Plans in place to accelerate technology start-ups in Gaza

AMMAN — The global humanitarian organisation Mercy Corps and Oasis500 on Sunday announced plans to jointly accelerate up to six technology start-ups this fall in the Gaza Strip.

The partnership will be implemented through Gaza Sky Geeks, a business accelerator created by Mercy Corps, and Oasis500, an early stage investment company and technology start-up accelerator programme based in Amman, said in a statement e-mailed to The Jordan Times.

As of October, start-ups will be invited to participate in the Oasis500 acceleration process, spending two months each in Jordan and Gaza.

Each start-up team will receive $14,000 of working capital from Oasis500, as well as advanced technical and business training and access to a global network of mentors to help them refine their business plans and investor presentations, according to the statement.

Oasis500 will take a 10-15 per cent equity stake in each company, and Gaza Sky Geeks will receive a 50 per cent equity stake at the time of exit to cover future operating expenses.

“Gaza Sky Geeks plays an important role in the rapidly expanding technology entrepreneurship network in Gaza,” said the statement quoted John Ross, digital economy programme director at Mercy Corps, as saying.

“Oasis500’s involvement gives us the expertise, funding, and network to take Gazan start-ups to the next level. Their acceleration programme is virtually unmatched in the region, and we’re thrilled to bring it to Gaza.”

Gaza Sky Geeks was initially funded as part of Mercy Corps’ regional Arab Developer Network Initiative through a donation from Google in 2011, according to the statement.

“Our goal is to equip entrepreneurs with the skills they need to build and run fast-growth technology companies,” said Usama Fayyad, executive chairman of Oasis500.

“While the youth in Gaza currently face the highest unemployment in the region, we believe our work with Mercy Corps can help unlock their potential to launch companies that create thousands of new jobs and inspire others to do the same,” Fayyad added.

View Online / PDF

Leave a Reply