Why Mentor?

  • Impact an Ecosystem

    Use your tech knowledge to change lives

  • See the real Gaza

    Be inspired by the world’s toughest entrepreneurs

  • It’s fun!

    Try the world’s best hummus and stroll along the Med

One of the biggest obstacles the Gazan tech community faces is isolation. The fiber internet is great and electricity shortages can be overcome with batteries, but a decade of closed borders has meant that few Gazans have worked in international tech companies or startups. In fact, most Gazans today have never been more than 30 miles away from home.

That’s where you come in. We can bring you into Gaza as a mentor to bridge that gap and expose Gazans to global best practices in software development and entrepreneurship. We bring developers, startup geeks, designers, angel investors and more to Gaza. What distinguishes our mentors is their love of the tech sector, their curiosity about emerging markets, and their passion to combine these to create new possibilities in places like Gaza.

Our mentors cover their own costs of travel. For us, this is a sign that we’re bringing people for whom this is a true passion. It’s also a budget reality: we’re on an extreme bootstrap budget.

We’ll give you an incredible chance to participate meaningfully in the startup sector of one of the most amazing, inaccessible places in the world.

Even if you can’t visit us in person, we are always looking to build our community of expert mentors who can advise remotely over phone or Skype.

CURRENT OPPORTUNITIES

We are currently prioritizing applicants with the following expertise to meet the current needs of our programs:

Startup Acceleration

LOCATION: Gaza City

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Rolling

Join us for 1-4 weeks between March and July 2017 to mentor our startups. We’re especially looking for growth hackers (ideally with experience in Egypt/Jordan/GCC online markets) to guide our teams through acceleration. We also ask mentors to prepare workshops with our startups, and for the broader tech ecosystem in Gaza. English is fine, but Arabic skills are a huge plus!
We would also love to engage mentors who are able to be here for up to four weeks (as opposed to a few days). We find that mentors are able to achieve a greater level of impact if they stay for longer, as they’re able to develop deeper relationships with our startup teams, better understand and advise on their challenges, work on milestones together, and integrate their expertise into GSG programs.

Please note that we are not able to respond to every mentor application. Your application enters our database. We may reach out to you in the future should a need for your skillset emerge.

Additional notes: 

If you stay for at least one week, you will receive free accommodation in one of the rented apartments in the Mercy Corps building where GSG is located. If you stay less than one week, you will pay for a hotel. You will be supported the entire time by our team of dedicated Gazan and international GSG staff who run GSG. This is a volunteer position without stipends, although the longer you are able to stay, the more flexible we can be with additional support.


Tech Education

LOCATION: Gaza City

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Rolling

Software developers: come to Gaza to help support teaching Gazan how to code during one of our coding acadamy cohorts. You’ll also help lead multi-day workshops on Python, JavaScript, or any other technical topic of expertise. You should enjoy teaching, and think of pre-work that Gazan developers can do ahead of time to make the most of your workshop. You’ll get the chance to connect one-on-one with our Gazan startups and give them the tools they need to turn their projects into viable businesses.

We are especially interested in developers with teaching experience and who love mentoring. Ideally you’ve also had some experience with coding bootcamps or leading meetings for coding.

We would also love to engage mentors who are able to be here for up to four weeks (as opposed to a few days). We find that mentors are able to achieve a greater level of impact if they stay for longer, as they’re able to develop deeper relationships with our startup teams, better understand and advise on their challenges, work on milestone together, and integrate their expertise into GSG programs.

Please note that we are not able to respond to every mentor application. Your application enters our database. We may reach out to you in the future should a need for your skillset emerge.

Additional Notes:

If you stay for at least one week, you will receive free accommodation in one of the rented apartments in the Mercy Corps building where GSG is located. If you stay less than one week, you will pay for a hotel. You will be supported the entire time by our team of dedicated Gazan and international GSG staff who run GSG. This is a volunteer position without stipends, although the longer you are able to stay, the more flexible we can be with additional support.


REMOTE MENTORSHIP VIA SKYPE

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Rolling

LOCATION: Anywhere
We are searching for two types of mentors:
1) Remote mentors who can be available as needed for specific needs a startup may face (e.g. a technical issue like a code review, or expertise on a target market in the Gulf, etc.)
2) Buddy mentors who are interested in consistently working with one or more teams to field a variety of startup questions and ensure they are keeping on track with their milestones.
Buddy Mentoring
We are pairing mentors that want to regularly support our startups with the teams that best match their skills and expertise. We interview you, we then hold a pilot session, and if there’s a good match, we ask that you commit to a minimum of 1 hour every two weeks to hold Skype sessions with the startup team

Specialized Skill Sets
Mentors with deep expertise in a specific area may be called upon by GSG and our startup teams as needed for a 1-2 hour call.. We’ll reach out to you whenever a startup needs your expertise as described in your mentor application.

Especially Useful Subject Matter Expertise
1) Software engineering and DevOps
2) Product Management
3) Online content marketing
4) Customer development and user feedback
5) Any regional tech market expertise, especially Egypt and Saudi Arabia
6) Gaming startups
7) Arabic speaking mentors


Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT KIND OF MENTORING DO YOUR TEAMS NEED?

Our teams arrive at different stages. Some will need very pointed, technical advice on a particular piece of application they’re developing, some others will need mentoring on basic business communications, because they’ve never had a professional experience before. Some others will need management advice to assign tasks within their team and deal with recruiting for specific skills.


WHAT QUALIFICATIONS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR IN A MENTOR?

  •  Skill set: We need a mix of general startup expertise, investors, designers, engineers, product managers, user researchers, UX/UI experts … you name it.
  • Long-term commitment: You don’t have to give many hours, but it would be great if you continue to stay in touch. Are you passionate about emerging markets? Excited to come back and help again, mentor over Skype a few times a year, or blog about this amazing place? Great!
  • Flexibility and availability: Gaza is a bit unpredictable. Teams may have to reschedule a Google Hangout at the last minute because of power outages. We may not get updates on your entry permit until a few days before your scheduled arrival. It usually all turns out well, but we need people who can be patient and flexible.
  • Women: We’d really love to have more women mentors. We have a very successful Women in Tech program and run coding clubs, technical workshops and hackathons dedicated to female entrepreneurs. Women in Gaza are especially inspired by women role models, so we’re always excited to bring a great international woman mentor to them.


HOW DO I GET TO GAZA?

Mercy Corps, our parent organization, sponsors entry permits for specialized mentors and visitors to enter Gaza through Israel. You or your company will be required to cover your travel costs including the cost of transport, hotel, and food in Gaza– we consider those trips donations and are very grateful for your support to Gazan entrepreneurs! Although we can’t fund mentor trips, applying for their permits and managing mentor trips are logistically intensive for our small staff. Before we start the application process, we’ll need a solid commitment from you on specific dates.
You must be able to independently obtain a visa to enter Israel. Consequently, unless you have multiple passports, it is very difficult for us to host mentors with passports for countries like Lebanon, Pakistan, or other countries with which Israel does not have diplomatic relations. The Israeli military also does not allow Israeli citizens or anyone with an Israeli ID number to enter Gaza.


IS IT SAFE?

Mercy Corps takes the safety of mentors it brings to to Gaza very seriously. Upon arrival, you will get a local cell phone and a security briefing, as well as advanced reading about the security situation and our procedures. Gaza City and the neighborhood where we work is quite safe, but you will have to comply with our security rules, including being accompanied by a GSG staff member at all times while outside, and only traveling in Mercy Corps vehicles. Complying with these rules may feel a bit restrictive to the adventurous, but it ensures that we are able to bring more mentors to Gaza and that Mercy Corps is able to do its vital humanitarian work in Gaza, something we are very serious about.
Our staff is always excited about having visitors and will always try to take you at least once for a walk by the ocean, a tour around Gaza City, and sampling the delicious local food.
Visitors stay in one of the international hotels in Gaza that host international diplomats, NGO workers, and journalists (they’re very nice!), or we can sometimes facilitate a rented apartment for you.


HOW DOES THE APPLICATION PROCESS WORK?

Applications are reviewed (and re-reviewed) on a rolling basis depending on the needs of our startups and events we may be holding, such as hackathons or Startup Weekends. When applying through our website, indicate if you are applying for in person or remote mentorship, or both. For all in-person mentorship applicants, we require phone interviews to understand you and your skill sets better.