American University of Beirut

​​​​Darwazah Center for Innovation Management & Entrepreneurship​ Suliman S. Olayan School of Business

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The establishment of “Samih Darwaz ah Center for Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship” at OSB was made possible through a generous gift by the Darwazah Family, founders of the largest MENA-based pharmaceutical company with global reach. The Darwazah Center was inaugurated on January 14, 2011 in OSB's Maamari Auditorium.


Samih Darwazah, founder and chairman of Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC listed on the London Stock Exchange since 2005, was employed at Eli Lilly from 1964 to 1976 before establishing Hikma Pharmaceuticals in Jordan in 1977. Between 1995 and 1996 he served as minister of energy and mineral resources in Jordan. He also founded the Jordan Trade Association and was a member of the Advisory Economic Council to His Majesty King Hussein of Jordan. A Fulbright scholar, Darwazah holds a master's degree in industrial pharmacy from the St. Louis College of Pharmacy, Missouri which he obtained in 1964, and a bachelor's degree in pharmacy from the American University of Beirut in 1954. Darwazah was elected Middle East Entrepreneur of the Year in 2007 by Ernst and Young. In 2009, Darwazah was elected chairman of Capital Bank of Jordan and he also served as a Member of the Senate of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Darwazah was granted an honorary doctorate from St. Louis College of Pharmacy in May 2010.


“Innovate or die” is a motto of the Darwazah Center. The Darwazah Center’s mission is to transform entrepreneurial thinking and practices within the MENA region and help organizations become innovative. The Darwazah Center develops and promotes evidence-based approach to establishing, operating and growing ventures and businesses. The work agenda of the Darwazah Center includes research, teaching case studies, masterclasses, mentoring, seminars and workshops as well as conferences focused on organizational change and business innovation through state-of-the-art techniques including design thinking and lean startup methodology.


We work in the following six areas to transform entrepreneurial thinking and practices within the MENA region: Hold annual Darwazah Startup Accelerate competition to promote entrepreneurial thinking among students Disseminate actionable entrepreneurial and innovative knowledge through degree/non-degree education Perform mentoring and acceleration to assist startups grow and SMEs scale up Conduct research & case studies on MENA entrepreneurial and innovative practices Assist government and think tanks in entrepreneurial and innovative policy development and intervention Support transforming the MENA entrepreneurial and innovative landscape into a thriving ecosystem

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