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Entrepreneurship in Arab society: turning a dream into reality - voila! Marketing and digital

2023-01-23T11:20:11.032Z

The absence of companies owned by entrepreneurs from the Arab society from the list of promising startups for 2023 would not have cried out to the heavens, if not for the enormous entrepreneurial potential hidden in them



Huge business potential and a sea of ​​obstacles on the way - the entrepreneurial journey in Arab society. (Photo: Pexels.com)

Recently, the technology websites and economic newspapers in Israel published the list of promising startups of the past year.

As every year, one after the other, the various websites presented excellent companies, which in 2022 achieved significant technological and business achievements.

But one statistic overshadowed the industry's annual celebration: the absence from these lists of companies owned by entrepreneurs from Arab society.



Few data: in the last seven years, the number of Arab students studying technological subjects in higher education institutions has doubled.

Despite this, of the approximately 11,000 startup companies operating in Israel today, only one hundred are owned by entrepreneurs from the Arab population.

Every year about 600 new startups are "born", but only ten percent of them are owned by Arab entrepreneurs.

An intolerable gap, the reasons for which are many

Ola Bakr. (Photo: ScienTech)

It already starts in the education system.

Lack of science majors in high schools, poor infrastructure manifested in the absence of computers and laboratories, and outdated teaching methods stand out negatively compared to education in Jewish society.

To this must be added the gap in the scope and level of informal technological education between the Jewish society and the Arab society.

Science, robotics and electronics classes are much less common in Arab society than their Jewish counterparts.



The disparities sharpen even more towards entering the industry.

Jewish entrepreneurs, unlike their Arab counterparts, come to the market with a significant advantage in their socio-professional networks.

The military service, with an emphasis on technological units, provides Jewish entrepreneurs with an extensive network of contacts in industry, which greatly facilitates their recruitment into companies.



In addition, entrepreneurs from Arab society suffer from low awareness of the ability to benefit from grants from the Innovation Authority, receive assistance from business mentors and participate in startup incubators.

Those who are already successful in integrating into one of these routes, have to deal with language and culture gaps, while most of these services are currently provided in the Hebrew language only.

The fact that most of the Arab settlements are peripheral and far from the centers of entrepreneurship and high-tech, which are concentrated in the center of the country, does not facilitate the development of Arab entrepreneurship.



Thus, in a market saturated with startups, where the race for quality employees and strategic investors is more competitive than ever, Arab entrepreneurs find themselves at a disadvantage compared to Jewish ones.

If that is not enough, the crisis that has afflicted the high-tech industry in the last two years has only worsened the situation for the average Arab entrepreneur, and most of them are left behind.

Social differences are not destiny

Already today we can bridge the gaps.

First and foremost, in the field of education, the proportion of students in Arab society eligible for matriculation at the level of 5 study units in subjects relevant to the high-tech industry, such as mathematics, English, computers and life sciences, must be significantly increased.

All this, while thickening the system of informal scientific education that will develop the creative thinking of the youth.



At the industry level, it is recommended to specifically promote applied R&D in the Arab society, and at the same time consider incentivizing companies that will recruit employees with a background in the STEM professions and integrate them into junior positions in their ranks. It is equally critical to establish startup incubators dedicated to the Arab society, where the entrepreneurs will receive training in their language, on According to cultural codes that are familiar to them and in an environment that will give them a feeling of "home". In this way, their self-confidence will be strengthened for the crucial steps in promoting the startup, such as meeting with investors, building business and marketing plans and hiring employees.



The inclusion of Arab entrepreneurs in the annual rankings for promising startups is of course not a goal in itself.

However, their absence reflects a mirror image of the dismal state of entrepreneurship in Arab society.

Only a multi-systemic change towards the field will bring about the realization of the potential of technological innovation in the Arab society.

However, above all, the development of Arab technological entrepreneurship will contribute to reducing gaps and strengthening the economy in Israel.




Ola Bakr is the entrepreneur and manager of ScienTech, a startup accelerator for the Arab company operating in Shafaram on behalf of the Galilee Association.

  • Marketing and digital

  • Entrepreneurship

Tags

  • The Arabic Community

  • Equal opportunities

  • High tech

  • Entrepreneurship

  • investments

Source: walla

All news articles on 2023-01-23

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