The next wave of Gaza startups are launching via Indiegogo

Rafat Abushaban

- Articles and Thoughts #  O 1.7K views   اقرأ بالعربية

The Gaza Strip is infamous for political and economic instability, but recently it’s become home to a growing entrepreneurial ecosystem.

That sector is slowly growing, and for the second year running several entrepreneurs are launching projects on crowdfunding platform IndieGogo via an initiative called Gaza e-Business.

The campaigns have another two weeks to go, finishing up between July 14-16.

This initiative, which started in 2014 with six businesses, aims to help local entrepreneurs and producers reach customers and investors overseas using online tools, and teaching local entrepreneurs how to bootstrap and raise funding without having to tap international donors or local charities.

This year Gaza e-Business is supporting 13 startups in the Indiegogo campaign.

Education startups

Kidpreneur

Gaza kidpreneurs camp teaches young children the basics of entrepreneurship at an early age, helping kids grasp the basics of what is it like to be an entrepreneur and to cultivate their interest from an early age.

Esraa Haboush says they want to hold camps for children in the next two years to promote the concept amongst kids in Gaza, in collaboration with educational institutions. “So far there has been little attention from organizations to support teaching entrepreneurship for kids at an early age, and we aim to change that view.”

English Language Club aims at an older age group, helping university students and professionals speak English better via practical and collaborative lessons.

“We are going to make this project one of the best in English language teaching clubs to help ambitious university students, graduates and interested people (how to use) English language locally and internationally,” says Khaled Alzeini.

Madarek Production wants to fund an online platform for educational production in media, arts, and design, focusing on children. 

Art and design

Smile arts

Smile creates modern works of art such as portraits, handmade crafts and gifts, and sells them worldwide for the benefit of children.

“Despite the simple and limited resources available, Smile seeks to draw smiles on children’s faces,” says Nadia Hassaniya one of the four entrepreneurs behind Smile. “We are looking to establish our permanent exhibition for modern works of art.”

The team has resorted to crowdfunding to cover costs for operating expenses, bills, raw materials, video production, and a painting easel, as well as promoting their work.

Another artistic project is Positive In Positive Out that aims to provide design and education services based on spatial energy and the principles of feng shui, leading to a harmonic and happy life towards success and achievement. 

Improving lives, improving the environment

Biotutacide

Biotutacide is project that aims to produce biological alternatives to chemical pesticides. Their bio-friendly fungus to control a common tomato plant pest is the result of over two years of research and development.

Founder Nadia Amara says that they want to fast-track the transition to an eco-friendly region.

"We are struggling for sufficient funding in order to continue with our product,” she said. “(We’re trying) to open new markets for our product, which has proved its effectiveness in the local market during the last three years of research and development.”

Another idea for reducing chemical waste is provided by the startup Golden Lab. It has started a crowdfunding campaign for a project to extract silver from x-ray images and reuse the paper waste by turning it into book covers.  

“The idea has recently won a televised business plan competition called Towards Riyada as one of the most promising business plans, and we are aiming to accelerate the progress of the business and get feedback via the crowdfunding campaign” says Salah Alsadi from Golden Lab. "We need to secure supplies from external sources and get expert feedback in the field of examining precious metals to better develop the system.”

Technology Ideas

Smart Dual Sim

Smart Dual Sim is a project to create a mobile app for smart phones that automatically chooses the cheapest SIM card for phones that use dual SIMs. They hope the idea, when implemented, will help users communicate more cheaply.

Another startup is You Show, a video platform targeted for publishing and sharing videos that showcase success stories, talented people and short movies.

“Our main goal behind the campaign is to test whether our idea is as good as we think,” says Mahmoud Elhelou. “Our idea launched to publish success stories that motivate others, so I hope that we get help from people who have made it to share their stories via our platform.

“We are thinking big: we hope to make a partnership with TED to feature their talks on our platform, and to adopt talents and encourage success stories in the world.”

And finally, Gaza Glowing in the Dark is a project that presents solutions for power cuts. It uses glow-in-the-dark paints to show people roads and paths.

Food

Zaki

Zaki is a mobile app which offers recipes for all kinds of foods using common and easy to obtain ingredients. It guides customers in preparing delicious dishes from around the world. The entrepreneurs aim to develop an iOS app and improve their system.

Taste our Food is a kitchen for local foods to benefit people in need, and Gladness aims to open a coffee shop for women serving Japanese, Mexican and western food and drinks.


Original article was published on Wamda on Jun.29th, 2015