Mercy Corps (Gaza Sky Geeks)

Mercy Corps is a global organisation of 5,000 people working in more than 40 countries around the world.  Powered by the belief that a better world is possible, Mercy Corps works to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities. It partners with local communities, particularly in areas facing tough challenges such as crisis, conflict and economic collapse. Mercy Corps has been working in the West Bank and Gaza since the 1980s, delivering emergency response, education and psychosocial support for children, and skills and vocational training. Since 2008 it has been investing in information and communications technology training with the aim of increasing start-up participation in tech entrepreneurship activities, and particularly providing support for women in this field.GSG

Gaza Sky Geeks, a Mercy Corps project, is the first and only start-up accelerator in Gaza. It aims to transform talented young people from Gaza into future tech business leaders, and to achieve Gaza’s potential as a start-up hub. Following a period of active outreach, it nurtures innovation, incubates teams that show potential, and accelerates top teams by connecting them to crucial resources. In 2015-16, Asfari Foundation support was used to develop a new co-working space for young Gazan entrepreneurs, to equip them with the infrastructure and financial support they need to develop their business ideas. At least 200 users benefited from access to the hub over the course of the year. In 2016-17, funding from the Foundation is being used to continue to improve this co-working space, creating a vibrant and well-equipped workplace for young entrepreneurs, to continue offering specialised advice, training and financial support to young start-up teams during the business incubation phase, and to offer technical training in software engineering to bright unemployed graduates.