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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

No electricity, no problem: Startup Grind Gaza succeeds despite obstacles

Despite difficulties, Dave McClure, right, managed to get to Gaza for its second Startup Grind event, and it was a success. (Image via Ain Media)

by Christina Ganim, September 14, 2015
The difficulties of getting into Gaza didn’t deter Dave McClure. The prominent angel investor and founding partner at 500 Startups was the guest of honor for Startup Grind Gaza’s second event in Sunday, but first he had to get there.
To be sure, McClure already was scheduled to be in Palestine. He spoke at Startup Grind Ramallah last Thursday, but entry into Gaza required a different visa that could only be obtained from the Israeli government; the application process began many weeks prior. And it’s nearly impossible for Gaza’s entrepreneurs to get permission to leave the strip, even if it’s to simply hear McClure speak in Ramallah.
It took over a month and the assistance of Mercy Corps to get McClure permission to visit Gaza. But persistence paid off, and Gaza’s entrepreneurial community turned out in force on Sunday to hear him speak.
The event was an opportunity for Gaza’s startup community to benefit from McClure’s insights, and for McClure to get a small taste of the conditions in Gaza.
“Tough backgrounds breed resilient and nimble entrepreneurs,” McClure said, when the power went out. “This happens in Asia, too. Stop worrying about lack of electricity, focus and build great online companies.”

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