Startup Weekend Ramallah

    Thursday, May 18 - 20, 2017

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Judges
  4. Coaches and Mentors
  5. Organizing Team
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Startup Weekend Ramallah

Thursday, May 18 - 20, 2017

Thursday, May 18 - 20, 2017
Event starts at 5:00 pm

Ramallah, Palestinian Territories

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Thursday May 18th

5:00 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

6:20 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

6:30 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

8:00 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

8:45 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

9:00 pm
Begin Work
Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Friday May 19th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
Begin Work
Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend

12:00 pm

1:00 pm
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help

2:00 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

6:30 pm

7:30 pm
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

10:00 pm
Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Saturday May 20th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am
Coaches arrive. Final opportunity to ask questions

12:30 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS

1:30 pm

3:00 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

5:00 pm
Final Presentations

5:30 pm

6:00 pm

6:30 pm
Go Home!

Event Judges

Shadi Atshan
Director at Leaders Organization

Shadi Atshan is the General Director of Leaders Organization, a NGO focusing on building the innovation economy in Palestine. Since 2004, Atshan has worked on several initiatives that support the Palestinian entrepreneurship scene, creating employment opportunities and building Palestinian start-ups capable of reaching global markets.
During his work at Leaders, Atshan has co-founded “FastForward”; Palestine’s first start-ups accelerator providing seed investments in web and mobile startups. Atshan has also led the establishment of Ezone, the Mini Tech Park of Palestine; a 1000 Sqm facility hosting 14 start-ups and providing in-house support to a wide segment of entrepreneurs. 
Atshan is also active in other initiatives focused on economic development through support to cooperatives, micro-entreprenuers, and other economic sectors in Palestine. 

Mohammad Musleh
Information Technology and Startup Expert, The WebSites Group

Mohammed is a technology expert with expertise focused on startups, and Information Technology infrastructure and collaboration platforms.   Over the past 15 years, Mohammed has been a part of several technology startups across the Middle East.  Mohammed is currently an adviser for several Middle East based startups.   As a sophomore in college, Mohammed co-founded and since then has become the largest user generated portal in the Middle East. Few years later, Mohammed was part of a three man team that was the core for the Middle East's entertainment portal   Mohammed is a believer in public service and volunteerism. Mohammed is involved in many local and regional IT initiatives such as Peeks and the Arab Thought Foundation.   Mohammed is a graduate of BYU’s Marriott School and holds a BSc in Management Information Systems. Mohammed is a fellow of the BYU Management Society.

Mohenad Itayim

Mohenad Itayim is a “double-bottom line" investor at Sadara Ventures, a $30M fund investing in technology companies based in Palestine. Mohenad is an active and successful private equity, real estate and technology investor having worked at the Abraaj Group, Franklin Templeton Investments, SinoGulf Investments and CrystalPoint Partners — where he remains as venture partner. 

Prior to his transition into private equity and real estate, Mohenad also worked as an architect in the US — where he received a MSc from Columbia University and his BSc in Architecture from Arizona State University. Mohenad sits on the board of BuildPalestine and spends his time advising and mentoring the startup and student community, in addition to managing several syndicates totaling $4M in investor commitments in privately-held US-based technology companies.

Ambar Amleh
COO of Ibtikar Fund

Ms. Ambar Amleh is the Chief Operating Officer for Ibtikar.   For the past four years, Ambar has been directly involved in supporting Palestinian entrepreneurs.  As the program manager for Palestine for a New Beginning (PNB), a Palestinian non-profit company focused on entrepreneurial development. Through PNB, Ambar organized the Celebration of Innovation, a Palestine-wide competition of entrepreneurs, and Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), a yearly, week-long celebration of entrepreneurship. Palestine’s first GEW, under Ambar’s management, was awarded the GEW Hosts’ Award, an award given by the over 150 global hosts to the campaign that best embodies the GEW spirit.   Ambar also negotiated a Strategic Alliance between PNB and Leaders Organization to support their Digital Entrepreneurship Programs, including the FastForward accelerator (the first startup accelerator in Palestine). Under this alliance, Ambar was responsible for the strategy and growth of these programs.   In past positions, Ambar has launched and managed donor-funded programs worth tens of thousands of dollars, including the Arab region-wide Arab Women’s Leadership Institute and the Queen Rania Award for Excellence in Education. She also has experience in marketing and advertising, commercial banking and legislative affairs.   Ambar has an international MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management and a Marketing degree from Arizona State University.

Coaches and Mentors

Ghada Abu Ta'a
HICD Specialist and Women Economic Empowerment Consultant

Ghada Abu Ta’a is a social entrepreneur who founded PalWomen Code it’s initiative to support Palestinian women to study and build their careers in ICT sector despite all stereotypes and Society Limitation.
Through this initiative, she aims to empower women and to encourage them to be an effective and productive member of the society by leading and taking their roles in our society and economy by providing them with the tools to developing their careers and be able to transform their ideas into businesses.
She has a bachelor’s degree in Business from Birzeit University, she participated in International Visitor Leaders Program (IVLP) -Women & Entrepreneurship- organized and funded by the US department of state and participated in She Entrepreneurs Program organized and funded by the Swedish Government. 
  She accomplished management professional with 5 years of distinguished performance in the technology and start-ups sectors. Portfolio of achievements includes establishing Smart-X accelerator, a technology-oriented business start-up accelerator, focused on competitively funding & supporting start-ups that are co-founded by Palestinians from both sides of the Green Line.
She has volunteered in organizing many activities related to entrepreneurship and women empowerment like Start-up Weekend Ramallah, Mobile Monday Nazareth, women empowerment for economic cooperation training and much more 
She’s also working as a human and institutional capacity development specialist for an international company and as a women economic empowerment consultant for a local project funded by USAID.
“I work for a better Palestinian society where women are empowered and cooperate with solidarity “

Dina Zabaneh

Dina Zabaneh is currently working as the Project officer for Fast Forward’s Business accelerator at Leaders Organization; where she oversees the work of ambitious Palestinian entrepreneurs and helps them to convert their ideas into start-ups.     She has a MA degree in Financial Economics from Kingston University London, where she was also a Chevening UK government Scholar. Her dissertation was focused on applying international economic theories to analyse and critique the financial and economic sectors in Palestine. This has provided her with an insight and a moderate understanding of these sectors.   Her previous work experience is centred in two main areas; the first is in the banking sector, where she gained an experience in the retail credit markets, and an understanding for, the credit requirements, and lending policies for Palestinian individuals and households. The second is working on the management team of Zabaneh Trading Company, a family-owned business venture that developed into a Private Ltd. While trying to build on and introduce new commerce and marketing techniques to contribute to the expansion and improvement of the company. She believes that we are capable of achieving our goals if we harness the best of our abilities. 

Maher Saleh

Maher holds a degree in Entrepreneurship, Enterprise and  Innovation Management from Newcastle University. Maher's main expertise include the implementation of strategies and business processes that promote innovation in organizations as well as the fundamentals of entrepreneurship development. Throughout his responsibilities as a board member at Newcastle Entrepreneurs Society, Maher became highly involved with Newcastle startup community and he established a large network of entrepreneurs, accelerators and VC's. Prior to his education, Maher managed the CSR Strategy of Palestine Investment Fund (PIF). During his role at PIF, Maher directed a program in collaboration with eight local universities to foster enterprise and entrepreneurship development. Additional work experience include Wataniya Mobile and Sky Advertising.  

Anan Abu Rmieleh

A communications consultant with international outlook and flair for tech PR, propaganda, and digital marketing. Anan holds a Master of Corporate Communication and Public Relations from University of Leeds, UK. He is currently the Business Development Manager at Sky Advertising, the MENA agent of Elektor International Media in the Netherlands, and a key expert at several non-profit projects in Palestine. Moreover, Anan has established the Social Media and Digital Marketing module at Birzeit University, and currently teaches the subject on a part-time basis. He is also the co-founder of Filistia Consulting & Marketing.

Sari Taha

Sari is a Palestinian entrepreneur and engineer based in Jerusalem. He earned his MBA from the Technion Israel Institute of Technology and bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from Birzeit University in Palestine. Taha started his career as a site engineer for a large construction project in the West Bank. He then worked in Nigeria as a production engineer in the plastics industry. During his MBA studies, Taha co-founded Zolair Energy, an innovative renewables company which provides off-grid electricity solutions to developing communities. Taha worked as an analyst at  a Haifa based venture firm Takwin Labs which backs Arab entrepreneurs  in Israel. Recently, Taha joined a team that is working on developing the Tech Hub at Rawabi; the new Palestinian planned city.  Taha was consulted by various startups; e-commerce, IoT, AI&ML, video streaming, navigation and big data. Additionally, Taha mentored Gazak Sky Geeks startups remotely. expertise: Strategy, Market Research and Sizing, Business Models, Financial Planning and Projection, Pitch Decks, Fundraising Strategy. 

Jennifer Atala

Jennifer Atala, a Palestinian American, has a consulting business where she advises entrepreneurs, private businesses and associations in business development, B2B marketing, and strategy. Most recently, she led private sector competitiveness for the private sector and USAID in Palestine.    Prior, Ms. Atala led software development and data analytics projects in the private sector in the U.S., managed a job creation and stabilization program for USAID in Afghanistan, led microfinance impact initiatives in Egypt, and worked with the financial institutions group at the International Finance Corporation in Washington, DC.    She graduated from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) with an M.A. in International Economics and Development and with a B.A. from the University of Chicago.  Based between Ramallah and Haifa, she is also an active yoga teacher, Truman National Security Project Fellow, and Ambassador Warren Clark Fellow. To learn more and explore ways to work together, visit her website at

Christian Zaknoun

 A graduate in Economics & International Business  Affairs from France, Chris  began working as  a consultant with Accenture Consulting and later for KPMG in Europe where he developed his on-the- ground experience in management consulting skills. From this background, he acquired the methodologies and know-how needed in understanding various international markets with the ability to  identify and promote new business opportunities.In January 2011,  Chris decided to return to Palestine and founded THINKING Consultancy Firm. Since, he has extensively advised and provided consulting services on project implementation to international (donors) organizations, private sector, public sector, public private partnerships, high growth business  start-ups, institutional stakeholders and local firms He has a multicultural background, speaks six languages with a strong cultural sensitivity. Given these characteristics, he has been successful in collaborating in projects situated in countries with enormous cultural diversity, i.e. from Brazil to  Ukraine.

Salah Amleh
Country Director

Salah is the former CEO of BADER ICT incubator and ICT HUB at Rawabi City. Experienced business development, sales and ERP Technical professional in Europe and the Middle East with a proven track record in developing IT business solutions and consultancy services to clients.

With over Nine years of experience in managing information systems projects and the upgrade and implementation of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and customization. His project management approach consists of three main activities: analysis of the organization and its processes, proposing the best solution, as well as customization and implementation of the solution. The support provided includes the development of new applications for companies, training the staff on such systems, and successful management of teams and budgets.

In 2013, Salah co-founded and headed Advanced Technologies for Business (ATB), a firm specialized in providing software solutions to a variety of clients in Palestine, in the Retail and Hospitality industries, including major international chains such as KFC and Pizza Hut. Prior to leading ATB, Salah has served as an advisor to the Palestinian Minister of National Economy, and a Business Developer at Atlantic Technologies, Italy. Salah has also worked as a JD Edwards (JDE) Consultant for a multitude of project including Lorenzo Muraro, HELSINN, INDA, and FURLA.

Frequent mentor and coach to other Palestinian entrepreneurs, including through the FastForward accelerator and through events like Global Entrepreneurship Week, Garage48 and Startup Weekend Salah holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from Polytechnic University of Milan; Milan, Italy.

Omar Omran

Omar Omran is currently the Assistant to the Dean of Birzeit University's College of Business and Economics, and a faculty member in the Department of Business Administration and Marketing, teaching courses such as Strategic Management, Strategic Marketing, Marketing Management, and Leadership among others. In addition to teaching and research, Omar is the senior manager for private sector and business development at Agility Management and Financial Consulting, focusing mainly on market research, business development, business and marketing plans, and feasibility studies among other topics.

In his time at Agility Management and Financial Consulting, Omar has been able to implement solutions on national, sector, and firm levels. Areas include manufacturing of electrical materials, glass, building materials, housing and real estate, labor market needs, strategic plans for research institutions, clothing and textile firms, and service based firms, including IT, among others.  Prior to his current position, Omar also provided consulting services in areas such as logistics and supply chain management to firms in the US, with special emphasis on confectionary and tobacco related products, as well as implementing systems solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics ERP, Retailx (formerly IDS) and other customized solutions based on client needs.

He has also been quite active in the entrepreneurial community mentoring and working with pre investment and early stage startups here in Palestine.  Omar’s activities in this genre also include his participation as a mentor and advisor in events such as StartUp Weekend, Palestine Startup Cup, Garage 48, a founder of StarMeUp, and facilitating a number of panel discussions regarding entrepreneurship and investment.Omar holds an MBA with concentrations in strategic management and finance from the University of Illinois-Chicago, and a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Birzeit University. He has worked with businesses locally and in the US in a variety of capacities, helping them achieve sustainable and manageable growth, and has started several ventures, in the US.

Sameer Masri
HR Consultant

Sameer Masri is an expert in Human Resources management of telecom, IT, ISP’s, distribution , Contact Centers , and media organizations. He gained extensive management experience within the ICT and distribution sector throughout fulfilling different management positions in Paltel Group the leading telecom company in Palestine. He started work in the year1996 in paltel company once was in its establishment phase, then moved to JAWWAL as the HR Director till the years 2006, once it was starting up, and then at Paltel Group till 2016, Afterwards move to BCI as regional HR Director for MENA region, and established the company branch in Iraq. Currently Mr. Masri established his own company , PalExcel Specialized in providing Management and HR Professional Services. Sameer Masri has worked diligently incorporating best practice in HR & administrative functions in order to achieve professional international standards .Sameer Masri has worked with the Paltel and BCI group’s HR departments in order to achieve a creative and healthy culture to ensure maximum productivity. He worked with the leading consulting firms in the world to achieve a state of the art polices and systems in the HR, in order to have Paltel group a model for the rest of the companies to follow. He holds an MBA degree in Business administration from Birzeit University, with telecom management certificate from Cable and Wireless College in the UK and attendee many specialized training programs with the world leading organizations.

Hammam Odeh

Entrepreneur & CEO of Chameleon Solutions (web , mobile development and social media company ). CEO of NewClass company.

Ahmad Abu Omar
Founder & Team Lead @ Codytek Software Solutions

Cofounder and CTO @ BareedEE. Talented developer who has technical experience working in implementing web apps and cross platform mobile apps. Former senior developer at ASAL Technologies, and CTO at CodyTek Software Outsourcing. Ahmad has 8+ years of experience and holds a degree in Computer Engineering. Outside of coding, he spends all his time with his wife and adorable 1 year old son, Anees.

Mohammed Abuqare'
Entrepreneur and Senior Software Engineer

Mohammed Abu Qare, graduated as a Computer Systems Engineer from Birzeit University, is an entrepreneur and a senior software engineer. He co-founded Fadfid in 2013 and worked for several local and international companies. Thus, he has an excellent experience in startups, team management, execution, and developing softwares from scratch. Currently; Mohammad is leading software development team at Imagry Inc. 

Issa Khalil

Issa specializes in web and server-side development for Souktel projects across Asia and Africa. Before joining Souktel, he served as a Senior Web Developer at, a US-based job recruitment platform with over 160,000 users. With more than 5 years' experience in the Middle East startup ecosystem, Issa has helped launch two e-commerce platforms in the real estate and event planning sectors. He holds a B.Sc. in Computer Science from Palestine's Birzeit University.

Naji Karaja

Fullstack Developer @ Codytek specializing in PHP/MySQL and ReactJS. When I am not working for Codytek, I build “Music in Palestine” which is the first platform to provide users with all Palestinian produced music.

Hijazi Natsheh
Marketing Director at Wataniya Mobile

Hijazi Al Natsheh occupies Marketing Director position at Wataniya Mobile. Hijazi has an extensive experience of over 20 years in managing entrepreneurial and technological companies in the fields of digital marketing, business development and product management. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Jordan. Hijazi took roles as mentor and judge in Startup Weekends across the MENA region. 

Firas Omar
Senior Development Consultant

Firas Omar is an Senior Development Consultant working at Bayyanat Smart Solution, he has more than 3 years of experiences in Frontend and Backend technology stack including cloud computing and cross-platform mobile development, Firas has been exposed to a diversity of technology platforms including the open source stack. Firas also holds a BSc. In Computer Science from Birzeit University and different international technology certification credentials.

Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend Ramallah is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Samar
  • Zaher
  • Khaled
  • Samah
  • Leyan


Zaher Bassioni
Operations Manager

Zaher Bassioni is the Operations Manager for Leaders Organization. Mr. Bassioni brings more than 8 years of experience and expertise in the management of nonprofit and private entities. He is also a cofounder of FastForward the first business accelerator in Palestine. At Leaders he manages the full range of administrative, logistical and operational duties in a wide variety of program areas including human resources, budgeting, information technology and procurement. He oversees the day-to-day operations of the organization. He holds a Civil Engineering BS degree from Birzeit University.

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