Startup accelerator success in one of the world’s toughest places
A successful crowdfunding campaign was a historic moment for Gaza’s startup sector. Over 800 people contributed from over 50 countries to save their only startup accelerator and grow Gaza’s nascent startup movement. Below is an update post-campaign.
Written by Iliana Montauk, Director, Gaza Sky Geeks
Mainting a Vibrant Co-Working Hub
When you helped us reach our first goal in the #GazaStarts campaign, you made it possible for us to keep our co-working hub open until the end of 2015. In the past four months, our hub has become more vibrant than ever before.
We now have 40 to 60 people making use of Gaza Sky Geeks’ modest space each day! Every room is filled with a startup team, including our balconies and kitchen.
Teams tell us every week, “Gaza Sky Geeks is my home.” What we had hoped for is taking place in front of our eyes: young people meeting each other and forming teams, sharing friendly competition as well as knowledge, and most of all, building a community that inspires innovation, fun, commitment, and a can-do attitude.
Most Gazans have never heard of a startup. If they have a great idea, they do not know how to turn it into a business. This is where they get help.
Outreach and Incubation
Just 1.5 months after our campaign closed, we ran our first big outreach event of the year (we’ve increased our goals from the campaign and are now hoping to do two big outreach events in 2015!)
We decided to shape this one as a bootcamp that would teach the Lean Startup model, since this curriculum had been sorely missing in Gaza and was affecting our potential entrepreneurs’ ability to succeed. Have a look at how it turned out:
We were blown away by the bootcamp results. Run from March 27-31, the bootcamp attracted fantastic mentors from around the globe and strong early-stage startup teams. Our team believes that the content delivered was the best at any startup event to date in Gaza.
Read more in this piece in Women 2.0 written by mentor Angie Chang. Or read this blog post recapping the whole event.
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