Fostering Entrepreneurship – Google’s Plan for Palestine

November 30, 2011

The world has watched for months as protests and revolutions have swept throughout the Arab World. However in Palestine, a region long known for political unrest, a quieter transformation is taking place. Google is using its resources to cultivate a Palestinian technology revolution. The company, in partnership with Mercy Corps, is hosting technology seminars and entrepreneurship classes throughout the Palestinian territory.

An article posted recently on Fast Company examines why Google has pinpointed Palestine.

Google stands to benefit from whatever is built. Currently less than 1% of the searchable content online is in Arabic. If it grows, Google can sell ads against the new content. And if the startups leading the charge are using Chrome, Android, AdWords, YouTube -- well, it's always wise to be in on the ground floor.

Google sees the potential Palestine offers. Thus far they have committed $2 million to initiatives to promote entrepreneurship and tech education, split between Sadara Ventures and Mercy Corps.

Because in Palestine, Google sees something few other international companies do: opportunity. "Palestinians have such a unique position," says Gisel Kordestani, Google's director of new business development. "They're well educated. They have strong English-language skills. With 88 million people in the [Middle East and North African] region getting online, they have the opportunity to build something for the Arab world."

It isn’t an easy road. There are still many technical barriers, like a lack of a 3G network, but Google hopes their efforts to foster a new generation of tech startups in the region will yield significant results, both for the company’s profit margin and for the people in the region.

Read the full article on Google’s work to foster the tech sector in Palestine here.