FWEN Profile: Rima & Afnan
Name: Rima and AfnanAge: 26 years old and 28 years old Location: Beit Tiba village, outside of Nablus Business Plan: Coffee Roaster
How did you decide to participate in FWEN? What have you gained from the program?
Graduating together from Al-Quds Open University in 2009 with a degree in social science, these two sisters already had the idea to start their own business. When they saw an advertisement for the FWEN program at the An-Najah career office, they decided to apply. Their brother works as a coffee roaster in Nablus, which gave them the idea for their own business. But they wanted to add a unique twist: in addition to the plain coffee flavor that is available in the markets of Nablus, they wanted to produce flavored coffee like they had seen online.
The FWEN training has allowed Rima and Afnan to become more confident about being able to achieve things as women – particularly because coffee production is traditionally a profession that is only for men – and will now insist on their ability to do this job. The most important things they learned from the training were decision-making skills, teamwork, and how to build personal and professional relationships. Despite being some of the shyest participants at the start of the program, they now understand how to cultivate business relationships and work as a part of a team. Rima and Afnan report that their family has been very supportive and encouraging about starting their own business and going out around the city on their own.
What is your business plan?
Rima and Afnan are hard at work creating a plan for their business, called “Mihbash” (mortar and pestle), and producing samples of their flavored coffee. They have already planned out the equipment they will need – a coffee grinder imported from Germany or Turkey (but available in Nablus), and a coffee roaster that will be designed and fabricated locally. The machines will be located in a store in their home village, where they will do both direct sales and distribution in cities around the West Bank. The women have conducted market studies in Nablus and concluded that young people particularly like the flavored coffee they are producing, while older people like the traditional coffee flavor and flavored coffee with “medical” benefits (ginger and gum mastic flavors).
Recently, the women produced samples and distributed them to local supermarkets to see how they would sell. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive – the taste of the flavored coffees was amazing, and the supermarkets were eager to get more to sell. In addition to their unique product, Rima and Afnan have another trump card up their sleeves – their coffee will cost less than the traditional coffee already for sale in the markets (theirs will cost 36 shekels per kilo, in comparison to the current price of 40 shekels per kilo).
What are your next steps? What help would you like to receive?
At this point, everything for their business is ready – they know their location, where they will purchase their equipment, and how they will launch their media campaign (packaging for the coffee, a large sign for their store, and advertisements around the city). They are simply waiting for funding to get their project off the ground. Unfortunately, they do not have a relative who can provide a guarantee for a bank loan, so finding funding has been difficult.
What are your dreams for the future, and how will your business help you to achieve them?
When thinking about the future, Afanan wishes to succeed in having her own business and her own income, in order to create security and stability in her life. She would also like to have the free time and the relaxation to practice her hobby of drawing on silk. Rima wishes to continue her education by pursuing a Master’s in psychology, and she dreams of having a good family life with her husband.