When it comes to working to cultivate innovation in areas where people live under restrictive circumstances, not able to move in and out of their own city, with a border closed to many opportunities and resources, we are oftentimes surprised by the resiliency demonstrated in the face of adversity. Gaza is one of those places.
Believe it or not, there are many examples of innovation and entrepreneurship in places like Gaza. HADAF: From Passion to Progress aims to bring awareness to these stories of resiliency and innovation in underserved areas in the Middle East and North Africa, while providing them with opportunities and resources to grow.
Twenty-five year old Mariam Abulteiwi is one such case. Despite blockades and security threats Abulteiwi is the founder of Wasselni—a smart phone application for finding and requesting a taxi, the Palestinian version of Uber with extra perks like social networking capabilities. Entrepreneurism is, at best, a long shot. It takes luck, effort, and most of all, support. Entrepreneurism in Gaza, some might say, takes a miracle. Abulteiwi saw an opportunity to make an impact on a real pertinent need in which she is uniquely qualified to address with support from the Gaza Sky Geeks team.
Gaza Sky Geeks (GSG) can best be described as the first and only startup accelerator in Gaza. They identify top startups, provide them with seed investment, and connect them to the resources they need to grow. At the launch of the Gaza Sky Geeks (GSG) Crowdfunding campaign here at HADAF, we spoke to Abulteiwi about her experience in carving a space to put Gaza on the map for technology startups and turning her prototype into an early-stage company.
Without the ability to travel and interact over new developments, there is a plateau effect for those like Abulteiwi who are trying to strategize for growth in Gaza. She describes GSG as a place you can meet, collaborate, and share ideas with those of similar creative mentalities. GSG has become a community for these entrepreneurs. During the most recent Israeli attacks on Gaza this past summer, funding for the accelerator’s programs and space was understandably refocused on humanitarian aid. Despite its success and impressive track record of building a startup pipeline, the GSG space will shut down at the end of December if they cannot fundraise successfully. HADAF is proud to partner with GSG for their crowdfunding campaign to support their resilient and diligent entrepreneurs.
For more information: To learn more about the campaign, visit the campaign site at Gaza Starts. Show your support by donating to Indiegogo! Follow updates on social media with the hashtag: #GazaStarts.