In just 3 days, this event gives its participants the chance to experience the highs, lows, fun, and pressure that make up life at a start-up. As they learn how to create a real start-up, they will meet very best mentors, investors, and sponsors who are really to help then get started their own projects.
Successfully, Gaza strip proved its sufficient ability to adopt this international event, challenging all the bad circumstances and overcoming lots of obstacles depending on great organizers’ well and hard working.
Start-up weekend held several events in Palestine and Gaza strip.
But, what special in this event is that:
- It’s the first start-up to target university students. The organizers are very conscious of the importance of supporting youth and they are aware of the lack of opportunities for the Palestinian youth.
- It greatly immerses the disabled students in social activities. In this start-up, we record impaired girls which was nominating to the finalists. And the organizers’ team itself has a visual impaired girl.
- It gives the chances to females to emphasis their presence in the community beside the males and to destroy all the stereotypes. This start-up had 11 finalists females and 7 males.
4)It enhances the team work and the voluntary participation. There are more than 15 volunteers in logistics, social media and translation, all form university students.
5)It enhances the understanding that all participants are winners as they will enlarge their relation circles and adopt new perspectives which will help in the future.
6)The actual winner’s project idea will be supported to be applicable.
At the end, I thank all of who were part of his event and this success, volunteers, ,participants ,sponsors, organizers, mentors, judges and advisers.
A special thanks goes to the editor of this report: Shahd Mustafa Abdelhadi
Last month Gaza has witnessed a unique, different and special event with a very new theme; “Disability”. Gaza Startup Weekend team has implemented the first of its kind event “Startup Weekend Disability – Gaza”, where they aimed to integrate young people (female and male) with disabilities into entrepreneurship ecosystem and give them an equal opportunity to establish their own businesses that will also serve them.
The pre-event stage was a little bit difficult since the organizing team was not able to reach the disabled group so that two of disabled influencers where included to serve as a consultant to reach the disabled group. After two weeks of the registration process, the team was able to get more than 500 applications, and 80 ideas of them were accepted to participate in the event; 45 were disabled with different types of disability, and the rest was a youth with ideas that serve disabled.
To ensure achieving the goal of the event mentioned in the first paragraph, the organizing team had been very careful, and worked hard to facilitate everything in the event from A to Z, so participants are safe and comfortable; Transportation was availed, the hall was prepared to suit their movement, two physiotherapists were available for any help, and in case they were tired a special place for rest was ready.
A lot of pre-preparation were made especially fitting the main place of the event to the disabled needs and specifications, and that made the organizing team facing a budget shortage, but all things were solved with the support of the local community, who allowed the organizing team establish all the required changes in the event place.
Eng. Abdalrahman said ” I participated in the startup weekend disability as a mentor, and I was really surprised by the positive energy and the great turnout to the challenge of the participants, before the event I was afraid a bit that the participants will not react well, will have a difficulty to do what they planned. But among the three days of the event, they all were like a beehive. Working with a high level of ambition and determination. Of my point of view, the great goal achieved from this event is giving the encouragement and confidence to these participants to participate in any future event in parity with their peers of others, they are equal to all segments of the community”.
The Weekend started as one of the events participating in the International Entrepreneurship Week. During it, 20 teams have developed ideas and created prototypes that contribute to solving disabled problems. The event ended with the winning of three entrepreneur startups.
The first place was “JOSUR” startup, is a website and smartphone application present job opportunities for people with disabilities and gives them a chance to apply and compete to get them. This will help people with disabilities to access the labor market and get the available opportunities easily. This application is unique as it solves one of the most important problems that people with disabilities in Palestine have.
People who want to put themselves in the shoes of an entrepreneur and contribute to a more sustainable world, take their chance, have an adventure, in order to be part of first Startup Weekend Education – Gaza.
We have put a lot of time and efforts in order to prepare for this event and till now we are working day and night to ensure the success of this work. The deep motivation has pushed me to take a part in the world of business, for this I was keen from the beginning. I thought well of the team that I can choose to work with me for the startup weekend. I was persistent that the team should be a mixture of youths, females, university students and recent graduates, that was a challenge. Many people did not believe in youth’s ability and repeatedly claimed that those young people cannot succeed in organizing such a big event. The challenge was apparent and we have got to believe that we have to learn more things in order to enter the world of business with a strong spirit. The world of business has been always wonderful and full of challenges and zealousness.
In fact, it was uneasy to make our choice of participants, however, I had to choose the best. While I was building the team I focused on two main characteristics. The first is that women make up half of the team. The second is the ability to engage into this challenge. These two points were paramount of significance.
The importance of management stems from the collaboration in order to Achieve Group Goals. Management arranges the production process effectively to achieve the intended goals. In team management, I relied on each member to do the given tasks personally. We wanted to make future entrepreneurs out of these young people, who would be able to take proper decisions and bear responsibilities. In spite of those skeptics who did not believe in the ability of the team to succeed, the team proved its readiness and efficiency, they successfully did it. Skeptical claims were invading us from everywhere, and that made it hard for the sponsors to believe in the abilities of our team members, but we could defeat the negative images that surrounded the team.
In particular, looking at the attack that we faced from the other people (skeptics) who don’t believe in the ability of youth, I came up with an idea to adopt a new strategy that help companies run by young people. As his is what we had done in the beginning within our own organization.
Teamwork and cooperation were our close friends during our work as we felt ourselves a business family. Each member in the team is significant and we can’t proceed with him/her. By this, we overcame the feeling of fear from future and that granted our team more self-confidence.
Team members have worked so hard as the image of success became very vivid after a continuous working of 35 days. They worked for long hours the whole day and sometimes during the night. After one month of volunteering, each member of our team armed him/herself with passion and positive energy that will definitely make good leaders of them.
During work, we had explanatory sessions with entrepreneurs, we solved their problems and tried during the event to make so their dreams come true.
We wanted to make sure that every team has earned not only awards but also more experience. Thus we coordinated with the “Incubator” in Gaza Strip, who collaborated with us for the first time. So, we have the ability to provide awards for all participating teams, won or not.
In spite of all doubts, we made a success as it was the first time that the “Incubator” took part, they were of great help. Their assistance added more success to our program and made a remarkable contribution to the event.
Honestly, sometimes things do not work out as good as we wanted when we collaborate with each other, no matter how hard we try, how many difficulties and problems we faced, we could overcome all the challenges and conditions.
One of the most intense days that I face was, when we received a message titled as “Advice for on of the members of the team”. The message was sent by one of the organizations’ leaders which claims its support for the entrepreneurs. The content of the message was shocking as it was warning a member of our team of the risk of definite failure which will consequently make the team fail as well. With his Curriculum Vitae attached, this person wanted to emphasize that the whole team would fail. Thus the event maybe. For one reason or another, it badly influenced me while I had to find a quick solution to restore the motivation and zeal to my shaky team.
I rushed to call friends who have companies and experience in that matter as they might have faced the same risks. They directly came to the office and showed their full support. They talked to the team, recharged them with positive thoughts and encouraged them to go forward in the project. That effectively changed the negative thoughts they had to positive ones.
I want to emphasize on how the community builds a true system through collaboration and the sharing of ideas, decision and goals.
Finally, my team and I eagerly await the day of the event. This time everything is ready, there’s a real benefits for all for all participants, there are a lot of new things and all I have to say this was such an amazing experience, and one that I’ll never forget!
I would like to extend my sincere thanks to my dear friend Karama Fadel and Mohammed Nijim who helped me out to write this.