“Gaza Challenge” is a five-day event for local entrepreneurs whereby 46 teams compete for ten to twelve slots, the winners receiving a five month incubation period where their products are developed and tested online. The event is produced by Gaza Sky Geeks, a startup accelerator that mentors new tech startups in Gaza. Founded in 2011, the accelerator is a project for the Oregon-based charity Mercy Corps which was given a $900,000 grant from Google’s philanthropic division.
Vice News makes the point, “The beauty of the internet is that it can soar above the fortified walls and naval blockades that hem Gaza in. And since technical talent in Gaza is plentiful, and fiber internet here is strong (even in the absence of 3G), creative or tech-savvy people can invent web services and apps the same way they can anywhere else in the world and then target them at lucrative markets elsewhere in the region.”
“All the companies we work with are working on products that can maybe be tested in Gaza, but the real market opportunity is in places like Egypt or Saudi Arabia, where people have money, and where smartphone penetration is one of the highest in the world,” adds Gaza Sky Geeks director Ryan Sturgill.