Seeds of Impact

Standing face to face with a tree, it is almost incredible that at the root of this gentle green giant, there once was just one, tiny seed. Seeds are inconspicuous, small, and somewhat fragile, but if treated right, they generously contain life itself, eventually bearing the fruits that start the whole cycle afresh.

Tom Dinneweth |

It adds a touch of poetry to the concrete, meaningful work that our partner Alfanar is doing in both Jordan and Lebanon by establishing their so-called seed rounds. First, they launch an open call to all social entrepreneurs in the country, scouring the landscape for businesses that are looking to scale their social and environmental impact. Once all those seeds or applications are collected, the Alfanar team sifts through to find those who are most likely to grow tall and bring the most benefits to their local community. The chosen enterpreneurs receive fundamental training sessions on business and impact modelling and governance, as well as tailored one-on-one support and a development grant of 10.000 Jordanian dinars (about 13.000 euros).  

It is a vital part of the EU-funded market building project Impact Together!, which we launched during Impact Week in Torino with the aim of accelerating the development of the social economy in the MENA-region. Alfanar is one of several of our implementing partners on the ground.

In Lebanon, the Impact Together Seed Cycle is finishing up as we write this article – from mid-February onwards, the true process of selection and education begins. In Jordan, the open call came in October 2023, leaving Alfanar ample time to evaluate all submissions and to start the training sessions. Five social enterprises were selected – they are a mix of education, edtech and handicrafts organizations that operate to improve both access to education and skills to children and women, in particular. 

1. Curio 

The first one is Curio, an income-generating preschool that uses its surplus funds to enable women entrepreneurs in underserved areas to establish their own preschools. The Fudulio preschools that result from this project are built around a theory of change that focuses on improving early education as well as empowering young women with skills. This, in turn, should lead to improved economic participation and positive change in the community.​


2. Jusoor Labs 

Jusoor Labs, the second withheld seed, is active in the field of educational tech. They provide interactive 3D simulations as well as virtual labs that offer a comprehensive alternative to physical labs. By doing so, they ensure that students can perform experiments virtually, reducing the reliance on expensive equipment and dedicated laboratory spaces. This approach is not only cheaper, but also safer and more accessible, allowing students to learn from anywhere.


3. Ketabi 

They are joined by Ketabi, who also offer a tech solution. Ketabi's mobile application provides a safe space for children to learn online but also ensures that their screen time is utilized for educational growth. They make it safe and engaging, too – two big advantages.​ For those learning remotely, it provides a welcome addition to the existing learning offers.


4. Hands of Sitti 

The last two seeds are both handicrafts manufacturers. Hands of Sitti partners with refugee-led, community-based organizations (CBOs). Many of these organizations are experiencing income shortfalls due to the decline in humanitarian aid support that was once their only lifeline. SITTI tries to fill this gap by leveraging the skills of these communities to design and make products for their brand, helping them achieve self-reliance. 

They are not thinking small – SITTI wants to become a multinational lifestyle brand, selling impactful products to help create a more inclusive economy.



Closing the line is KUVRD, a social enterprise that also works with refugees to design and produce apparel pieces that use local culture and heritage in their final designs. Their focus is on creating adequate employment opportunities for urban refugees residing in Jordan, specifically the large groups of Syrian and Palestinian refugees

Goods produced are sold globally through KUVRD's e-commerce site.


The seed round selection is only a starting point. After this first round of training, Alfanar will study the work and development of the five Jordanian enterprises, aiming to withhold a maximum of two that will receive guidance related to long-term planning and further financial support. Such is the road of a seedling, on its way to becoming a strong, blossoming tree. 

And more action is underway. In an effort to not only support social entrepreneurs, but to also provide them with crucial visibility, Alfanar is organizing different Impact Connector events, during which they can showcase their work. One such Connector takes place on 29 February in Lebanon, with another coming up in Jordan in collaboration with the Amman Stock Exchange. In the meantime, Alfanar is also ramping up conversations with both the Jordan Impact Investing Board and the Lebanese League of Social Entrepreneurship in order to enlarge the ecosystem and accelerate policy advancements. 

These actions, too, are seeds of change, that grow stronger by the day.