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Young entrepreneurs from Arab countries take part in Israeli program to develop startups

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Starting-Up Together includes young men and women from countries that do not have official ties with Israel including Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Tunisia

By ILANIT CHERNICK

In an amazing initiative, a group of young entrepreneurs from Arab countries has been gathering weekly for a zoom meeting as part of a unique Israeli program to develop startups and social initiatives. 

The program, which is called Starting-Up Together, includes young men and women from countries that do not have official ties with Israel including Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Tunisia.

Budding entrepreneurs from Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Gaza and the Palestinian Authority also take part in the weekly virtual get-togethers.

During these meetings, which are hosted by leading figures in the Israeli innovation industry, the group is given tips and lessons on how to promote high-tech projects and also receive guidance and practical tools on how to realize their start-up and innovation dreams.

One of the main projects focused on as part of the program is teaching participants about promoting acceptance and change in the attitudes of youth and adults towards the LGBT community in Arab countries. Other projects also include connecting children from different ethnic backgrounds through joint actions, which encourages social diversity and also establishing a regional nature museum, among others.

The training and guidance are shared by Palestinian and Israeli figures with 40% of the program participants are women. The program encompasses all the stages in the construction of new ventures, including market research, the process of putting together a plan and business model, development, introductions and connecting participants to an array of potential partners and finding investors in Israel and around the world.

Starting-Up Together is a collaboration program between the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, the eBay Israel Development Center and the Center for Smart Cities at Bar-Ilan University.

It is funded by the Edmond de Rothschild Israel Foundation.

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