From early on, Tamara Abdel-Jaber knew that she wanted to utilize entrepreneurship to make a lasting impact in her community. Over 15 years ago, Tamara co-founded Palma Consulting, a Jordanian information technology company that was one of the fastest-growing companies in the Middle East. Throughout her entrepreneurial journey, Tamara skillfully navigated the tech industry – a feat that is still highly uncommon for an Arab woman. Tamara hopes her experiences will inspire other women to participate in primarily male-dominated fields.
In 2009, Tamara joined the Fortune- U.S. Department of State Global Women’s Mentoring program where she learned the importance of mentorship and paying it forward. Tamara has since focused on creating spaces and opportunities in business for women in the Middle East. During her work, Tamara realized that there was no Arabic word for “mentorship” and that for most women around her, this was a foreign concept. This realization fueled Tamara’s passion to deliver accessible advice and trainings for women in business. To accomplish this undertaking, Tamara started with hosting informal gatherings to share business advice. Now, Tamara has numerous social and business enterprises focused on supporting women’s entrepreneurship in her region.
One of her most notable initiatives was co-founding the Women in Business Arabia Facebook group where existing women business owners support each other to grow their unique ventures. In 2019, this virtual community of over 45,000 female professionals was recognized by Facebook as one of the most active groups in the MENA region. Tamara also helped launch the Girls in Tech regional chapter in Jordan. Girls in Tech seeks to empower women by bridging the gender gap in technology through engagement and education, and Tamara now serves as a board member for the organization.
Recently, Tamara co-founded Amam Ventures, a gender-lens impact investment fund in Jordan providing risk capital coupled with technical assistance. She shares that this venture supports the growth and sustainability of commercially viable small-medium enterprises (SMEs) committed to diversity and inclusion, while also addressing the “funding gap and access to finance for aspiring women business leaders.” During the onset of COVID, Tamara pivoted Amam Ventures by offering various webinars and livestreams to help women and SME owners overcome business challenges. Looking towards the future, Tamara is preparing to launch into other regional markets including Egypt and other Arab nations soon.
Continuing her work to support women, Tamara used her new business enterprise to launch several virtual technical assistance programs such as the 365 Inspiring Arab Women Campaign, Get on Board! and Wathba. These programs facilitate mentorship for businesswoman in the region and increase the number the percentage of women on organizational boards. Overall, Tamara’s contributions consistently reduce the obstacles and barriers women business leaders face in the region.
In the spirit of entrepreneurship, Tamara offers the following advice to blossoming businesswomen: “Seize the opportunities that come your way. Never stop learning. [And} don’t be afraid to start something totally new.”