The Hybrid and Gaza Sky Geeks are helping Arab-Israeli and Palestinian entrepreneurs overcome adversity

TechCrunch | 6/7/2018 | Jonathan Shieber
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Imagine trying to build a business in a country where 90% of the water is undrinkable, electricity only works four hours a day and your travel is restricted to an area four times the size of Manhattan, and where in-person meetings are impossible because your partners can’t enter your country to meet you.

And imagine not having access to capital because of your ethnicity (as many POC entrepreneurs across the globe already do).

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That’s the situation for Arab-Israeli and Palestinian entrepreneurs trying to create businesses and access the enormous engine of wealth creation that has transformed Israel into “startup nation”.

The billions of capital and transformational opportunity that building startups affords to economies has largely been denied entrepreneurs in Israel’s Arab community and in Palestine.

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However, two organizations in the country and in the violence-stricken Gaza strip are working to provide access. One is The Hybrid, an Israeli government-backed initiative out of Nazareth that is trying to bring the benefits of the tech economy to Israel’s Arab population. The other is Gaza Sky Geeks, an Alphabet-backed initiative based in Gaza, that provides pre-seed investments, training and technology resources to Palestine’s Gazan population.

For Arab entrepreneurs living in Israel, The Hybrid is a resource to help overcome the broad cultural challenges that they need to combat. Things like a perception that backing their startups is inherently riskier than investing in a company founded by a Jewish Israeli citizen. Or the cultural stigma of failure that’s more prevalent in the Arab community.

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These are the things that Fadi Swidan and his Nazareth-based organization are working to combat. “There was the most important miracle that has influenced billions of people and it was the annunciation,” Swidan said. “The next miracle for the world and for the high tech industry will also come from Nazareth.”

The Hybrid invests in early stage...
(Excerpt) Read more at: TechCrunch
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