FWEN Profile: Sahar
Name: SaharAge: 27 years old Location: Askar village, outside of Nablus Business Plan: Advertising Company
How did you decide to participate in FWEN? What have you gained from the program?
When Sahar first heard about the FWEN program from the An-Najah career office, she decided to apply because she was unemployed and had always had the dream of starting her own business. Sahar graduated with a degree in Information Technology from An-Najah University in 2005, and had previously worked part-time at a computer lab on campus for three years.
Participating in the FWEN program has allowed Sahar to network with important people in the local business community and improve her English skills – she speaks so well that she now often serves as a translator between the other FWEN participants and English-speaking visitors. One of her favorite aspects of FWEN has been working with her mentor, a businessman in Germany whom she talks with via online messaging and email. He has provided her with valuable advice and suggestions for revising her business plan.
The biggest thing Sahar has gained from FWEN is a clear perspective on what she needs to make her business a reality and the self-confidence to make it happen. She says, “When you feel you own a business, it’s different – and now I have something for my future.” She is currently hard at work on perfecting her business plan, and spends all of her free time on research and planning for her business.
What is your business plan?
Sahar’s business plan is to create an advertising company that will design and distribute flyers for clients. Graphic design and advertising companies already exist in Nablus, but her innovation will be to provide clients with a full distribution mechanism for their flyers, whether by email or in prominent locations around the city (in the market, at the mall, and in local businesses), according to the client’s needs. Her staff will include herself and a graphic designer, as well as two staff who will do distribution work around the city. The company will create a variety of publicity materials, such as calendars, mugs, and pencils, in addition to flyers. Although she thinks physical distribution is more effective than online advertising because most people in Nablus have limited access to the Internet, she hopes to expand the online side of her business in the future.
What are your next steps? What help would you like to receive?
Sahar’s next step will be to register her company with the Nablus Chamber of Commerce. She will operate her business out of the TYO center for the first six months, eventually expanding to have her own office space. She still needs funding to get her business off the ground, and also would like to receive further mentorship on a variety of business topics, including customer relations and innovative marketing ideas. She hopes to travel to other countries to see how people there work with advertising and design.
What are your dreams for the future, and how will your business help you to achieve them?
In the future, Sahar hopes to have a big company with a lot of customers. “It’s good to have my own business, my own job – it makes me a strong woman, and I can make decisions for myself. It also helps my family,” she says. Owning her own business will give her financial security and protect her family from any unexpected problems in the future. Her dream is to expand her business to the entire West Bank, and perhaps one day to grow internationally.