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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.

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Ahmed Saqer Ahmed Saqer