Startup Weekend, the internationally-renowned innovation event, kicks off today in Nazareth and will run through Saturday.

Dozens of innovators, high-tech professionals, marketing experts, designers, mentors and sponsors are set to take part in the happening.

Startup Weekend is a 54-hour-long marathon in which entrepreneurs are given the opportunity to meet like-minded, creative individuals to partner on new startups. The weekend begins with a presentation of new ideas. Teams are formed to work round-the-clock on the best 10 initiatives and get them off the ground. At the end of the event, a panel of judges selects the three most successful startups.

Startup Weekend has already been held in 700 cities, from London to New York, Berlin, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Over 60,000 innovators have attended this global event, which has given birth to over 5,000 ideas.

This is the first time the global event will be taking place in the Arab sector in Israel.

Startup Weekend Nazareth was organized by three young local entrepreneurs – Jouna Khalil, Sami Abboud and Bshara Rezik – and is being sponsored by Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), Cisco, Google, The Nazareth Business Incubator Center, Mati Nazareth, Mercy Corps, MEPI, NGT and NESTech.

“There is huge potential for creativity and innovation amongst youth from the Arab sector. I hope this important initiative will open the eyes of Israeli high-tech to this hidden talent,” said Erel Margalit, founder and chairman of JVP, who will be a mentor at the event.

“For the first time, dozens of innovators, developers, designers, product managers, marketers, and startup entrepreneurs will gather under one roof for one weekend to work on a group initiative,” said Jouna Khalil, one of the organizers. “Anyone who has ever dreamed of being an entrepreneur and turning an idea into reality will be given the opportunity this weekend to tap into a large and creative community, and to learn about the elements of creating a startup. This is an opportunity for all local innovators to make a difference.”