Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and Seedstars have launched a new joint initiative: Enhancing Financial Inclusion in Palestine (EFIP), an open call for innovative digital solutions to promote financial inclusion in Palestine. The program is aimed at nurturing the local fintech landscape and driving sustainable and inclusive financial solutions in the region.
The partnership will concentrate on the Palestinian financial ecosystem, with an emphasis on financial literacy, digital finance products for microfinance, and inclusivity for consumers and SMEs.
In Palestine, financial inclusion is a critical challenge. Although 60% of adults possess bank accounts, a mere 10% utilize credit products, owing to limited financial literacy and inadequate financial offerings (Shihadeh, 2021). Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), making up nearly 95% of all businesses, only contribute to 16.4% of the GDP, indicating a disparity in financial accessibility. The EFIP initiative aims to bridge these gaps, fostering a more inclusive and sustainable financial ecosystem for both individuals and SMEs.
"We are eager to begin this exciting endeavor with Seedstars," says Anja Gomm, Country Director of GIZ Office Palestine. "Our shared goal is to cultivate an environment that fosters innovation and empowers both consumers and SMEs in Palestine, offering them more inclusive, affordable, and sustainable financial solutions."
The program comprises two tracks. The first is a local call for solutions focusing on digital finance products in the microfinance industry, while the second invites international solutions aimed at established financial literacy platforms or applications. The initiative hopes to attract a myriad of startups that can provide practical solutions to enhance access to finance, increase financial literacy, and improve the quality of service delivery in the Palestinian territories.
"Globally, Seedstars is committed to
identifying and nurturing startups that leverage technology to make a real difference in their communities," Sabrina Salama, MENA Partnerships Manager at Seedstars. "Partnering with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH for this program enables us to extend that mission into Palestine, a region where fintech holds enormous potential for economic growth and financial inclusivity."
The initiative's local track will target Palestinian startups with working MVPs, while the international track invites mature companies interested in entering or penetrating the Palestinian market. Participants from both tracks will be invited to a virtual pitch event, where they will present their solutions to a jury of industry experts. A total of three winning solutions will be awarded, with one from the local track and two from the international track. Winners will receive financial support and go-to-market assistance.
To learn more about EFIP and how to apply, visit https://seedsta.rs/EFIPalestine.
About Deutsche Gesellschaft Für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (giz)
The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is a global service provider in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development and international education work, with 23,614 employees. GIZ has over 50 years of experience in a wide variety of areas, including economic development and employment, energy and the environment, and peace and security. Our business volume is around 3.3 billion euros. As a public-benefit federal enterprise, GIZ supports the German Government – in particular the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) – and many public and private sector clients in around 120 countries in achieving their objectives in international cooperation. With this aim, GIZ works together with its partners to develop effective solutions that offer people better prospects and sustainably improve their living conditions.
Seedstars is a Swiss-based company with a mission to impact people’s lives in emerging markets through technology and entrepreneurship. Seedstars works with the private and public sectors to implement entrepreneurial capacity-building programs in order to create jobs and fuel economic growth.
The group runs Seedstars Programs that are designed to support entrepreneurs in varying stages of growth via training, education, mentoring, and access to resources. The company also partners, operates, and invests in emerging venture capital funds in emerging markets and makes direct co- and follow-on investments in their portfolio companies through Seedstars Capital. To further support the next generation of changemakers, Seedstars Academy, a talent incubator, provides digital skills and startup-based immersive education.
Through these initiatives and partnerships, Seedstars is building a world-class community and network of changemakers in over 90 emerging ecosystems. For more information, visit https://www.seedstars.com/.
MENA Partnerships Manager