This week, the StartUp Negev technological accelerator held a hackathon for 35 participants who worked together in mixed Jewish-Bedouin teams on various tasks to develop their new start-up ventures. The accelerator is located at the Switch Center in Idan Hanegev Industrial Park, in the heart of the Bedouin community. Accelerator participants completed multiple tasks and attended fascinating talks by senior figures in the technology sector, who also helped them turn their ideas into reality and develop their products and services within a few short hours in an intense work marathon.
Like many other events that were forced to adjust to Ministry of Health guidelines, the Hackathon was held in two “capsules” in order to prevent large assemblies and protect the participants’ health and safety. Participants moved from one work station to the next, working on design, business pricing, technological problem solving, and presentation. The notable ideas developed in the accelerator and the Hackathon included an app for individuals with learning disabilities, a solution for camel-related dangers for drivers on the road to Eilat, an app for locating accessible toilets, and a solution for preventing smartphone theft.
StartUp Negev accelerator participants will present their finished products on Demo Day, the final stage in the process that will take place in late July to showcase all the projects developed in the accelerator. Prizes will be awarded to the top three products: NIS 50,000 to first place, NIS 40,000 to second place, and NIS 30,000 to third place.
The StartUp Negev project encourages technological leadership in Bedouin and Jewish society, and helps bring the world of technology closer to the general public in these communities. The accelerator, which is operated by Moona Space for Change, is a joint project of Israel Chemicals (ICL), the ICA Foundation, Mata (a non-profit association), the Ministry of Agriculture, the Triguboff Institute, Eretz-Ir (a non-profit association), and the Chai Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Sapir College. The program takes place at the Switch Center in Idan Hanegev Industrial Park, and is designed to accompany young entrepreneurs from the ideation stage to actual development by providing tools for project development and promotion. The accelerator strives to foster young people’s awareness of the world of technology and the world of entrepreneurship, and encourage them to delve deeply into them.
Gideon Shavit, Chair of Mata and the person behind the program noted, “The aim of the project is to encourage and advance members of Bedouin society in all parts of the Negev to join other Israeli high-tech entrepreneurs. The StartUp Negev program, which has operated with great success in recent months, gives members of the community an opportunity to develop technological ideas and provides the necessary tools. The outstanding projects will receive seed financing to develop their projects. We are pleased to see how the great ideas of the accelerator’s participants become reality, and we are waiting in anticipation for Demo Day, which is scheduled to take place at the end of this month.”