WDI Entrepreneurship Program Helps Jordanian Student

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Bilal Salman was heading into his senior year at Al Quds College in Amman, Jordan when he learned about a new entrepreneurship program at the school.

Bilal Salman

He said he liked the idea of a program to “help students create jobs instead of getting jobs.”

The Community College Entrepreneurship: Integration to Incubation Project – known locally as Lumina Zone Entrepreneurship Project – was jointly designed and developed by WDI and Washtenaw Community College (WCC) in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It is funded by the Higher Education for Development (HED) through the U.S. Agency for International Development.

During his senior, Salman – an interior design major – participated in as many entrepreneurship activities as he could. He attended lectures by local entrepreneurs, joined the student entrepreneur club, took classes in entrepreneurship and, eventually, became one of the first student tenants of the Quds Business Incubator for Entrepreneurs.

WDI, WCC and Al Quds launched the incubator in Amman in late 2013 so budding entrepreneurs at Al Quds could take their ideas from the classroom to grow full-fledged businesses. Salman, along with five other students, joined the incubator for six months to continue developing their entrepreneurial skills. For Salman, the entrepreneurial training gave him legitimacy with his peers, family, and customers, and ignited other ideas for businesses outside of his major.

He developed a business plan for a year-round food court concept with healthy food packaged in an aesthetically pleasing way. His idea gained a lot of attention in the local community, including from funders. Salman decided that he didn’t want a donation.

Instead, he is dedicated to working in the design field so that he can raise the money necessary to start the food court business.

“This business, it’s my baby. I want to have the freedom to make decisions and use my imagination to make it the best,” he said.

Since his 2013 graduation, Salman has worked abroad and plans to return to Jordan and start his food court business.

Salman’s colleagues are sure he will continue to have more entrepreneurial ideas and that he will put those ideas into action.

Quds Business Incubator Manager Sara Al-Jabsheh said, “Bilal is a perfect example of the lifelong changes in attitude this program encourages in students.”

Salman started college at AQC because he thought it would help him secure a job. Now he is traveling and working for himself with the ultimate goal of starting a business, thanks to the WDI entrepreneurship program.

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