At the recent World Economic Forum Meeting on the
Middle East and North Africa in the Dead Sea, Jordan this May,
we tried to grill Hisham Shawa, the General Manager of the
Bank of Palestine, on what the bank is doing to
support startups and small businesses in Palestine.
With 75% of the population under the age of 34, unemployment rates of 50% in graduate unemployment, and youth unemployment around 34%, he says, "Our policy and strategy for startups is that we absolutely need to support them."
Thus far, it's working to launch entrepreneurship prizes and support startup competitions, but the Bank has larger ambitions to be "the place of choice where people come for business advice," says Shawa.
The Bank of Palestine would like to partner with more investors to support youth, he explains; perhaps if the bank could forge closer ties with the private sector (via corporate entrepreneurship responsibility) and further support some of the incubators, accelerators, and seed funds launching in Palestine, it might be able to maximize impact.