My previous post highlighted some of the areas for improvement for the Hi Tech Hub’s first event here in Ramallah. The two main objectives behind the initiative were to 1. share the knowledge and experience of established entrepreneurs and 2. create a space where those interested in the Palestinian tech startup scene can meet and network.
I think we met the objectives, but in this post, I’ll also write about the things I liked the most about the event.
1. Attendance: I think we generally have a problem in Palestine that when 200 RSVP for an event, only 30 show up. This event was packed, the seats were all taken, there were people in the back standing, some people could barely get inside. I even saw a group of guys who squeezed 3 bean bags together so that the five of them could sit. I think it terms of attendance, the event was outstanding. There were around 500 people at the event. I would have been happy with even 200. Realistically, I don’t know if we can sustain the same number at every meeting, but it’s definitely worth trying.
2. Diversity: I think the diversity of attendees was also very impressive. The fact that we had students, employees, developers, managers and CEOS, university professors, government officials, entrepreneurs of all ages, including an inspiring 12-year old entrepreneur who pitched his idea of “Not lost” application. What was also noticeable is the significant amount of females attending the event.
3. Speakers: Both speakers did an amazing job in sharing their experiences and engaging the audience both during and after the speeches. Anyone can learn technical issues, but it’s the experience of how to build and manage a company that is the real challenge. What students need the most is getting them exposed to what’s happening outside and I think both speakers gave the audience some knowledge of what’s happening.
4. Pitching: I actually liked the idea of having startups pitch their ideas, I wasn’t very happy with the organization of moving between startups. I think however that giving startups the exposure and practice of pitching their ideas was very important. I think these types of events open eyes on what’s needed to encourage entrepreneurship in Palestine and what areas our startups need help with.
5. Online community: Over 400 members on the Hi Tech Hub’s Facebook page, and all within less than a week. Some interesting discussions have started to appear, some related to the event and others in technology-related topics. There have been so many pictures online, that I’m seeing new pictures pop-up every few hours. Twitter isn’t very popular here in Ramallah, but I’ve also seen a number of tweets with #hitechhub. I’m hoping this habit catches up.
Overall, I would say a successful first event, with plans for the second event in late October already underway.
Again, I would love to hear feedback, both good and bad, regarding the event, so please feel free to comment below.