Birzeit and Gaza (virtual connection between West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip) – United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Palestine and the European Union Representative Office in Jerusalem (EUREP), in partnership with the Ministry of National Economy (MoNE) and in cooperation with Palestine Energy and Natural Resources (PENRA), have launched today the Palestine CleanTech Innovation Program, the first regional initiative to open the door to strategic technological innovation in clean energy. Inaugurated with in official ceremony at the Palestine Technology Park in Birzeit and in The Gaza University in the presence of the top representatives of the Government, EUREP and the UN, the Palestine CleanTech Innovation Program will offer a platform for CleanTech startups and entrepreneurs to develop innovative, locally driven energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and solutions that will increase industrial competitiveness, create jobs, and promote a sustainable environment and contribute to the reduction of gas emissions.

Conceived and implemented by UNIDO in Palestine in partnership with the Ministry of National Economy (MoNE) and in cooperation with Palestine Energy and Natural Resources (PENRA) through funding from the European Union under the UNIDO MOUSTADAMA Programme, the Palestine CleanTech Innovation Program combines:

1. A network of physical hubs,

2. Bespoke market exposure activities - through business forums, business workshops, and global expos –, and

3. A Competition for new cleantech energy projects and solutions.

Synergically designed to offer a stimulus to Palestinian clean technology entrepreneurship, the planned interventions will offer the chance to connect entrepreneurs to mentors, funds and international markets. Tailored to Palestinian needs, the activities developed through the CleanTech Hubs, the networking initiatives and the Competition will demonstrate how locally driven, innovative energy solutions can facilitate the expansion of the industrial sector, increase energy stability, and mitigate gas emissions.

H.E. Ambassador Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff EU Representative in Jerusalem, stated that “The European Union is an undisputed global leader in clean technologies, highlighting that the EU is committed to achieve climate neutrality with the EU Green Deal”. In the last years, the European Union increased its efforts to promote and maintain a positive change when it comes to renewable energy sources in the productive sectors. “We work with European innovators who have the courage to imagine a better world and the determination to pursue it. Now we are sharing our European experience with partners in the region and worldwide” said H.E. Burgsdorff he stressed that “Young innovative entrepreneurs in Palestine within the Private Sector in Palestine is the best bet to play a major role to promote green transition. This project is among the very first initiatives to support them in developing sustainable innovations in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water-energy nexus. We are engaging to see positive impact of this initiative on the Palestinian economy,’’ said Ambassador Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff EU Representative.

Mr. Zafer MELHEM, Chairman of the Palestinian Energy and Natural Resources Authority

(PENRA) stated that "PENRA has set the legislative environment that has greatly contributed towards the energy transition and the use of renewable energy sources in the productive sectors to reduce the cost of energy required production and increase the chances of better position for the competition, diversifying sources of energy, reducing the emissions, and reaching to security of energy supply".

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) enables countries increase their competitiveness through the use of renewable energy, thus achieving sustainable low-carbon industrial development. It is responsible for enhancing the use of renewable sources of energy and efficient use of energy by industry, and for facilitating access to affordable and sustainable energy to support productive activities and the income and employment opportunities they create, thereby contributing to the mitigation of climate change. “The Palestine CleanTech Innovation Program will contribute to stimulate the Palestinian CleanTech entrepreneurship”, said Mr. Ahmed ELFARRA, Head of UNIDO Programme Office in Palestine, who also explained the essence of the program “providing tools and pathways to develop expertise, tailor innovative energy solutions of the needs of the local industrial sector, and grow and scale in international markets.”

Located in West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, the Palestine CleanTech Hub Network is established in collaboration with three host organizations: Palestine Techno Park, Al Quds University, and Gaza University. These Hubs aim to provide early-stage nurturing of innovative local clean technologies to Palestinian Entrepreneurs. Participants to the CleanTech Hubs will connect with researchers and experts and have access to development platforms and a library of solutions and latest technologies. Training will include business and market skills development and technical education and certification. Finally, the accelerator process from the Hubs will facilitate access to local and international business partners and investors who are key stakeholders in clean technology innovation.

H.E. Minister of Entrepreneurship and Empowerment, Mr. Usama SADAWI highlighted “CleanTech is a new sector in Palestine that presents a set of challenges that we will need to tackle. The UNIDO 3

Initiative and the establishment of the Network of CleanTech Hubs are deemed as the most effective approach for addressing the introduction of the sector in Palestine.” He stressed that “the Palestinian Leadership considers this sector as a key priority in Palestine and such network of innovation hubs will enable a dynamic process for research and development to help Palestinian entrepreneurs and startups to gain know-how and access investment and markets networks”.

First-of- its-kind in the CleanTech in Palestine, the competition launched today will provide access to mentors, funds, and investors. The Palestine Cleantech Innovation Competition - 1st Edition 2021 is now calling for applicants with clean technology ideas focused on Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy and Water-Energy Nexus (Efficiency). The competition is open to Palestinian entrepreneurs and startups based in Palestine and abroad, in teams as well as individuals, who have innovative cleantech business ideas, proof of concepts, protypes and products.

“This is a strategic direction we are supporting in the Government of Palestine. The CleanTech solutions will open the gates for a more prosperous economy and specifically industrial sector in Palestine” said H.E. Minister of National Economy, Mr. Khaled OSAILY. He explained that the CleanTech benefits the Palestinian economy “through two folds: first, it will provide the chance for a new stream of Palestinian startups to engage into the innovative business world, and second, CleanTech energy innovations will support a more efficient operations at the industrial sector bringing its competitive positioning to better penetrate new markets.”

Through the Palestine ClenaTech Innovation Program, 30 candidates will receive intensive mentoring and training, including a 10-day national academy, and a 10-week acceleration phase, which includes business clinics, webinars, continuous mentorship, mock judging, and linkages to industries. The selected entrepreneurs and startups will then present their technologies, products, and business models to judges at a final pitching event. The three best project ideas will be awarded up to 25,000 Euro each, and up to three national winners will be selected to participate in the United Nations Industrial Organization (UNIDO) Global CleanTech Innovation Programme (GCIP) annual Global Business Forum to be held in Silicon Valley in October 2021.


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