Beyond political beliefs and interests, religious or political alignments, race, or geography, I think we can all agree on two things:
Conflicts do affect people, a lot. We can also agree that, along with numerous challenges, the digital age brings about great opportunities.
With its bombed-out buildings and severe power and water shortages, Gaza is one of the places on earth where, among others, young and talented women and men are being deeply affected by circumstances beyond their control. Unable to leave Gaza, their options for professional and personal growth are greatly limited.
After more than a decade of closed borders, even with high-speed internet access, isolation from top-tier work environments, management, and technology firms is one of the major obstacles facing Gaza’s nascent tech ecosystem. Forging partnerships like this one, in which Gazan tech talent can grow and get trained up outside working with top tier clients, and then earn an income upon returning home, is one of the most powerful things we can do to expand the capabilities of Palestine’s growing tech sector. Ryan Sturgill, Gaza Sky Geeks Director
The relationship between Optimum Partners and Gaza Sky Geeks provided young, talented engineers from Gaza an opportunity to undertake an internship with Optimum Partners at its offices in Amman, Jordan and, if successful in the internship, land a full-time job with Optimum Partners working remotely from Gaza Sky Geeks' state-of-the-art, brightly decorated workspace in Gaza City with access to high-speed internet and constant electricity supply.
Gaza Sky Geeks was launched with the recognition that consistent access to high-speed fiber internet could allow Gaza’s highly educated youth to side-step many of the current restrictions on the movement of people and goods that hamper the Gazan economy.
Founded in 2011 by international NGO Mercy Corps in partnership with Google, Gaza Sky Geeks began by holding the first Startup Weekends in Gaza and expanding education about tech entrepreneurship. In 2014, Gaza Sky Geeks began working with individual startup founders to grow their businesses outside of Gaza and to develop their own incubation curriculum. In 2014 and 2015, they facilitated the first venture investments into Gazan startups.
Today, Gaza Sky Geeks is the leading co-working space, startup accelerator, and technology education hub in Gaza bringing together online freelancers, outsourcers, and startup founders together under one roof to share ideas, learn, innovate, and code.
Marco Gorin, Co-founder and CEO at Optimum Partners stated: "We are extremely excited about this relationship and internship program in association with Gaza Sky Geeks. Apart from wanting to delight our clients, we want to achieve great things like increasing opportunities for employment, growth and empowerment for women in the MiddleEast as well as extend the benefits of the global digital economy to capable individuals whom would otherwise be unable to partake in it. We focus on full-cycle software testing as well as front and back end software development. 55% of our workforce are currently women against the reported average 40% of women working in the IT sector in leading countries in the region like Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. (according to The Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington). This program and relationship will help us establish over time a new satellite delivery center while fulfilling our corporate vision by investing in the professional growth and economic freedom of young talented Gazan engineers”.