Hundreds of donors large and small came together to raise $267,000 for Mercy Corps’ Gaza Sky Geeks through our recent crowdfunding campaign. Many of them are not only donors, but also strategic partners who join us in our mission to grow Gaza’s entrepreneurship movement.

Among these donors is a group of Palestinian companies committed to the economic success of Gaza and its young people. National Beverage Company Coca-Cola/Cappy (NBC), which donated $10,000 to #GazaStarts, is one of these local corporate leaders.

NBC, a franchise of Coca-Cola International since 1998, is the biggest employer in the food and beverage sector in the Palestinian Territories. NBC’s broader vision is to shape a better future for the Palestinian people. To that end, it makes investments in youth and sport, education, health, and a cleaner environment.

“It makes sense for us to have been part of this remarkable campaign,” says Imad Hindi, general manager of NBC. “The young people of Gaza are incredibly smart, driven, and resourceful. We want to give them every opportunity to realize their dreams.”

Sponsorship of #GazaStarts closely follows another significant NBC commitment to the Gaza Strip. In late 2014, the company announced a major expansion into Gaza, investing $20 million in a factory with multiple production lines, the first of which is expected to be up and running later in 2015. The factory will ultimately employ 300 people, and NBC expects it to indirectly create 3,000 job opportunities. NBC plans to uphold the highest standards of environmental sustainability, constructing a water line to supply local communities with clean water.

“Like the investment in our new factory, this startup accelerator shows people around the world that Gaza can be a dynamic market that is safe for investment,” says Hindi. “NBC is here to stay as the Gazan economy develops and grows through investments like ours and the determination of entrepreneurs we see at Gaza Sky Geeks.”

The Chairman of NBC, Zahi Khouri, is also collaborating with other private sector leaders to launch the Innovation Fund, which will invest in Palestinian startups. Mr. Khouri is the chairman of Palestine for a New Beginning (PNB) which hosts the Global Entrepreneurship Week in Palestine each year.

We are thrilled that NBC joined our #GazaStarts campaign, and look forward to future collaboration!