Within Gaza’s fast-growing entrepreneurial sector, Gaza’s technological community holds a Startup Weekend event every year. This year, the event will focus specifically on children.
“It is the first startup event exclusively for kids in the Middle East,” Startup Weekend Gaza (SWG) organiser, Ahmed Saqer, told MEMO.
The Startup Weekend is a 54-hour global event that aims to encourage entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs to start their own businesses. The weekend sees developers, designers and business-oriented individuals come together to find out if their business ideas are viable, and to work in teams to produce business prototypes.
Powered by Google for Entrepreneurs, the program for all Startup Weekend events are as follows: participants begin with 60-second open mic pitches, form teams around the top Startup ideas voted for by the participants, then spend the weekend developing and perfecting prototypes for their respective businesses before presenting their ideas in front of local entrepreneurial leaders for critical feedback.
“Startup Weekend has helped a lot of university graduates from the ICT and business sectors to actually kickstart businesses and succeed,” Saqer said
He further explained that “Between 25-27 August, we will have 50 kidpreneurs aged 10-15 pitch their ideas to experts, form teams, and begin/plan their own business,” stating that the idea generated much interest.
Organized and led by volunteer community leaders and sponsored by a number of local partners who facilitate and provide services, the event includes 11 mentors who will guide the children and assist them as they plan and develop their business ideas.
Despite the overwhelming challenges that Gaza’s entrepreneurs face as a result of the Israeli siege, from electricity cuts lasting up to 16 hours a day, to travel and trade restrictions, they continue to find an outlet of hope in web-based Startups.