- Title: Technology incubator helps young Gazans realise their ideas
- Date: 8th November 2016
- Summary: MOBILE APP "IMAGE READER" READING IMAGE OF ARABIC WORDS
- Embargoed: 23rd November 2016 11:08
- Keywords: Palestinians Gaza entrepreneurs technology business incubator
- Location: GAZA CITY, GAZA
- City: GAZA CITY, GAZA
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Information Technologies / Computer Sciences,Science
- Reuters ID: LVA00257L066T
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Yasmine Abu Salim is working on a mobile app that will help blind people.
Her 'Image Reader' project is among the 25 that are being developed by a technology incubator in Gaza City.
"The mobile app is made for many categories of people, one of it is the blind. You can take as many pictures on your mobile randomly, the pictures get gathered as if you have used a scanner. The application later works on analysing the script in this image and then translates it into an audio for the blind," Abu Salim explained.
Gaza's University College of Applied Sciences (UCAS) launched the technology incubator, with an aim to create jobs. It is funded by Kuwait and Denmark under the supervision of international charity Oxfam.
The incubator provides a range of services.
"We learn how to get to the market, they explain to us the nature of the business. We don't only benefit from the money but we also benefit from the experience and knowledge," Abu Salim said.
Neighbouring Israel has earned a reputation as a "start-up nation" for the number of high-tech businesses it has brought to market.
Gaza is physically cut off from the world under a blockade imposed by Egypt and Israel, but that hasn't quashed the enthusiasm of young entrepreneurs who are getting guidance on their start-ups.
Another project being helped under a one-year programme is 'Agriotec'.
"'Agriotec' is a complete system of taking care of plants for a safer agriculture and developing the agricultural sector," explains Hisham Shraim, who is working on the project.
Samar Hijjo is working on an app called 'Baby Sitter'.
"(It) follows up on the mother when she is pregnant until she gives birth and until the baby is two years old. Week by week, with all the details related to the baby and the pregnancy. It provides her with answers to the problems that she might face. There is also a forum called 'Mother Club' where she speaks to other mothers who went through the same experience," Hijjo said.
Issam Al-Zenati, the technical and awareness advisor at the UCAS incubator, explained how potential businesses are being helped.
"It provides the entrepreneurs with office space, internet, electricity, public relations abroad and meetings with specialists in finance, business and technology. And the most important thing is the supervision it gives to these projects until they are realised," he said.
The projects have been in the incubator for six months.
Technology giants Microsoft and Google have also offered support to young entrepreneurs looking for guidance on their start-ups in Gaza.
Since 2011 a a program called Gaza Sky Geeks has helped identify and nurture high-tech start-ups in the coastal enclave, with the incubator launching more than a dozen businesses.
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