|12-22-2014, 08:40 PM||#1|
Gaza`s first and sole startup accelerator raises $118,000 in funding
With support from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, Gaza’s first and only startup accelerator has raised funding of $118,000, according to Mercy Corps who launched the funding campaign.
Gaza Sky Geeks (GSG) was initiated in 2011 with help of Google.org by the Google for Entrepreneurs platform.
The Gaza Starts campaign, which aimed to raise $70,000 in one month, secured 70% more than that target, with funds flowing from 50 countries. The campaign was launched by Mercy Corps, a U.S.-based humanitarian agency.
GSG seeks to provide the startups of GAZA with the required technology, entrepreneurship training, and with hopes to lure private startup investment, as well as promote women leadership.
GSG has also been organizing Startup Weekends in Palestine since 2011 and became an accelerator in 2013.
Half of GSG’s startups are being led by women and the Startup Weekend 2014 saw two of the top three winning teams led by women.
The first private investment that occurred in a Gaza startup was in 2013 when four startups attained foreign investments.
“Youth in Gaza are among the Arab world’s most educated young men and women, and they are hungry for the chance to prove themselves in the global marketplace,” director of Mercy Corps’ Gaza Sky Geeks program Iliana Montauk said on Sunday.
If The Gaza Starts campaign acquires funding worth over $500,000, it will continue its co-working space, and will run the accelerator for another year and will include activities such as an international hackathon, and the coordination of the first Silicon Valley visit by the startups in Gaza.
However, if the campaign manages to acquire an amount of $1.5 million, it is expected that this will continue for three years.
It seems most youth in Gaza is craving for opportunity, and they seem to overlook the need for critical humanitarian assistance and food, which shows the change to the entrepreneurial culture in the region has witnessed a notable expansion despite all the political turbulence.
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