World Bank reports high rate of Palestinian women leading startups

By: Adam Rasgon | timesofisreal.com

Palestinian women are participating at relatively high rates in leading roles at technology startups in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, a World Bank report published on Wednesday found.

Twenty-three percent of Palestinians who founded tech companies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are women, according to the report.

In comparison, 19 percent, 12%, and 10% of startup founders are women in Beirut, New York City, and Cairo, respectively, the report said.

However, the report found that female Palestinian startup founders lack managerial experience. It said that less than 5% of female technology startup founders worked as managers before becoming entrepreneurs.

Concerning male startup founders, the report stated that lass than 25% had managerial experience prior to becoming entrepreneurs.

According to the report, 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.

The report also found that the West Bank and Gaza are adding an average of 19 tech startups annually.

In addition, it showed that many of the procedures to set up a technology company can be accomplished more quickly in the West Bank and Gaza compared to other places with similar startup ecosystems.

For example, the report said obtaining credit in the West Bank and Gaza takes half the time as in Beirut and a sixth as in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

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

Accelerator programs help startups in their initial stages to develop, and often provide small amounts of seed money to them.

Moreover, the report looked at investment in Palestinian startups. It said that it counted 51 investors in such startups in the West Bank and Gaza, of which approximately 75% are angel investors and 25% are venture capital firms.

One of the venture capital firms investing in Palestinian startups is Sadara Ventures, which was jointly founded by Israeli Yadin Kaufman and Palestinian Saed Nashef.

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