- The Netherlands-based and Palestine-focused accelerator Talent Acceleration Platform (TAP) has closed a $1 million Seed round, led by Wamda Capital with participation from the World Bank, Loyal VC, and other angel investors.
- Founded in 2018 by Jafar Shunnar and Christian Vezjak, TAP is a Dutch/Palestinian initiative that provides talented youth in Palestine with 16-week online educational programmes and prepares them to work remotely for European companies.
- The new funding will enable TAP to expand to other countries in the Mena region in the coming years.
As part of its mission to help address both the talent shortage in Europe and the immense youth unemployment issue in the Middle East & Northern Africa region, Talent Acceleration Platform (TAP) announces that it raised $1 million in funding to scale its career acceleration programs in Palestine and similar overlooked communities, with Wamda Capital as one of the main investors.
Unemployment versus vacant job openings
By 2050, the Mena region needs to produce 300 million new jobs just to absorb the large youth population entering the labour market. This means there potentially will be 150 million additional unemployed youth if high unemployment rates are not improved. Surprisingly, unemployment rates are particularly high among university graduates. In Palestine for example, the country where TAP launched last year, the unemployment rate is over 40 per cent for higher educated people under 30 - and even over 60 per cent for the women in this group.
At the same time, companies in Europe and the US are struggling to find the right talent to fill open positions, which is impacting economic growth and the impact on environmental goals as well. More than 3 per cent of all available jobs in Europe are vacant – more than ever since statistical records of this data started in 2006 – meaning that around six million jobs are up for grabs across the EU. Correspondingly, the EU’s unemployment rate sank to 6.0 per cent in 2022 – another record figure since at least 2001.
TAP is bridging the gap between universal talent and unequal career opportunities
TAP is a Dutch/Palestinian initiative aiming to contribute to solutions to both challenges simultaneously. The company enables talented, high-potential young people in fragile parts of the Mena region to jumpstart their remote careers through 16-week online educational programmes. Students join a skills-based training programme which focuses on very specific roles in order to make them job-ready upon completion.
Beyond graduation, the company empowers participants to get a job with an international company remotely. TAP currently upskills talent for roles in software development, sales, and digital marketing, with additional programmes on the horizon. At the same time, it’s working to build its own edtech platform to deliver programmes in a both scalable and personalised manner.
“We have developed our own curriculum for ‘Power Skills’, which develops effective communication, networking and other 21st century skills. This unique content empowers our TAPers not only to be job-ready, but also installs a critical mindset, and creativity and fosters strong personalities with a growth mindset,” Tabea Muller, Head of Product, adds.
“Our graduates are a really strong addition to any workforce. So we are now building a platform to enable the delivery of our programs to a much bigger audience across different countries.”, said Jafar Shunnar, TAP’s co-founder and CTO.
Launch, and investment for growth
Since 2022 the company has trained over 100 students of which over 80 per cent are already working full time. TAP aims to scale its programmes in the coming years in order to place over 1,000 graduates yearly. Current companies hiring TAP graduates are to be found across Europe, including Germany, the Netherlands and Spain.
TAP recently closed a funding round of $1 million to do just that. Wamda Capital is one of the main investors in the round, with others including the World Bank, Loyal VC, and several angel investors.
Fadi Ghandour, executive chairman of Wamda Capital, says about the recent investment in the company: "We are really excited to support TAP and be part of their important work. Young Palestinians require new skill sets to enable them to fill the demand gap for tech talent in Europe and globally. We think TAP is the company that is able to do this work and we will work closely with them to fulfil their mission of helping young talent in areas like Palestine find rewarding careers globally.”
TAP is currently active in Palestine and aims to expand to other countries in the Mena region in the coming years. “We plan to turn TAP into an ecosystem where thousands of jobs are being created, enabling high-potential youth to access the opportunities they deserve,” said Christian Vezjak, TAP’s co-founder and CEO.