Global humanitarian organization Mercy Corps and the region’s premier early stage investment company and technology start-up accelerator program, Oasis500 joined hands to accelerate up to six technology start-ups by this fall, which will be implemented through Gaza Sky Geeks, a business accelerator created by Mercy Corps.
“Our goal is to equip entrepreneurs with the skills they need to build and run fast-growth technology companies,” said Dr. Usama Fayyad, Executive Chairman of Oasis500. “While the youth in Gaza currently face the highest unemployment in the region, we believe our work with Mercy Corps can help unlock their potential to launch companies that create thousands of new jobs and inspire others to do the same.”
Gaza Sky Geeks was initially funded as part of Mercy Corps’ regional Arab Developer Network Initiative through a generous donation from Google in 2011. Beginning in October, startups will be invited to participate in the Oasis500 acceleration process, spending two months each in Jordan and Gaza.
“Gaza Sky Geeks plays an important role in the rapidly expanding technology entrepreneurship network in Gaza,” said John Ross, digital economy program director at Mercy Corps. “Oasis500’s involvement gives us the expertise, funding, and network to take Gazan startups to the next level. Their acceleration program is virtually unmatched in the region, and we’re thrilled to bring it to Gaza.”
Each startup team will receive $14,000 of working capital from Oasis500, as well as advanced technical and business training and access to a global network of mentors to help them refine their business plans and investor presentations. Oasis500 will take a 10-15% equity stake in each company, and Gaza Sky Geeks will receive a 50% equity stake at the time of exit to cover future operating expenses.