Four years ago Gaza Sky Geeks and Google for Startups joined forces to connect startup founders from around the globe with Palestinian software developers. In the most recent round of this program, five GSG graduates were matched with Next Up Comedy, a UK-based startup founded by Sarah Henley and Kenny Cavey. Next Up Comedy is a subscription-based streaming platform for stand-up comedy. It also features exclusive shows and weekly live streams from comedy clubs and festivals, as well as an on-demand library of comedy specials and short sets.
Next Up Comedy joined Google for Startups without any previous in-house developers. “When the opportunity with Gaza Sky Geeks and Google for Startups came up, we jumped at it! Working with a team of developers is beneficial to us because we have never had an internal developer on our team before,” said Jason Wolfe, Web and Data Manager at Next Up Comedy.
THE LEADING STARS: AYMAN AND NUJOOD
Ayman and Nujood, from a team of 5 developers chosen to work in the Next Up Comedy Project. They shared their experience, challenges, and talked about how this program, changed their lives.
Ayman, an enthusiastic 24-year-old computer scientist from Gaza, began his career as a freelance UX professional while still in university. Ayman is passionate about front-end development, but knows that he still has a lot to learn to master it. At the beginning of 2022, he enrolled in Gaza Sky Geeks’ Code Academy. What Ayman liked about the Code Academy is the mentorship provided by the Gaza Sky Geeks team. “The learning approach was completely different to what I used to, the mentorship I was provided with at the Code Academy is exactly what I needed to move forward with my passion.”
Ayman had heard great things about the GFS internship from his peers, so he was eager to apply, “The day that I was accepted into the GSF internship program is the best day of my life.” He knew it would be a great chance to gain hands-on experience as frontend developer.
Nujood, from Hebron in the West Bank, graduated with a BA in Mechatronics Engineering. She loved her major but struggled to find a job after university. In 2020, she joined the Code Academy with the hope to find a remote job with an international and professional company. After the Code Academy, Nujood found work with companies such as Zaat.dev, Kiitos.
BUILDING A PAYMENT DASHBOARD
The next step for Next Up Comedy as a startup was to create a dashboard to handle user payments. Building this feature was a real challenge for the developers. In just 16 weeks, they had to automate payment management on the website. “Each day, there was a new learning opportunity for us, it was not a challenge because we enjoyed overcoming it as a team,” Nujood explained. “The team and the mentors were amazing, cooperative, and professional beyond expectations,” she continued.
Ayman, on the other hand, struggled with adjusting to teamwork after a few challenging experiences working with teams in university. This opportunity with GFS provided Ayman a chance to practice healthy team dynamics and experience success enabled by teamwork. Through daily standup meetings, the team kept track of their projects sprints and milestones. The tasks were evenly distributed among the team, and they were organized and professional in managing the project. “Working with this team erased any negative experiences I had before; I felt very fortunate and proud of our team’s efforts.”
Jason from Next Up Comedy was also satisfied with their efforts: “They were diligent and professional. The level of commitment and dedication to the project was constantly mind-blowing.” The highlight for Jason was when Ayman presented a run through of the project for the first time. Jason reflected, “Seeing Next Up Comedy’s future plans brought to life through professional and well-executed efforts was truly the best fulfillment for us.”
MAKE AN IMPACT WITH REMOTE HIRING
Next Up Comedy has offered a full-time position to Ayman at their startup, with re-location to the UK to support the company’s growth. “Being part of this project exposes us to work in different environments and helps us to understand what we need going forward. It was a great opportunity to help Palestinians develop their skills and give us the opportunity to work on something we had never worked on before.”
Do you want to diversify your team with Palestinan talents like Ayman and Nujood? Gaza Sky Geeks has a dedicated team that can match your business needs with the right talent. You can fill in this simple form here: www.gazaskygeeks.com/talent . For questions, you can reach out here: [email protected].
Gaza Sky Geeks; a program by Mercy Corps; is Palestine’s leading tech-hub. We provide a wide range of tech trainings to young Palestinains, transforming them into tech talents competing in the international market. In 2022 we tripled the number of short and long-term training participants to over 5,000 Palestinians; 55% of whom were women. We recently expanded our interventions to include capacity building for Palestinian tech service companies, driving new sources of international revenue and equipping companies with trained tech talents. Click here for a comprehensive list of our activities.