Palestinian women work in front of their laptops at Unit One startup in Gaza City.
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Montauk is seeking to harness that energy with Gaza Sky Geeks, a startup "accelerator" she runs in Gaza City. Backed by Google and the U.S. charity MercyCorps, it nurtures business ideas and connects entrepreneurs with investors. The native of Berkeley, California, is convinced Gaza's young population and adaptable spirit can create unlikely tech success stories in the Philadelphia-sized territory, which is ruled by the Islamist group Hamas. Gaza's unemployment – the highest in the world at 43 percent, according to the World Bank – means the tech sector faces almost no competition for bright minds.At a five-day "bootcamp" this month in GSG's offices by Gaza City's harbor, a once-thriving port that's closed to shipping by the blockade, about 40 aspiring entrepreneurs showed off their ideas. Israel's tech sector built the fabled "Start-Up Nation" and produced a clutch of world-beating companies from almost nothing.During the 2014 war, Montauk fretted that the conflict – in which more than 2,000 Palestinians and 70 Israelis were killed – would demoralize GSG's entrepreneurs.
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