World Bank Report: High Rate of Palestinian Women Led Startups


According to the report, twenty-three percent of Palestinians who founded tech companies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are women, a figure that is almost twice the figure of cities like New York.

Palestinian startup ecosystem has one of the highest rates of female entrepreneurs across analyzed ecosystems. This is according to a new World Bank report “Tech startup ecosystem in West Bank and Gaza“.

There were 19 percent, 12%, and 10% of female led startups  in Beirut, New York City, and Singapore, respectively.

The West Bank and Gaza are adding an average of 19 tech startups annually. Out of these 23.65% are female led while 77.35% are male led with the average founder age pegged at 27.7 years.

While the key strength of the startup ecosystem is the presence of talented people, with highly educated founders (85 percent with a university degree and 27 percent with graduate degrees), the bulk of founders have limited managerial experience, resulting in limited business acumen.

Less than 5% of female technology startup founders worked as managers before becoming entrepreneurs. On the other hand, there were less than 25% male founders with managerial experience prior to becoming entrepreneurs.

This is a big hurdle since startups with at least one founder who has prior managerial experience are 1.45 times more likely to receive funding than those that do not have founders with such a job history.

Active venture capital firms operating in the West Bank and Gaza Strip include: IbtikarSadara VenturesSharakat, and Siraj Fund Management Company.

The report also pointed 20 accelerator programs in the West Bank and Gaza, many of which have received international support, like Gaza Sky Geeks in Gaza City.

Some of these include BaderBethlehem Business Incubator (BBI)Business Startup Incubator Support (BSIS) ProgramBusiness and Technology Incubator (BTI)Birzeit University Najjad Zeenni IT Center of ExcellenceCEWASFastForward AcceleratorGaza Sky GeeksIbdaaPalestine’s Information and Communications Technology Incubator (PICTI), and TYO

The analysis was based on a survey covering over 400 entrepreneurs in the West Bank and Gaza.

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