The results of the bootcamp we held on March 27-31 blew us away. The mentors, teams, and content were all fantastic. Our team believes the content was the best of any startup event we’ve ever run in Gaza!
One mentor wrote about her experience for Women 2.0: check it out here.
Our biggest takeaway from this event is that we have high-potential early-stage teams. Mentors who have traveled to 45 countries to work with startups told us our tech entrepreneur talent rivals what they’ve seen around the world. Now we just need to make sure to provide these teams with the resources they need to succeed. Most Gazan entrepreneurs learned about important concepts, such minimum viable products and pivoting, for the first time during this bootcamp!
The mentors were the most valuable resource we shared with startups during this event. We’ve learned to give Gazan startup teams LOTS of time with international mentors so that our potential entrepreneurs can soak up their knowledge and insights. Some of the amazing international mentors at our latest bootcamp event included:
- Fadi Bishara of Blackbox
- Angie Chang of Women 2.0 and Hackbright Academy
- Lauren Peate of Jamalon, Endeavor, and many more
- Thomas Kjemperud, a digital nomad, founder of Startup Letters
- Magnus Petersen-Paaske of AIRTAME, the Kairos Society, and Startup Bus Africa
You can read their bios here.
We had hundreds of teams apply for this event. We accommodated 35 of them. For the first time, we headhunted many of the teams, especially to find more experienced talent. We also interviewed applicants and worked with them for weeks before the bootcamp, bringing them to GSG for networking events so that they could fill the gaps on their team before coming.
Of the 35 teams that attended, 19 were selected for the next step: incubation. A few more were given the chance to join if they reach their goals in the next week.
Teams were selected mainly based on their founders’ ability to execute and adapt. The teams’ idea was also a factor in the selection process, but at such an early stage, we believe that strong teams matter more than ideas: the idea will change many times between now and success anyway!
Our bootcamp focused on Lean Startup methodology and introductions to other important concepts (like how to build a strong team, founder and market fit, etc). We included:
- Elevator pitches
- Your startup’s vision
- How to sketch out / prototype your idea
- Your startup’s anatomy: team, founder/market fit, financials, etc.
- Customer profiles: who is your customer?
- Customer development
- Validation & pivoting
- Scrum methodology
- Time management as a startup founder
- User acquisition
- Customer engagement: the hook model
We’ve shared all the presentations from the bootcamp here. You are welcome to use them. If so, please make sure to credit both the presenter and Gaza Sky Geeks.
We were only able to run this bootcamp thanks to the following supporters:
- #GazaStarts crowdfunding campaign: We’re in action thanks to you! The bootcamp was our first major outreach event of the year. You made it possible.
- Oasis500: Oasis500 generously sponsored the space and food for this bootcamp. Thank you!
- SpeedClick: SpeedClick generously sponsored the internet at the event.
We also had several more generous supporters:
- Bayt.com: Bayt.com is sponsoring two of our incubated startup teams under an innovative Entrepreneurs in Residence program that we’ll be announcing soon. The first team was selected at the bootcamp!
- Magic Lens: Magic Lens is one of our favorite photography, video and website production companies in Gaza. Our friends from Magic Lens generously sponsored the media coverage of the event.
We’re now gearing up to start an intense eight weeks of incubation / pre-acceleration. It begins tomorrow. We can barely fit all the teams into our tiny co-working space. Some may need to sit in the kitchen!
FOLLOW THE ACTION ON TWITTER
Personally, I never used to tweet until I came to Mercy Corps’ Gaza Sky Geeks. Now I do. You can too! Or at the very least share the experience by following along at www.twitter.com/gazaskygeeks. We use both Twitter and Facebook to keep you engaged in every step.