Introducing Women's Incubation Services for Entrepreneurs
One of TYO's staunchest messages has always been our belief in fostering in women's economic independence in Palestine; not only for long-term economic growth, but also for the prosperity of women's personal development. In July 2012 TYO joined a partnership with the PalTel Group Foundation for a project intended to benefit budding entrepreneurs in the northern West Bank. Women's Incubation Services for Entrepreneurs (WISE) is a project funded by by the generous support of the PalTel Group Foundation, and supported by partners Small Enterprise Center (SEC) and Souktel. WISE is providing 15 female-led mirco-businesses (including six returning businesses from our previous project, Fostering Women Entrepreneurs in Nablus) incubation services on quality control and marketing, financial growth, business English and IT, and match them with mentors who can facilitate their ongoing learning and expansion. The incubation services will span over the course of the next year, however TYO is making strategic investments to ensure that its efforts will lead to sustainable results.
Businesswomen in the north are not afforded an abundance of opportunities to bring their businesses concepts to fruition, let alone incubation services to help sustain them. Societal confines imposed on women often restrict them from participating in services in the aid-concentrated city of Ramallah, but so too do mobility issues in force under occupation. PGF, SEC and Souktel share TYO’s mission to increase women’s participation in the labor force and promote economic empowerment, but also recognize the growing need to offer incubation services that strengthen sustainability for established entrepreneurs. WISE will support female entrepreneurs identify and maximize their value-add to the market, sell solutions rather than products and services, and financially grow their capacity to a level that allows them to build the collateral that is essential for their ventures to thrive.
The ladies of WISE already completed a six-day training at the start of September on business development with SEC. The result of this training is to give businesswomen a better understanding of the business world, and through the knowledge they gain refine their business plans. In addition, just last week WISE participants began their first cycle of business English classes, which will be followed with IT classes facilitated by members of last year's Palestinian Techwomen delegation. Also, in the coming weeks the 15 participating WISE businesses will submit the newest versions of their business plans, and receive coaching from Small Enterprise Center on their respective challenges.
To learn more about the entrepreneurs check back with us on a weekly basis, as we will be unveiling a profile a week on each of the 15 businesses! We have an exciting year ahead of us, but for now see below for a peak at what we've already accomplished in just a couple of months!
-Samin Samin is the Program Coordinator for Women’s Empowerment Programs.