With a reported population that exceeds 700,000, Hebron is by far the largest Palestinian city. Yet, unemployment in the city is soaring and has reached as high as 20 percent. Despite this, the people of Hebron remain industrious and determined in their pursuits to achieve their economic potential.
From food production to stone and marble extraction, to metal refineries, the city of Hebron is at the heart of Palestinian industry. To reflect on the massive potential of the city, over the past decade, Hebron’s products account for over 27 percent of Palestine’s export industry.
Despite this, the most populated city of Palestine struggles to provide new graduates and emerging self-starters with the support they need to get on the fast track to success. With less than 20 entrepreneurial launching pads and support organizations, Hebron has a long way to go before becoming the entrepreneurial beacon that taps into the potential of the
innovative minds emerging from the historic city.
To illustrate, the majority of support organizations are financial institutions. These provide various forms of economic support for emerging self-starters. However, there are only three well-established incubators and accelerators, namely the Hebron Chamber of Commerce and Industry Business Incubator (HCCI), Hebron Business Incubator Center (HEBIC), and the Business Incubator unit at Palestine Polytechnic University of Hebron (PPU). Further, there are less than ten training and capacity building programs reported in the city. For a population that surpasses 700,000, these organizations cannot meet the growing needs of the people there, forcing many to travel to neighboring cities in search of opportunities.
As such, both private and public sector stakeholders need to come together to not only address possible solutions but to implement strategies that will spur entrepreneurship and help transform Hebron into a beacon of innovation and industry.