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Home Politics 22/December/2020 05:17 PM

ICEP 2.0 featured distinguished thought leaders, leading technology companies, VC fund managers from Japan, USA, Europe, MENA


RAMALLAH, Tuesday, December 22, 2020 (WAFA) - Palestine International Conference for Entrepreneurship ICEP2.0 closed yesterday its marathon sessions with speakers representing thought leaders, innovation experts, business leaders, development agencies, tech multinationals, investors, startups, entrepreneurs from the USA, Europe, MENA, including, UAE, Germany, UK, France, Jordan, Norway, Japan, Switzerland, and Palestine, said ICEP2.0 in a press release.

The conference covered the Ecosystem for Innovation, the Funding Map, the R&D/Outsourcing potential, the Startup Generation in Palestine, Startup Pitches, closing with a Special Dialogue with Silicon Valley.

The program included a session hosted by the World Economic Forum on the role the 4th Industrial Revolution is playing in the socio-economic fabric.

In his opening speech at the online conference, Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh announced the upcoming reform of the companies' laws to include special facilitation for startups for ease of doing business working with the World Bank and IFC. 

He stressed the government's work on creating a vocational university and coding training program to prepare the young generation into a self-employed generation building on the innate resilience and innovation of Palestinian minds and youth.

"This is the first time we are able to gather such a distinguished panel of speakers from diverse backgrounds, important positions, and countries. This is because of the success of the first conference, the partnership between government, private sector, and international organizations in convening this event, plus the energy of the global shapers and community of entrepreneurs in Palestine. We are active and inclusive players in the innovative ecosystem and we have to lead in the digital transformation of the country," said Hashim Shawa, Chairman of Bank of Palestine Group, one of the Co-Chairs of the conference.

Samer Khoury, Co-Chair of the conference and Chairman of CCC in Athens said: The talent and level of professionalism of Palestinian ICT engineers is excellent, they are now attracting hundreds of outsourcing jobs from international companies; we feel the movement, we see the ideas of startup companies, we see the passion of a new generation. This is why we sponsor the conference, to increase awareness, to support the future of youth, women, the hope of Palestine."

"Last year I brought 130 German, French, and other European companies, investors, and entrepreneurs to ICEP 1.0 in Bethlehem. Everyone was pleasantly shocked at the level of energy and freshness of the startups. Everyone wanted to come back this year and bring another company. That is why I am happy to Co-chair ICEP 2.0 online with our Palestinian and International partners, to keep the momentum and build more bridges", said Steffi Czerny, Senior Advisor to Hubert Burda Media and Co-Chair of the Conference.

Minister of Entrepreneurship and Empowerment, Usama Sadawi, pledged the fact that his ministry will be a one-stop-shop for solving problems for the entrepreneurs and will be receptive to their issues working with all the partners locally and internationally to ensure a friendly ecosystem for the young generation of entrepreneurs in Palestine.

Youssef Habesch, IFC's Resident Representative in West Bank and Gaza, had the following to say on their institutional partnership on behalf of the IFC: "As IFC, we were among the first to sponsor ICEP last year and we are proud to continue this partnership because we believe that innovative, forward-looking entrepreneurs and robust private sector are key for sustainable economic development.
We are committed to support the Palestinian startups to spread their reach to regional markets and globally."

"As the World Bank, our foremost interest is to help the private sector by supporting enabling environment reforms, skills development, and providing financial and technical assistance to startups and SMEs to allow them to grow and create jobs. Digital economy, innovation, tech have become a focus of the World Bank support, as a path to a sustainable and resilient Palestinian economy, and where we see a lot of opportunities and untapped talent. This focus is even more important given how the Covid-19 crisis accelerated the adoption of digital technologies and the need for the digital transformation for a country to stay competitive in the future", said Kanthan Shankar, World Bank Country Director for West Bank and Gaza.

Ammar Aker, CEO of Paltel Group said: "As leaders in the ICT sector and connectors of youth in their social media and communication platforms, we feel the energy, the impatience of the digital generation. We will continue to work with partners to provide the infrastructure support, and spur innovation through investments and mentorship of our creative entrepreneurs."


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