Occupied Palestinian Territory - OPT Article

Digital inclusion: Inclusive opportunities for Palestinian entrepreneurs

The Palestinian economy suffers from imposed restrictions on the movement of people and goods, especially in Gaza, as well as the lack of growth stimulators. Palestinian youth and entrepreneurs struggle to access opportunities that will allow them to create successful initiatives and employment opportunities in the Palestinian market.

During the first quarter of 2021, the unemployment rate reached 48% in Gaza and 17% in the West Bank. This situation especially affects women.

During the first quarter of 2021, the unemployment rate reached 48% in Gaza and 17% in the West Bank. This situation especially affects women.

Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics

Over 250 information and communication technology companies exist across Palestine and they contribute to about 12% of Palestine’s GDP.

Since July 2018, ACTED, with funding from the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), Région Sud and Ville de Paris, has been implementing in the occupied Palestinian territory an intervention which aims to bypass the obstacles to development by exploiting the potential of digital tools. More specifically, this project aims to enhance young Palestinians’ employability through the improvement of their digital inclusion and their knowledge of the information and communication technology sector.

Overstepping obstacles in the information and communication Technology sector

In the oPt, the abundance of creative initiatives, especially in the information, communication and technology sector, is unfortunately met with a stagnating economy and a lack of support from relevant stakeholders. This has created the need to provide support and guidance to aspiring entrepreneurs. Facilitating suitable means for them to acquire the needed skills and knowledge to develop their ideas and turn them into successful, profit generating projects that will contribute to the Palestinian economy and create job opportunities.

Ibrahim is a financial and business consultant with extensive experience in finance, auditing and Enterprise Resource Planning solutions locally and in the region. Ibrahim is passionate about helping young entrepreneurs develop their skills and strive to succeed with their creative ideas.

I believe that a gap exists in supporting entrepreneurial projects in the Palestinian market. There are many creative ideas and truly talented individuals who would definitely succeed with the right guidance and mentoring.

Ibrahim

Through ACTED’s initiative, Ibrahim coached of entrepreneurs across Palestine to improve digital inclusion among the population. He even extended his work with volunteering to train and mentor two additional teams in the Gaza strip. In total, 24 individuals benefited from Ibrahim’s coaching.

 

 

Sustainable growth through digital inclusion

This project has built the capacities of government entities and professionals in the information communication and technology field and has provided aspiring Palestinian entrepreneurs with the needed resources and tools to develop their business ideas. ACTED’s intervention has improved the digital literacy of young Palestinians through the creation of an online learning platform which offers courses across numerous disciplines ranging from language skills and translation to finance and entrepreneurship.

Through Ibrahim’s mentorship, entrepreneurs who participated in this project had the chance to develop their ideas and create actual business models. The teams had a wide range of creative ideas such as an electric scooter rental scheme to be used in universities and residential neighborhoods, an online platform to market and sell Palestinian products in local and American markets and developing tools to assist in enhancing memorization through mind mapping.

“This project created a positive impact on the Palestinian economy. Job opportunities and investment stimulants were created through this project and I believe that all the entrepreneurs who benefited from the training and mentoring have acquired the needed skills to help them in the next steps of their project” said Ibrahim.

Additionally, the mind mapping team has won a cash grant through ACTED’s initiative and created a minimum viable product (MVP) for their project which is an early prototype of the final product that will be offered in the market place in the future.

The two additional teams in Gaza, that Ibrahim volunteered to coach, learned about the practical side of implementing their projects and developed the business side of their ideas. One team has already began implementing its initiative which is to create an online learning platform for university students containing diverse educational material. Both teams have promising potential and are making great advancements in developing their projects.
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