About Jamil Khatib

Jamil Alkhatib, has over 13 years of global experience in innovation and technology management programs through his work with international organizations in projects: - National strategy for information and communications technologies funded by the European Union (Jordan) - Applied Research Fund structuring and process development (Jordan) - SME and Entrepreneurs support program management for USAID funded project (Palestine) - Technology and Commercialization program management for the Arab Science and Technology Foundation (UAE) - Innovation Incubation and Technology Transfer, best practices, funded by the European Union (Jordan) During his work he mentored and coached several organizations leaders as well as benchmarked their innovation ability and performance. Moreover he conducted various training programs and seminars in different areas related to innovation and creativity to public and private sector as well as universities. Besides that he supported several organizations in accessing innovation and development projects through various donors organizations. In addition to experience managing innovation and start up programs, Jamil has: - worked in the electronics and telecommunications equipment with organizations like Siemens - has developed educational programs for children - been an entrepreneur as founder of OpenTechnologies (Tunisia), a company involved in electronics and design development. Jamil holds a Masters degree in Technology and Innovation Management from FH-Brandenburg and BTU Cottbus (Germany) plus a Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering from Birzeit University, Palestine. Jamil is global operator having lived in 5 countries and interacted with 50 cities.

Falafel Ecosystem



A while ago I was reviewing some of the entrepreneurship ecosystem mapping I did for Jordan during previous projects.

I found some interesting trends over the past 15 years in Jordan. I would say the entrepreneurship ecosystem is like our Falafel ecosystem.


Have you ever noticed that when a new Falafel restaurant opens in a new area, within few months you will notice that more and more Falafel restaurants are opened in the same area. Not only that but if someone introduced a new kind of bread, all nearby restaurants will copy that. At the end, all restaurants will be providing almost the same sandwiches, same quality and even same decoration. 

In this ecosystem most of the surviving restaurants will have groups of loyal customers from the neighborhood who will buy exclusively from their restaurants. Yes I mean it “their restaurants” because those customers would have relatives or friends who work in these restaurants and most probably they will continue buying regardless if there is any changes (positive or negative).

Moreover the restaurants owners will keep checking the feedback or opinion of their customers (friends) about what they can improve without checking with the nontraditional customers to have wider/different opinions.


The same approach is followed by almost all other sectors. For example today I noticed that a third pharmacy will open close to my home copying models of existing ones without providing any clear value to me other than it is new and I like to find out about.


The purpose of this article is not to highlight that entrepreneurs or startups are copying each other as this is a different story, but what is interesting that the entrepreneurship support organizations are following the same trend of the Falafel ecosystem.


Jordan has faced different waves of kinds of entrepreneurship support activities/initiatives over the past 15 years that ranges from incubation, training, policies to different funding’s.

In general what we lack in our ecosystem is not any of the entrepreneurship ecosystem elements, but it is the abundance of the same specific support offered at the same certain time period.


Over the past years I noticed the following waves of support

  • incubation programs that host startups
  • wave of scattered investment levels but not structured toward specific target
  • almost at the same time many microfinancing banks and programs start to appear
  • a wave of lot of grants mainly funded by international and local public institutes
  • at some time some success stories from the IT sector start to appear which increased the focus on IT and web startups
  • following that some initiatives of angel investors start to appear and form some networks to support early stage investments
  • then the time of seed investments start to appear along with local and regional acceleration initiatives
  • this was directly followed by the rise of local and regional VCs focusing on the large investments
  • besides that lot of mentors and mentorship programs start to be developed and services are offered to enhance the startups quality
  • at a certain period many donors and public institutes start to notice that most of the startups are generated in Amman and other areas are left behind so many programs came out to provide grants and support to people from those areas and forgot about startups in Amman
  • Although Amman was left behind most of startup grants, much development happened in the area of co-working spaces and areas where entrepreneurs would meet brain storm and develop their IT projects mainly.
  • at that time many  entrepreneurship culture awareness activities  started to create lot of buzz around Jordan through development of workshops, events, promotion, tools, and even books.
  • many people and companies start to take the advantage of that and started offering lot of entrepreneurship training programs and capacity building so where ever you go you will find an entrepreneur who is willing to offer such kind of training and support program. 
  • on the other hand large companies local and international wanted to get engaged and offer similar programs to the community
  • at the same time several governmental organization noticed that they are away behind the progress of policies and strategies of entrepreneurship and they want to get involved through developing national policies and strategies, which include but not limited to entrepreneurship strategy and innovation strategy.
  • when the Syrian crises start to affect the Jordanian markets, many donors driven by public organizations start to focus in social entrepreneurship especially outside Amman, refugee camps and women startups.


What is funny that similar to the Falafel ecosystem, each active program has their own active customers or beneficiary for their services. Which makes not only the development of these programs difficult because they are surrounded by the same customers and stakeholders, but also the startups would not be easily survive if they jump outside their micro entrepreneurship ecosystem. Alternatively, some entrepreneurs shop around for the same service from different supporters but with achieving major growth target.


In general I like the development of our Falafel entrepreneurship ecosystem and having many initiatives, but the challenge is to offer what and when by all actors.

Entrepreneurs and startups themselves evolve as well and need new kind of support but each time a new entrepreneur start his or her idea would need to go to various stages of support. If they need for example seed fund, mentor or shred co-working space they should be able to find not wait till the next wave of support rise again to get access to these services.


In short what I wish to see is a mature ecosystem that each actor would focus on their core competency and develop it rather in innovative way rather than jumping to the next wave of support because others are moving in that direction or some donors are ready to fund it.


For example currently if I want to find a good active mentorship program in Jordan for my entrepreneurs in my programs I can not find any active one, or if I want to help them in applying for a grant or seed fund which we used to have abundance of them, I can find only one or two who could offer that for the stage the entrepreneurs I support at the German Jordanian University. On the other hand, currently, I am promoting on weekly basis different competitions for students but no follow up programs are offered.


All kind of services are needed at all times to have healthy entrepreneurship ecosystem. As the entrepreneurs need all and different services at their different stages of development.


I cannot blame the donors and program funders on the duplicated efforts but it is more on the coordination and development of innovative programs generating impact rather than looking for simplicity and short term results.

Finally I agree that there are many people who are (and will continue) looking for Falafel with homos, or foul or tahina but there are others who might like to have Falafel with peanut sauce or Falafel made of oat and lentil for example.


These thoughts and ideas are not really based on scientific facts but they are based on my general observations over many years. For that I appreciate your feedback and suggestions to improve this article.


European Union in Jordan Delegates Visit

Representatives of the European Union Delegation to Jordan visited IBTECAR’s office on the 9<sup>th</sup> of June as part of its continues support to Innovation in Jordan. The photos show demonstrations of two types of DIY wind turbines developed by the project that are suitable for small offices or camps.

Complete story available at IBTECAR website

How to enhance the cooperation between the university and the industry?

In order to answer this question and to develop goals and strategies for the German Jordanian University (GJU), the president of the GJU, Prof. Natheer Abu Obeid, invited the Deans, Vice Presidents and the Office for Industrial Links (OIL) for a one-day internal workshop that took place on Thursday, 17th of March, 2016.

Since its establishment in 2005, GJU has been focusing on applied sciences and innovation. One of its core concepts is to build a close university-industry partnership in order to connect researchers, students and graduates with the private sector in Jordan, the region and Germany on different levels. Over the years, many collaborative activities with industrial partners from Jordan, Germany and the region were already successfully implemented at GJU. Hence, in line with the motto “together we can do it even better” the workshop aimed at defining the top priorities and necessary next steps to increase the collaboration with industrial partners at the University as a whole and at the different Schools.

The workshop started by highlighting previous achievements, which then were presented and further discussed. Among those are collaborative graduation projects, industrial professor assignments, field trips to factories and industrial internships, conferences and workshops on a national and international level, cooperation agreements with industrial and governmental institutions as well as sharing academic expertise with business partners. Building on these achievements, the participants were asked by the moderator, Eng. Jamil AlKhatib, to define the necessary resources that are needed in order to better support the implementation of cooperation activities. The workshop included lively discussions and came up with clear recommendations, like the establishment of supporting bodies at each School and incentives for staff members to successfully realize GJU’s goals.

GJU is looking forward to a closer and more incentive cooperation with its business partners and invites the industry to participate in upcoming projects and joined workshops.

This press release was published at GJU website

Towards Innovative Graduation Projects

Towards Innovative Graduation Project – Nov 4th, 2015

     JEST hosted ¨Towards Innovative Graduation Project¨ meet up where Jamil Khatib talked to students in their last year from different universities on how to pick a project that will help them in the long run. He talked about the difference between invention and innovation, the need to identify a problem and provide a solution to it. Thus, when they graduate they can benefit from it by: locating a suitable market, getting feedback from the customers, and the importance of intellectual property protection. Mr. Khatib talked about the reason behind the lack of success of many innovation ideas.

JEST stressed out the importance of providing all the support for entrepreneurs, which leads to increase the numbers of the heading companies in the city as well as to accelerate the growth of companies in the process of helping create new jobs and promote the concept of leadership and innovation in the Jerusalem community

Complete news release available at JEST website

GEW at GJU – Start and Sustain your Business

16th of November, 2015- Amman 

On Monday November 16, GJU’s Office for Industrial Links (OIL) and Concrete, the student entrepreneurship club at the GJU, organized the “Start and Sustain Your Business” event as part of the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) activities at GJU. These activities fall under the Program for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (PIE) at the OIL, which aims to fulfill GJU’s vision of Education for Employment and Entrepreneurship.

Britta Kähler, Director of the Office for Industrial Links and Eng. Jamil Alkhatib, Manager of PIE welcomed the participants and introduced the recent activities of PIE. The event continued with presenting the winning teams from the previous event organized by PIE, the Health Hackathon, which took place on the 12th, 13th, and14th of November. The winners were handed their certificates by vice president Prof. Manar Fayyad, on behalf of the President Prof. Natheer Abu Obeid. Each winning team gave a quick overview to the crowd about their project and how it was developed over the weekend.


Complete article available at


GJU Health Hackathon

12.-14. November 2015- Amman 

Path to Entrepreneurship and Employability in the Health Sector

GJU’s Office for Industrial Links organized a Health Hackathon, an event established for the first time in the Middle East region. It is part of the Program Innovation and Entrepreneurship (PIE) activities to help the students gain the knowledge and entrepreneurial skills needed to implement their ideas and support the vision of the University in its “Education for Employment and Entrepreneurship”.

Health Hackathon is an event to gather students from different disciplines to work cohesively in different teams and come up with solutions related to health issues that the society faces at low costs, so that all society members would be able to use it, including remote areas and refugee camps.

Complete article available at http://www.gju.edu.jo/news/gju-health-hackathon-4940


The seven teams had to pitch in their ideas within two minutes maximum, and the judges had three minutes to ask the team any questions if the wanted to. Once the seven teams finished their pitching, the seven judges, who were from Oasis500, Altibbi, GJU, USAID-JCP, Hikma, Umniah, and Tamweelcom, gathered in a separate room to sum up their points they each had for each team.

Before announcing the winning teams, Mrs. Britta Kähler, Director of the Office for Industrial Links and Eng. Jamil Alkhatib, Manager of PIE, announced the prizes and appreciated the great support they received from the different sponsors and partners: USAID JCP, Hikma, Umniah,  Tamweelcom, Jordan Engineers Association, Nescafe, and Primrose as well as Altibbi, Oasis 500, Hello Food, Wamda, and Jordan Open Source Association. They also cherished the enormous efforts of the volunteering students, as well as the Concrete-Entrepreneurial and IT Students Club from GJU since without them, the whole event would not have been made possible.

ندوة بعنوان نحو مشاريع تخرج ابتكارية

(JEST) نظمت مؤسسة الرياديين المقدسيين للتكنولوجيا والخدمات المجتمعية

JEST workshop

مؤخرا ندوة تدريبية لطلاب الجامعات في مدينة القدس تحت عنوان” نحو مشاريع تخرج ابتكارية”، حيث استهدفت الطلاب في التخصصات العلمية والمقبلين على اختيار مشاريع التخرج في جامعاتهم وذلك من خلال تسليط الضوء على إمكانية الاستفادة من المشاريع وتحويلها الى مشروع تجاري يدر دخلا على الخريج بدل البحث عن فرص العمل.

و قام المدرب م. جميل الخطيب بتسليط الضوء حول الفرق بين الإبداع والإبتكار والحاجة الى ايجاد  الحلول العملية  للمشاكل  العارضة  كي يتمكن الخريج بعد ذلك من استغلال الحل وايجاد سوق مناسب له، كما تطرق المدرب الى دورة الاختراع كاملة وأهمية أخذ التغذية الراجعة من المستفيدين دوما وأهمية حماية الملكية الفكرية.

وناقش  المشاركون المدرب حول قدرة شبابنا في فلسطين على الإبتكار والسبب الكامن وراء عدم نجاح العديد من الأفكار التي يقومون بطرحها، حيث  عزا المدرب السبب الأكبر الى قيامنا بالتركيز على الإبداع التقني فقط مع اهمال حاجة المستهلكين ورغبتهم باقتناء الحل المقدم.

المزيد على دنيا الوطن .. http://www.alwatanvoice.com/arabic/news/2015/11/16/814568.html#ixzz3rgae4KZV

المزيد على جريدة القدس

AlQuds News Paper JEST- Grad Proj

المزيد على جريدة البلد

Albalad Newspaper JEST- Grad Proj

Microsoft Academic Accelerator

Article Published in Jordan Times

AMMAN — Jordanian students have recently developed a GPS-based mobile app that turns smartphones into taxi meters, which they said would notify passengers of an estimated fare for their journey in advance and prevent cabbies from overcharging them.

True Meter is currently available on the Windows app store and will be available to users of other mobile operating systems in a few months.

The app shows passengers the optimal route to their destination and compares it with the route that the taxi driver is actually taking, enabling them to determine whether the driver is taking an unnecessarily long route.

The mobile application was developed by a team of Jordanian students — Islam Abulroz, Rania Abdel Hadi and Rehab Alamar — who were honoured Wednesday as one of six winning teams in the Microsoft Academic Accelerator Programme.

As part of the six-month accelerator programme, a collaboration between the USAID Jordan Competitiveness Programme and Microsoft Jordan, scores of students received training at the Microsoft Innovation Centre, which is located at the Royal Scientific Society, on how to design, launch, and sustain their own ventures or find jobs that make use of their talents. 

They were also taught technical skills that helped them develop apps and deploy technology for the benefit of all, according to the organisers.

“We came up with the idea of True Meter while taking part in this great programme. I had to take a taxi every day from the Princess Sumaya University for Technology to the business park for the training. I noticed that the taxi drivers charged me different fares each time and often the claimed the meter was not working, which was annoying,” Abdel Hadi told The Jordan Times after the ceremony.

“When people download the app, which shows information in Arabic and in English, they can actually find out exactly how much the fare for their trip should be. This is also very useful for tourists, so that they cannot be deceived by greedy cabbies who want to charge them extra,” she added.

Alamar said her team cooperated with the authorities in order to get the correct formula for taxi fares, so that the app calculates the same fare that taxis are allowed to charge per kilometre, in both Jordanian dinars and US dollars.

“We have also reached an agreement with the Greater Amman Municipality to connect the app to their network, so that passengers can report cabbies who charge them excessively high fares or take longer routes, and file any other complaints,” she said.

“When passengers get in a taxi, they can record the plate number and, in case of trouble, report it to GAM and the traffic authorities… We will also develop the app in the near future so that passengers can rate each cab. Any passenger who enters the plate number of a certain cab will be able to find the history of the cab and reviews by passengers,” added Alamar.

The other winning projects addressed a range of consumer and retailer needs, from point-of-sale payment solutions to an online pitching platform that connects start-ups with investors. One application, called “Bisque”, allows users to send video and photo files to other devices using only a simple hand motion.

‘Guidance, follow-up crucial’

ICT experts said Wednesday that follow-up training is essential to ensure the success of such ideas and many others.

“For such ventures to grow and start generating revenue, there is a need for further guidance to help students and entrepreneurs market and refine their products. Celebrating the fact that we have brilliant ideas is not enough — we want tangible support after this step,” Abed Shamlawi, ICT and entrepreneurship consultant, told The Jordan Times.

“We need to hone entrepreneurs’ skills, help them organise their work, guide them on how to monetise their ideas and help them develop a final product, and get some funding,” Shamlawi.

Jamil Al Khatib, an innovation consultant who trained the winning teams and other participants in the programme, said providing mentorship after the initial stage is very important to these entrepreneurs.

“Some of these ideas can be turned into small companies, while other developers can sell apps without the need to build a company. They definitely need follow-up and should not left alone after this stage. They need financial support to grow their ideas into income-generating ventures,” added Khatib.

USAID JCP’s Chief of Party Wissam Rabadi said the Microsoft Jordan partnership, which began in March of this year, aimed “to enhance the ICT sector’s competitiveness in Jordan by creating a pool of new talent in cloud computing and app development for interested investors”.

Rabadi stressed the importance of the programme in training young Jordanians in the latest technologies and trends, including the Internet of Things and cloud computing, saying participants in the programme are equipped with latest skills in the field.

Microsoft Jordan Country Manager Hussein Malhas said the programme helps bridge the gap between the skills of students and graduates and the actual needs in the labour market and the ICT sector.

– See more at: http://www.jordantimes.com/news/local/app-turns-smartphones-taxi-meters#sthash.ubPn7M2S.dpuf