We asked three winners of Startup Weekend Gaza to share their inspiration and the impact of their wins.
14-year-old Eyas Syam’s team took second place overall for Fun Labs, a web-based game that lets kids do science experiments online.
What inspired him: “I couldn’t do the chemistry labs at school because of limitations here in Gaza. So I was looking for a way to make it easy to do the experiments virtually, and allow other kids to do them too.”
What his win means: “It means a lot for Gaza because my project will help other kids at school, and get others to start working on similar startups that can make their lives easier. For me, this is the first step in my entrepreneurial life; I’m super happy I had the chance to compete with older people and win.”
Sofiya Mosalem, 16, won a special prize for Boom Baby Boom, a mobile app and website for expecting and new mothers that helps them find the best specialized content, connect with other moms, create virtual support networks and consult experts.
What inspired her: “My little sister Maria, my little brother Younes, and all the kids I work with at YMCA summer camps.”
What her win means: “It proves that in Gaza there are talented people who, like everyone else, are trying to find ways to help the world and be successful. That Gazans are fighting with their minds, that we are hopeful and that we decide how we’re going to build our lives—and it gave me a push to continue and not give up.”
Rola Zaqout was on the first-place women’s team, which created Bzzra, a community where budding home gardeners can share experience, tips, pictures and videos.
What inspired her: “Gaza is a small region with a high population density and green areas that get smaller every day. So we want to encourage gardening culture in Arab countries, not only in Gaza, by making it easier, cool and fun to start gardening!”
What her win means: “That everybody believed we can do something great!”