The jury chose three ideas for financial technology solutions to participate in the integrated incubation program launched by the National Bank in collaboration with the Flow Accelerator, with the goal of providing them with the necessary development support. The selection was made from among 18 entrepreneurs from the West Bank and Gaza Strip who had received intensive training from experts and specialists over the previous two days.
The jury included a number of specialists and experts in the field in addition to official and regulatory authorities that included the Executive Director of the Financial Stability Group at the Palestinian Monetary Authority, Iyad Zitawi, and the Director General of the Digital Financial Services and Innovations at the Palestinian Capital Market Authority, Dr. Bashar Abu Zaarour, CEO of the National Bank Salameh Khalil, and FinTech business specialist at GIZ, Shorouq Qawariq. As for the committee of experts, it included the Director General of the Technical Department of the Higher Council for Innovation and Excellence, Dr. Mohammed Abu Eid, Head of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Fikra Innovation Hub Alaa Fatayer and the Corporate, Technology and Venture Capital Advocate and Managing Partner at NAS & Co Abdul Rahim Al-Nashef.
The entrepreneurs, Sherine Yassin, Ahmed Kanaan, Naim Shakhshir, and Baha Joudeh, were chosen by the two committees after presenting their ideas and explaining their solutions.
Khalil, for his part, expressed his delight at the presence of innovative pioneering ideas in financial technology in Palestine, noting that the world has come a long way in this field, but work in it is still modest in Palestine, emphasizing the importance of increasing investment in financial technology and opening the way for young men and women to be creative in this field, so that Palestine can compete, especially with the presence of creative Palestinian entrepreneurs.
According to Khalil, the main goal of this collaboration with Flow is to contribute to the development of financial technology solutions that can facilitate financial transactions for companies and banks, as well as for Palestinian citizens. He emphasized that the program is not a competition or an immediate event, the effects of which will fade with the event’s demise, but rather a full incubation program that will last 12 weeks and will include a full incubation of the solutions that will qualify for development.
Al-Zitawi commented on this, emphasizing the importance of these activities in reaching entrepreneurs and supporting ideas related to financial technology and digitization, as this has a positive impact on the financial services provided to citizens in terms of spreading them, raising their quality, and reducing costs and time required to complete them. In addition to relying less on direct communication in favor of applications and electronic platforms, cash circulation is being reduced and electronic payment channels are being promoted.
According to Dr. Abu Zaarour, the winning ideas in the non-banking financial sector will be eligible to receive and incubate in parallel in the “Ibtkar” platform for regulatory guidance in the authority, in addition to providing the “Ibtikar” platform with the necessary support and regulatory guidance in preparation for the idea’s completion and success and its launch.
According to Majd Khalifeh, CEO of Flow Accelerator, after the partnership was announced in the fourth quarter of September, the application to join the program was launched in mid-October for owners of financial technology solutions in the idea or proof stage, which lasted three weeks in parallel with an awareness campaign on social media platforms about the concept, fields, and objectives of financial technology and how it relates to l
The jury and experts have agreed to select the entrepreneurs to proceed to the incubation stage, which will include financing, guidance, and follow-up with the competent regulatory authorities, partners, and interested parties, and concludes with a public presentation before the concerned authorities from financial institutions, investors, and business accelerators.