Self-starters and the Tulkarim Entrepreneurial Ecosystem or the Lack Thereof
Tulkarim is home to an estimated 188,000 Palestinians, who live just 15km east of the Mediterranean Sea. Although Tulkarim was a major agricultural hub in Palestine, due to highest percentage of rainfall throughout the West Bank, increasing settler activity and land confiscations has greatly diminished this sector. As a result, agriculture only accounts for 12.5 percent of the city’s economy activity, forcing 34.5 of the population there to predominately seek gainful employment in the service sector.
As such, the city struggles from a lack of support organizations, with no incubators or accelerators available for recent graduates or emerging entrepreneurs. The main entrepreneurial players consist of eight local branches of financial institution, and governmental institutions responsible for devising policies to enhance private sector growth. The lack of an ecosystem has forced many new graduates and entrepreneurs to uproot their lives and look elsewhere for the support they need in neighboring Palestinian cities.
To address these concerns strategies and incentives need to be implemented that will revitalize Tulkarim’s economy and help lay the ground work for a sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem to emerge.