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It will come as no surprise that the political and economic challenges in the Palestinian territories make it tough for the local economy to grow. Enter Cisco, which has pioneered an outsourcing collaboration between its Israel office and Palestinians with tech skills. The effort, now followed by companies like Microsoft and Google, has helped the area’s IT outsourcing sector grow 64% from 2010 to 2014. (Such tech work currently accounts for about 10% of the West Bank’s GDP.) Cisco, which provides much of the networking infrastructure in the Middle East, has also staked $15 million in local incubators and youth-training programs. Its West Bank investment is a mere glimpse into the broad reach of Cisco’s Networking Academy program, which has trained 5.5 million students around the world since 1997—nearly all in places that didn’t have endemic high-tech sectors. The ROI for Cisco? A broader, cheaper pool of technical workers—and a foothold in dozens of new markets.

Company Info

Communications Equipment
Revenues ($ millions)47,142
Company type
Charles H. Robbins
Impact Segment
Economic Opportunity/Financial Inclusion

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