When you think of Gaza, I would wager the first thing that comes to mind is not ‘startup hub’. And yet, there’s an organisation called Gaza Sky Geeks that is trying to turn the Palestinian city into exactly that, with a startup business accelerator program, co-working space and some good old community-building.

I had a chance to speak with Said Hassan, the organisation’s ‘outreach and acceleration manager’ at the recent Tech Open Air festival in Berlin. For Said, it was his first time ever visiting Europe.

Among the things I learned is that Gaza Sky Geeks was founded in 2011 and remains the only startup accelerator in Gaza. It is run by international development organisation Mercy Corps with the support of none other than American Internet behemoth Google.

Said and I talked about the general startup and investment scene in Gaza, the challenge of running an accelerator / incubator in a place where it’s not easy to get people or physical goods – including computers for example – in and out, Google’s involvement and the lack of a 3G network in the region.

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