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    What is the Facing Hardship Challenge?

    Starting a business is not easy. The initial startup processes can be particularly challenging. There are so many obstacles to finding a supportive environment for innovators and business founders. Did you experience this and yet manage to overcome the seemingly impossible difficulties? Tell us the story of your company.
    We support people who pursue their goals, particularly in the face of adversity. We are inviting the company with the most inspiring startup story to participate in the Arab Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Summit in Jordan from 30 October to 2 November 2022.

    Challenge Timeline

    How can you participate?

    Tell us the story of how your company was started. Tell us about the difficulties you encountered and how you overcame them. Submissions should be a maximum of three pages of text in English or Arabic, using 11 pt font size. Photos, links and newspaper articles can be included in support of your submission and should be attached as an appendix to the three pages of text. The number of pages of the appendix should not exceed three pages. At the end of your submission, please add written confirmation that all information is true as well as the name, address and webpage of your startup and the details of a contact person. Submit everything together as one PDF document.
    From the submissions, we will choose the story that most inspires us. Which start-up has faced the most difficulties and still managed to establish itself thanks to creativity and perseverance? We will invite the winning company to the Arab SME Summit in Jordan from 30 October to 2 November 2022.
    Submissions will be fact-checked and irregularities will lead to immediate exclusion from the challenge.
    To submit your stories, register for this challenge and click on "post idea." You will be able to edit your submission until the final submission deadline of 31 August 2022.


    Who can participate?

    The challenge is open to all SMEs in the Arab region, across all sectors.

    How does the evaluation work?

    A panel of experts in the field will evaluate ideas and projects, amongst others, by their potential for impact, the novelty of the idea, their feasibility, and their potential for scale-ability. The idea should also be a socially innovative solution, promotes hope, and be respectful of values and beliefs.

    What's in it for you?

      1. We will contact the winning company in mid-September and subsequently conduct an interview and take photographs. A feature story about the winning company will be published on the Digital Enabling Platform for the Arab Region (DEPAR).

        Shortlisted companies that are not granted first place will also be showcased on DEPAR during September, October and November 2022.

       If you have any questions, please write to 


      What is the Digital Enabling Platform for the Arab Region (DEPAR)?

      In line with the ESCWA goals of promoting economic and social development in the region, the ETC developed DEPAR, an online platform serving as a one-stop online regional entrepreneurship destination which promotes innovation, knowledge, connectivity, opportunities and inclusive growth. DEPAR is a virtual working platform for SMEs where they can build, support, fund and scale up their businesses. The main objectives of the platform are:
      • Building an online space that compiles tools and knowledge about SMEs and entrepreneurship.;
      • Utilizing United Nations knowledge, experience and networks to support SMEs;
      • Activating a community of practice and guidance for peer-to-peer support.

      Challenge organizers

      • United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia Technology Center (ETC)



      To send your submission, register for this challenge and click on "Post Idea." You will be able to edit your submission until the final submission deadline.



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