My name is Hanadi and I am the founder of Actiovat, a platform to customize tours in the UAE. Starting my own company has always been my dream. By participating in the GeeXelerator, Gaza Sky Geeks ’ startup accelerator program, I was finally able to translate this dream into a reality. After 5 months of working on validating our business model and acquiring our first users, I, along with 9 other CEOs, emerged as the top 10 startups of our cohort. The next step of our journey is to take our startups to the next level by pitching at regional events and seeking our first investments.
Being an entrepreneur is challenging in any context. In Gaza, it is even more of an uphill battle. Due to political instability, the constant threat of conflict, and sealed borders with Israel and Egypt, the entrepreneurial ecosystem and investment climate is severely hindered. There is no local network of angel investors in Gaza. Because of the extreme difficulty for Gazans to travel abroad, it is nearly impossible for Gazan entrepreneurs to have face-to-face interactions with investors.
Gaza Sky Geeks has helped us overcome these barriers. Through the GeeXelerator program, we have validated our business models, launched our products, and gained our first users. With the help of remote and in-person local and international mentors, we have gained global perspectives and perfected our pitches. We are now ready to pitch at the region’s largest and most competitive startup events such as Startup Istanbul; complete a residency at the Zain Innovation Campus in Amman; and participate in Global Entrepreneurship Week events in the West Bank including the Get In the Ring pitch event. Last year, GSG startups made it to Bahrain and Istanbul and it proved to be worth all of the effort to get them there. Our very own Nour Elkhoudary, CEO of MomyHelper, pitched at Startup Istanbul and won second place among hundreds of startups! We know that we have what it takes to follow in Nour’s footsteps and champion Gazan entrepreneurs on an international stage.
This chance to represent our startups at regional and international events and deepen our network in the Jordanian tech sector is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all of us. And this is where we need your support to make it a reality!
GSG is now working tirelessly to secure permits and visas for us to travel and attend these events. As you may know, exiting Gaza is no easy feat. If GSG is successful with securing the permits for us, they are single entry/exit - meaning, we need to remain outside of Gaza for the entirety of our travel (nearly 13 weeks). We are asking our supporters, mentors, and champions to contribute to our fundraising campaign to cover accommodation and airfare for the trip. Any bit helps and on behalf of the entire GSG community, we thank you for your help!
About the Events:
Startup Istanbul is a highly competitive regional startup event. Approximately 25,000 startups apply from around 135+ countries and only 100 are selected. 10 startups from Gaza have been selected this year and have received official invitation letters to attend. We will get to meet world class mentors, investors, companies, and media outlets in the four-day event. We will have an exhibition stand, an opportunity to attend the demo day, mentor hours, workshops, and a chance to pitch on the main stage.
ZINC Residence Program in Amman. Several teams have also been chosen to attend a training program in Jordan where we will spend 3 months based in the Zain Innovation Campus (ZINC) co-working space in the King Hussein Business Park in Amman to be immersed in the Jordanian tech ecosystem. We will interact with other startups and build a long-term network. We will conduct market research to identify potential customers and develop strategies to target the Jordanian market with a goal of launching there in the future. We will also meet and pitch to regional and international investors based in Jordan; securing initial funding /early investment opportunities.
Global Entrepreneurship Week Palestine: With your support, 5 of our best teams will go to the West Bank to participate in Get in The Ring (GITR) competition and take part in the activities of the Global Entrepreneurship Week. We will have a chance to meet other Palestinian startups and investors. Two years ago, GSG sent a startup to GITR competition to compete and they won first place and received their seed investment.
Where your Funds will go :
We are asking for $25,500 to fund 10 teams travel expenses to Istanbul, Amman, and the West Bank, as follows:
$9300 to fund airfare and one week of accommodation in Istanbul for 13 individuals.
$10,800 to cover accommodation in Amman for the 3-month residency program at ZINC for 5 teams (10 individuals).
$2900 to cover accommodation in the West Bank for 6 individuals to participate in Global Entrepreneurship Week.
$2500 to cover the accommodation in Amman for 1 week for 6 individuals to attend entrepreneurship events in Amman.
About Gaza Sky Geeks
All of us have been incubated by Gaza Sky Geeks. GSG is the leading co-working space, pre-seed accelerator, and technology education hub in Gaza. GSG is a program of Mercy Corps that convenes online freelancers, designers, developers, and startup founders under one roof to share ideas, code, and build brighter futures by selling products and services online.
GSG’s mission is to catalyze an internationally competitive technology ecosystem in Gaza through technical education, online freelancing, outsourcing, and entrepreneurship.
Get to know our amazing startups
Grape Sales is an easy way to find discount offers. The app is the first one in Palestine and covers six categories: fashion, restaurants, electronics, groceries, sports items, and furniture.
The app will help the user save money, effort, and time, and will provide retailers with a platform to list discount items and reach more customers.
AkelApp connects women who cook in their homes with customers who want to order fresh, clean, and tasty homemade food. AkelApp offers a unique experience for customers who can't or are too busy to cook to healthy, homemade food. It also provides a source of income for women to share their lovely meals, and become financially independent.
Global Dental Gateway is a SaaS platform for dental offices that enables patients to review, select and book the best dentist. This platform was founded by Lina Khayal, a dentist who has spent 6 years in managing dental clinics. Lina understands that dentists are dissatisfied with patient’s late arrival and no-shows while patients are dissatisfied about the lack of information on dentists experience and prices. That's why she made GDG to solve this problem.
Araboost.com is an online platform for the MENA region that connect brands with relevant social media influencers to create successful influence marketing campaigns. Araboost makes it easy to find relevant social media influencers, Contracting with them and evaluate their performance, it also makes it easy for social media influencers to understand the requirements of their prospective clients to give them the best value.
Abeer Saidam is the Founder and CEO of Khzanty, a platform that allows users to buy and sell secondhand clothes. Abeer tested this idea via social media and collected lightly used clothes from girls and resold them. AKhzanty targets women between the ages of 18-35 years old, from Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait.
Marwa AlBeltaji, the founder and CEO of Hera is a developer, who learned how to code via GSG's Code Academy. She then joined GSG's GeeXelerator program to use her tech skills to launch her own startup. Hera is a web application that helps engaged couples find wedding vendors in Gaza. Couples can search for ready-made wedding packages, book vendors, and pay online.
Hanadi is the founder of Actiovat. She studied business at the Canadian University in Dubai where she witnessed the vibrant interest in Dubai as a tourist destination. Hanadi returned to Gaza after graduating to launch Actiovat, a platform that connects affordable local tour operators with tourists looking for customizable vacation packages.
As a Palestinian student, Islam’s dreamt of completing his postgraduate studies abroad. He started to apply for international scholarships and realized that he needed support to complete his application. This is how the idea of MeetScholars was born. MeetScholars is a web application that links successful recipients of international scholarships, scholarship advisors, and scholarship programs with prospective applicants across the MENA region to help them succeed.
Car Cleaner is a mobile application that provides car washing services anytime anywhere. Car Cleaner helps car owners save time by cutting out trips to the car wash. Instead, a car washing service comes to you! Ali is the CEO of Car Cleaner and is excited to bring this innovative service to Palestine and beyond.
In 2011, Saleem and his partner Abdalsalam Halawa worked together as Wordpress developers for startups and SMEs in the MENA region. They have worked with many customers and they have made hundreds of Arabic language websites. They know very well how expensive and time-consuming it is to create an Arabic website because the lack of Arabic themes and the difficulties of using English themes. This is how Lavendar was born. Lavender is an Arabic website builder and marketplace for Wordpress themes where users can create dynamic Arabic websites in 10 minutes. Users are able to choose from many pre-built Arabic templates, install the theme, add content, and register the domain and hosting account with just a few clicks.
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