My First Time Leaving Palestine: The Global Entrepreneurship Summit
A native of Beit Furik, a village outside Nablus, Aya Mletat is the Founder and CEO of Solidarity Sheep Farm. Currently involved in our Women’s Incubation Services for Entrepreneurs (WISE), Aya partook on a journey that she called, "One of my greatest accomplishments to date." In December 2012, Aya attended the Global Entrepreneurship Summit presented by Entrepreneurial Ventures of Arabia. Invited through the US Consulate in Jerusalem Aya shares her experience about the exciting two-day conference.
What was the conference?
It was a conference that brought together male and female entrepreneurs from all over the Middle East and Africa to meet with and learn from businessmen and women from all over the world. The conference created a space for dialogue, exhibitions, Q&A sessions and a chance to make connections with investors and other like-minded people.
Why was this conference important to attend?
It gave me, as a businesswoman, a chance to meet many other business people as well as investors outside of Palestine. This was my first time ever leaving the country, so I really felt it would be good to go to a conference abroad to expand my horizons.
What lessons did you learn?
I learned to:
- See challenges as a path towards success. The most difficult struggles in life often lead to the sweetest rewards.
- Remember that investment isn't just about money. Palestinians tend to think in very black and white when it comes to investment, but it's important to keep in mind that supporting an idea, without any financial or monetary involvement, is an investment that is just a worthwhile.
But more than anything, the conference really raised my morale and I felt so overwhelmingly grateful for all of the support and respect I was given at the conference.
Besides leaving the country for the first time, what were some other firsts for you?
It was a trip filled with firsts. I traveled alone for the first time, rode an airplane for the first time and it was my first time attending such a large event. I met people from all over the world, from countries I dream to visit. And Dubai was amazing. I had seen pictures of the city on TV before, but seeing the big buildings and highways - it felt like a dream.
What was the biggest highlight from the trip?
The best moment was when I invited me to speak during a session at the conference. I felt honored and empowered to share my story with others and was excited that I was chosen as someone for others to look up to.