SwitchMed's Latest Edition, "Green Startups Meet Market Influencers," showcases innovative green and social start-ups designed to address the particular current needs of Palestine.

The online session, named "Green Startups Meet Market Influencers," along with the last edition of incubated start-ups, was organized to commemorate the end of the SwitchMed II program in Palestine, marking almost decade of development in the region.

Published on Monday 06 May 2024· START-UPS AND ENTREPRENEURS

Despite the challenges posed by the conflict situation, the organizers are committed to supporting startups at B-Hub, part of Center for Continuing Education at Birzeit University, with green entrepreneurship models to launch their final business implementation and access to finance.

Participants listened to welcome messages and reflections from guest speakers, starting with Dr Osama Mimi, Director of the CCE at Birzeit University, who emphasized the importance of collaboration between Palestinian and international institutions for the success of SwitchMed Program.

Noelia Martínez Huerga, Green Entrepreneurship Project Manager at SwitchMed, representing Medwaves, reflected on past achievements. She looked back on her collaboration with Olga Batran, Director of B-Hub, and the Birzeit academia on a daily basis, expressing gratitude for the collective efforts made alongside official bodies, donors, and facilitators. She extended congratulations to the entrepreneurs who served as exemplars, highlighting the selection and incubation of 17 green startups and 4 blue startups in Palestine: Aisha Design, GEMECO, Cycling Palestine Academy, Hakawi, Pal Eco Water, GreenTech, Mini Bites, Vermi Land, Hindar, Sunpaint, Al-Telal Farm, Blessed Honey Land, Blue Stone, and others. She also mentioned that there is an opportunity to collaborate together after the SwitchMed Program ends if entrepreneurs migrate towards the Switcheers Community Platform.

Coordinated by the moderator Eng. Baher Dikeidek, Private Sector Development Specialist at Consulting Unit,  B-Hub, the “influencer-style meeting format” session provided an opportunity for these entrepreneurs to present their actual projects and connect with potential investors and collaborators, serving as a “gentle elevator pitch”. The online conference gathered approximately 40 participants throughout the 2-hour session.

Spotlight on Green Innovation: Insights from SwitchMed Start-Ups Edition Using PechaKucha Method and Finantial Seeking Support

The reunion showcased green projects and mentioned blue ones that have been incubated, with the latter mostly located in the Gaza Strip. All the projects have been featured in a catalog in a compilation/portfolio format for all potential influencers and investors. Participants from the session have received this catalog immediately after the session. The catalog is  also available upon request.

The new startups showcased initiatives such as recycling plastic waste for designing products and creating clothing and accessories, creating organic fertilizers based on vermicompost, producing organic meat and fertilizers from rabbit breeding, purifying manufacturing wastewater, converting solid waste into construction insulation materials, and producing paints from stone and dust residues. They also aimed to eliminate harmful electronic waste by repurposing it as spare parts for electronic device maintenance for new purposes, promoting eco-tourism with cycling, and packaging healthy chocolate with customized logos.

Before this online encounter, each professional has received outstanding training in green entrepreneurship and has demonstrated themselves to be competent and committed professionals. They are capable of effectively communicating the advantages of their products/services and articulating their vision for the future. All have demonstrated a good understanding of their products and the market, providing detailed information about materials, manufacturing processes, and unique features that differentiate them from competitors. Moreover, they possess a solid grasp of the market size and its main competitors. Each entrepreneur has clearly identified their primary target groups and outlined strategies for reaching them through various marketing channels, including social media and trade fairs.

Remarkably, the incubatees from the last edition of SwitchMed prepared the session using the PechaKucha presentation format, where 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each, totaling 6 minutes and 40 seconds per presentation. This format made for a dynamic online gathering for  the participants attending the “Green Startups Meet Market Influencers”. All the start-ups involved in SwitchMed projects appear to be adapting themselves to the unexpected market situation while presenting their plans and figures, and are also making progress with implementing their business models into reality more locally than before the conflict.

This makes their business valuable and attractive for financing, sponsorships, grants, awards, etc. As a consolidated group of incubated companies in Palestine for this last edition of SwitchMed II, a total finantial amount of 150,000 euros aprox. has been requested with this “Green Startups Meet Market Influencers” online event , ranging from 10,000 to 40,000 dólars per incubated company petition – some companies did not provide specify the concret amount because they highlighted their need of support in technical and netwokring efforts for being able to penetrate regional makets.

Ananda Alonso Nacher, Project Manager of Impact Investment, congratulates the exceptional projects at SwitchMed. She explained that Medwaves will continue to provide access to finance through the Switcher Investor Fund and encourage the utilization of the SwitchMed Toolbox, particularly the impact monitoring tool, which includes environmental, social, and economic indicators, for company tracking and sharing data with the ecosystem interested in providing financial investment.

Investors and business support organizations such as The Higher Council for Innovation and Excellence, the Palestinian Businessmen Forum, and other regional organizations have demonstrated their interest and readiness to support these entrepreneurs through various levels of interventions.

More than an End: A Prelude to New Relations, Synergies, and Green Opportunities in Palestine!

These projects have a positive impact on the green environment and society, such as reducing pollution, creating job opportunities for women, youth, and people with disabilities, and promoting sustainability, as well as raising awareness about these issues supported by the focal point in Palestine.

Mr. Zaghloul Samhan, director of Planning and Development Department at EQA said: “I deeply appreciate the remarkable efforts of B-Hub in advancing the concept of green entrepreneurship in Palestine. It’s not easy given the challenges our country faces – from a lack of awareness among people to resistance towards changing lifestyles and business practices, an underdeveloped market, and extremely complex political and economic situation. These factors collectively create significant obstacles for any business, let alone green startups. Despite these daunting hurdles, the B-Hub has successfully supported nearly 400 green entrepreneurs and has even established real green businesses on the ground. From the inception of the project in Palestine, the EQA has stood by the B-Hub, witnessing firsthand the challenges and actively contributing to finding solutions. Today, we rejoice in our shared success. Congratulations to all involved.”

To recap, the entrepreneurs have identified several problems they want to solve with their products and services: pollution and excess waste, especially plastic, in Palestinian cities; the lack of organic meat and fertilizers in the market; the large amount of solid waste and the difficulty of disposing of it; groundwater pollution and environmental degradation; the lack of awareness about the importance of sustainable agricultural practices and food free of toxic residues…

In these challenging times, start-ups focusing on sustainability, innovation, and environmental consciousness will undoubtedly set them apart in the future. We hope this session will also attract attention and encourage impactful investment in Palestine to aid in its recovery.

Let’s support green startups and encourage others to adapt to sustainability in Palestine!

University Birzeit, B-Hub

The B-Hub, administered by the Center for Continuing Education at Birzeit University, became a SwitchMed country hub in 2016 and has since served as a Business Development Operation for SwitchMed II. Since then, it has collaborated closely with local governmental focal points, including the Ministry of National Economy and the Environment Quality Agency, to promote green entrepreneurship in Palestine. B-Hub specializes in the development of startups and MSMEs, and despite the challenging circumstances, we remain dedicated to supporting them.

“I deeply appreciate the remarkable efforts of B-Hub in advancing the concept of green entrepreneurship in Palestine. It's not easy given the challenges our country faces. The B-Hub has successfully supported nearly 400 green entrepreneurs and has even established real green businesses on the ground."

Mr. Zaghloul Samhan, director of Planning and Development Department at EQA