israel-tech
Technology Outsourcing

London Tech Week: How Technology Can Help Unite Israel

“The first exit of an Arab start-up is closer today than ever before,” Smadar Nehab, CEO of Tsofen told the ArabTech Meetup at Google’s London Campus. “It will make known the enormous potential that Arab society has to contribute to the hi-tech sector.”

The potential of the Arabic Web has been much reported, but so far yet to be capitalized on. “High tech is driving Israel’s economy. You talk about the Startup nation, but Arabs don’t participate enough,” explains Dr. Ramzi Halabi, Tsofen’s Chairman. Tsofen want to change that, they want to bring the high-tech know-how of Israel’s Startups and integrate that into Arabic communities in Israel.

“Israel has two economies,” he says. The poverty rate for the Arab population in Israel is around 50%. “High Tech can be a growth engine of the Arab society in Israel.” Halabi & Tsofen want companies to hire more Arab engineers and to open branches in Arabic communities. Few women participate in the workforce, but if more companies open close by, there’s less barriers to employment. “We have thousands of Arab engineers in tech companies, but we need more companies opening branches in Arab communities,” he says. “We have the opportunity to make this change.”

Speaking at a roundtable at the same event, Jimmy Levy, General Managing Partner of Al-Bawader, the first investment fund focused on the Arab private sector in Israel, agrees. “It’s very easy to integrate Arabic engineers – the talent is there and we’re starting to see that happen.”

Speakers generally agree it will be 4-5 years before we see a $100 million Arabic exit. At the event we see the Arabic WebMD and Lonely Planet, while in the startup pitches afterwards we’re shown the Arabic Kindle as well as a diet app, education apps, and more. But which one will be the killer app that becomes the first?

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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is a journalist at CSO Online. Previously he was Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

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