In May, it was just an idea talked about in an interview. Today, it’s a business plan ready for incubation being presented to a team of high-quality trainers and entrepreneurs.
Over the summer, TYO traveled throughout targeted areas of Palestine to identify female entrepreneurs currently starting, or seeking to grow, their own business. We met with over 130 women, where we learned about a host of exciting, innovative ideas spearheaded by females.
This week, TYO is hosting a 7-day training for the 45 women that were selected from that group to participate in our Fostering Women Entrepreneurs in the Middle East (FWEME) project. This week’s intensive, holistic training brings female entrepreneurs from the six largest governorates of the northern West Bank to Nablus, where they are learning about how to start or grow their business. Women span a range of industries, coming with expertise in IT, chemical engineering, photography, and more. Led by our long-time partner, the Small Enterprise Center (SEC) in Ramallah, this week has already brought out budgeting and business planning skills in the women- and most importantly, a bright confidence and belief that they too can be CEOs, company directors, and more.
The training kicked off with a unique, day-long session led by Suhad, TYO’s Psychosocial Manager, which focused on the psychosocial and emotional aspects of entrepreneurship- like taking risks, finding your voice, dealing with familial resistance, and more. This part of the training embodied TYO’s holistic approach that empowers women both personally and professionally. Women participated in exercises about identifying their priorities, negotiating their strengths and weaknesses, and building camaraderie with one another. They also heard from a current entrepreneur and graduate of TYO’s previous programs- Ayat Atallah- who told them about challenges she faced, how she overcomes them, and how TYO has assisted her in moving forward.
After that initial preparation, women moved into the basics of business development under the instruction of a highly-qualified team from SEC. From the first day, women learned about introducing their business, SWOT analyses, salesmanship, and advertising. In the time since, they’ve held mock markets, made oral presentations to the group, and mapped out the phases of their businesses.
When the training concludes, 20 businesses will be selected for further intensive incubation throughout the next year- but all women will have continued access to TYO’s support to keep their companies growing strong. Given the progress seen thus far, it’s clear that the success achieved in just seven days of training will bring lasting benefit to participants- as well Palestine at large- as more women owned businesses start, grow, and thrive.
Stay tuned for updates!
Cayce Pack is the Women’s Empowerment Program Coordinator at TYO. Above, she writes about FWEME’s intensive, seven-day training for female entrepreneurs in Palestine.