Digital entrepreneurship and innovation are becoming key focuses of many governments across the Middle East as they seek to reform their economies. In Gaza though, the startup scene faces a unique set of geopolitical challenges that impede its growth potential both locally and internationally.
To improve startups’ access to the regional entrepreneurship ecosystem as well as accelerators and funds, the Palestinian Information and Communication Technology Incubator (PICTI) has launched the ‘Connect Gaza’ initiative. The project is in partnership with the Private Sector Development Program, a project by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development - and OXFAM an international confederation of charitable organizations that are focused on alleviating poverty, through the Gaza Economic Recovery Project.
Nidal Qanadilo will be the entrepreneurship principal advisor for Connect Gaza.
The initiative has four key components:
1. Mapping key startup stakeholders in the ecosystem. This includes ICT accelerators, incubators, coworking spaces, platforms and investors of all types that are active in Palestine and the greater MENA region. The map will include a brief on each entity containing public information.
2. A detailed needs assessment survey for five selected startups, to identify the needs, capabilities, and gaps of the selected five that match the acceleration and venture capital criteria.
3. Workshops and training sessions on building capacity, which will cover topics such as acceleration and investment. They will also be designed to address the gaps identified by the needs assessment survey.
4. Networking and matchmaking events, which will enable startups to connect with the relevant stakeholders in the region.