WISE II Entrepreneur Profile: Rahma
As a graduate of Biology from An-Najah National University, Rahma knew the negative effects that preservatives and chemicals in food can have on the body. Due to the increased restrictions of movement in the northern West Bank over the years, the market for local foods decreased while import of processed foods increased. Rahma has always been mindful of this when preparing meals for her family but wanted to ensure that others in her community were doing the same. That’s when she decided to put her degree to use by making all-natural Palestinian foods such as lebnah, makdoos (eggplants stuffed with almonds), jams and zaatar, while providing an additional source of income for her family. In 2013, with around $300 saved up from holiday and birthday gifts over the years, she was able to start her own line of food products to sell at the local market.
Rahma learned about the WISE II program at Tomorrow's Youth Organization from the Palestinian Working Women’s Society for Development in Tulkarem. The program has opened new doors and opportunities for her to expand her market base. She has tried to create business plans in the past, but had never succeeded. The courses she has taken never gave the complete picture of what is required to have a thriving business. Through the business development courses offered by the WISE II program, Rahma has finally created a comprehensive business plan. In early 2015, with the help of the program, she registered her business with the Tulkarem Chamber of Commerce.
Through the program, Rahma gained the skills necessary to manage her business as well as her life. On a personal level, she feels empowered to succeed at home and in the workplace. The English skills acquired in the professional development intensive have given her the self-confidence to speak about her business to potential new clients. In the past, marketing outside of Tulkarem has been a huge barrier for Rahma but through contacts made in the WISE II program, her network has expanded throughout the West Bank. She hopes that one day she will increase her market to export outside of Palestine.
-WISE II Entrepreneur Rahma interviewed by Outreach Coordinator Futoon Qadri