WISE Profile: Heba Ghanam and Ayah Soufan
Heba Ghanam, 22, and Ayah Soufan, 23, are a business duo that joined TYO through our WISE program.
From Jenin and Nablus, respectively, Heba and Ayah both graduated from An-Najah University with degrees in Computer Engineering. Their passion to do something for Palestine combined with their expertise of computers and IT sparked these bright young girls to launch a business. IT companies are rapidly rising all over the world, including Palestine, so it made sense to capitalize on their knowledge and the growing industry. The idea formed organically when both Ayah and Heba were frustrated with the lack of information provided online for job postings, car sales, apartments, and so on. This helped them realize what was missing, a website where such information is available! The girls launched Near Buy, a concept similar to Craigslist, with the addition of an interactive map of the West Bank that allows customers and companies to post full descriptions of jobs, services, and sales items without charge. The profits will come from companies who purchase space on the website to advertise. Another feature of the website is a search engine that allows website visitors to find restaurants, stores and so on in any given area in the West Bank with full details of the location and reviews.
Though the technological aspect of their company comes easily, the major obstacle for them is their lack of extensive knowledge of the business world. They have already began overcoming this through the trainings Women’s Incubation Services for Entrepreneurs (WISE) has offered through the Small Enterprise Center, and hope to continue doing so by learning as much as they can about marketing strategies, promotion, and finance. They learned about WISE through their university and joined in order to make their dream a reality. With the full support of their families, Heba and Ayah are focusing on learning as much as they can about running a business in order to have a successful launch.
They listed the following as the top three attributes of growth they have already noticed in themselves since they joined WISE:
- Improvement in communication skills
- Willingness to take initiative
Their advice for budding entrepreneurs is:
Be confident and trust in your ideas. Don’t let fear stop you from doing what you want.
Despite having just graduated from university, these two are ready to take on the world and are determined to decide their own future. We’ll keep you posted on their success over the next year with the help of their training with WISE.
-Lila Lila is a Fall 2012 intern.