultural startups, because these are the more popular industries. Despite the potential in some sectors, the market witnesses a gap when it comes to companies’ operations. And that gap is what prompted the creation of Jordan’s Accelerator, Hassad.
The Story of Hassad
“Hassad”, Arabic for harvest, is the name of the Jordanian accelerator which helps startups develop products and services that benefit the agricultural sector. Mohammad Alafranji, Hassad’s program manager that has worked for 20 years in marketing and social entrepreneurship, stated that in May 2019, the accelerator was established after extensive research and studies. “We knew there was a huge potential when it came to agriculture, we even heard many ideas about how it can be improved for the better,” Alafranji revealed. “The only problem was that there was no one to transform these ideas into concrete plans.” With Jordan buzzing with young entrepreneurial minds, but few to direct them and nurture them in this field, Hassad became the hub entrepreneurs go to in order to transform their ideas into reality.
Once you log in, you’ll see that it has three yearly programs. These programs include:
There are 12 categories to choose from when applying, reason being, “Agriculture is a broad field,” explained Alafranji. “It’s more than just farms, crops, and goods.” Thus, these categories aim at helping startups determine their main focus. Categories include: aquaculture, waste tech, novel farming sectors, and more.
A validation bootcamp:
The teams that are chosen will present their ideas and a team of experts will assess them and determine which teams move to the next step.
An acceleration program:
A three months program dedicated to train validated teams through modules that range from business plans and marketing to investment readiness.
A growth program:
Lastly, Hassad will help all startups that have successfully finished the program to raise investments through their partners. Alafranji further mentioned that they are working on creating Agrifund, which will fund all startups within the program along with other agricultural startups in the kingdom.
Hassad and The Arab Region
Hassad’s presence isn’t limited to Jordan only. They have access to parent offices around the globe, in Amman, Cairo, Nairobi, Riyadh, Wadi Araba, even the Bay Area. They have also participated in several programs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia whereby they worked on an acceleration program for 16 weeks. “It was an experience like no other,” Alafranji recalled. “We were mentoring startups and helping them develop their ideas, but we too have learned a lot during our time there.” Hassad had also the opportunity to be present as a service provider. Furthermore, the accelerator has plans to participate in various competitions and residency programs outside Jordan after COVID-19 and its restrictions.
Lastly, Alafranji wanted to address all the young entrepreneurial minds out there. He declared that its pivotal to not only monitor the success stories of other startups and companies, but also the challenges they had to go through. This will help you see a holistic picture of the startup environment and help you understand further how it operates. Alafranji concluded, “Remember that entrepreneurship isn’t limited to tech. If you look closely, you’ll find that there are several sectors and industries that need your ideas to help them grow.”