Realities of the start-up economy in Palestine

As the world reaches the end of incrementalism, the Palestinian economy struggles to innovate, disrupt, and create change at the same speed and scale as worldwide technology progress. The developing economy of Palestine is constrained by the political situation and poor e-infrastructure, which is reflected in the degree of expansion and innovation that a Palestinian start-up can bring to the economy. With the rise of Generation Z and the growth of the gig economy, Palestinian freelancers as well find it hard to compete at the regional and international levels. These challenges have called for a change in the economic development model and raised many questions about the quality of the Palestinian talent pool and its capability to produce innovative start-ups and businesses.

During the past fifteen years of economic development in Palestine, the bottom-up approach has proved to be more aligned to the national needs of the economy than its top-down counterpart. Before Palestinian entrepreneurs can gain access to finance and new markets, their business skill sets, culture, and education must be addressed. Development projects that responded to weaknesses and challenges at the grassroots level have managed to create more impact than those that focused on grasstops through venture capital (VC) and market-penetration strategies. The Palestinian talent pool was simply not ready. It needed the proper innovation culture and the disruptive environment in order to grow. Universities and schools needed to integrate the studies of innovation and entrepreneurship into their curricula so that their graduates could compete in the job market, whether as entrepreneurs or as freelancers.