"Yalla" event in Jerusalem. Designed to bring together Jewish and Arab entrepreneurs | Photo: Dor Pazuelo
"Yalla" event in Jerusalem. Designed to bring together Jewish and Arab entrepreneurs | Photo: Dor Pazuelo

Forbes 30under30: Coexistence of Innovation in Jerusalem

Forbes' Global Under 30 Summit concluded in Jerusalem with a day full of activities about social change and coexistence through entrepreneurship and innovation. “Forget about the conflict for a minute and focus on our start-ups”, said one of the entrepreneurs from Ramallah

The 2022 Forbes Under 30 Summit is an international gathering of top young founders, leaders and mentors. This year, the summit came back to Israel for four days of learning, connecting and creating.

This world-class Under 30 lister event came to an end in Jerusalem with an exciting gathering designed to bring together Jewish and Arab entrepreneurs, Israelis and Palestinians, with entrepreneurs from around the world: Americans, Europeans, and Africans to discuss joint action, as well as try and build bridges of understanding and cooperation through technological innovation.

The event was initiated by International Forbes, the Jerusalem venture capital fund JVP, and the Margalit Startup City Jerusalem – to lead social and geopolitical change in the area through entrepreneurship and innovation.

“Yalla” Event Panel at the JVP Innovation Center | Photo: Yonatan Boger

“Israel is an amazing country, full of the energy for entrepreneurship and startups,” said Randall Lane, Forbes magazine’s chief content officer. “We have been bringing the conference to Israel for years and with it hundreds of leading young entrepreneurs, all part of Forbes’ global Under 30 list. These inspiring events give hope not only to entrepreneurs from this region but to entrepreneurs from all over the world. “

The event’s guest of honor was Israel’s US Ambassador, Thomas Nides, who said: “I cannot understate how important such meetings are. The Abraham Accords were the beginning of something really important. It’s the essence of bringing people together. The free trade agreement, as an offshoot of the Accords, is brilliant for the region, for the Israelis and Emiratis, and hopefully, the benefit will spread to the Palestinians,” he said. “We need to ensure that young Palestinians from the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza have a link to entrepreneurship and innovation”.

JVP and MSC Founder and Chairman Erel Margalit, said: “We named this event the power of yalla. Yalla means ‘Let’s go’ in Arabic, and also ‘Let’s go’ in Hebrew. We are taking ten cities, ten ideas, and ten projects that will change the way you think about the Middle East, and it is you, the young leaders, young entrepreneurs, the young social activists, the diplomats, the people who want to do a social change and business, it is your role, mow, to make the difference.”

“I cannot understate how important such meetings are”. Thomas Nides (right) and Erel Margalit | Photo: Yonatan Boger

The Israeli and Palestinian participants, which included tech entrepreneurs, startup heads and social activists, joined their counterparts from around the world to discuss how their initiatives were aimed at promoting a common industry and building bridges of understanding and cooperation through technological innovation. At the end of a long day that included workshops and discussions, there was an exciting pitch competition.

The three start-ups that won the competition: Greeners, a climate start-up from East Jerusalem, Quantum Equity, a crypto start-up from Nablus and Jerusalem, and Flare Studios, a gaming star-up from Haifa.

“When we use innovation to build companies built between Israelis, Israeli Arabs and Palestinians, the conflict melts away,” explained Shai Beneli, CMO and Founder of Quantum Equity, a startup with solutions for cryptocurrency managers. “The bridges we have between us melt away and we are able to see that we are all human beings. We all have our uniqueness but we are all the same.”

The winning start-ups in the Pitch competition | Photo: Yonatan Boger

Mohammad Dwaikat, CTO of The Middle Frame, a photography platform that provides visual content tailored to Arab advertising companies that came from Ramallah. simply added, “Forget about the conflict for a minute and just focus on us as human beings and our start-ups.”

Lina Zahayka, CEO of Greeners, a Palestinian startup using CO2 emissions to create fertilizer said: “The most important challenge that gathers all the people, not just a specific nation, is climate change. When we gather together on this and forget the conflict and focus on making a better environment for us and our children.”

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