APWE's Research Project Has Begun!
Since 2011, Tomorrow’s Youth Organization has prioritized entrepreneurship programs specifically tailored to address the needs of women in Northern Palestine. TYO’s current project, Advancing Palestinian Women Entrepreneurs (APWE), seeks to empower women entrepreneurs and provide them with the tools and skills needed to grow profitable and sustainable businesses that are scalable and facilitate job creation. A critical component of any successful micro-business is a business owner's ability to access start-up capitol to access the supplies, materials, and locale to conduct one’s business. A recent report from the Independent shows that micro-finance still plays a critical role in helping otherwise impoverished populations access the resources they need to actualize their dreams and improve the material conditions of their lives. “I met at least 15 customers with similar stories. Among them are Julia and her daughter Isabel, who get up at 4am and work till 5pm making and selling tortillas for the neighbourhood; the profits from the business have allowed Julia to buy a car. Then there is Evana, who borrowed $200 to buy and sell cosmetics door to door, using the profits to pay her way through law school. I also meet Dona Julia Lilliam Ramirez, who runs a grocery store. A client of Finca for 19 years, she used her first loan to buy cleaning products in Managua to sell in the nearby villages. She now uses the proceeds of her business to feed poor children in the neighbourhood.”
Even though micro-finance can be an essential part of any micro-enterprise, very few female entrepreneurs in Northern Palestine access loans from local lending institutions. Because of this, TYO has partnered with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and Arab World for Research and Development (AWRAD), to identify the main restrictions female entrepreneurs face in accessing financial services and start-up capital. The results of the study will be utilized to advocate to banks and other stakeholders to shift the discriminatory lending practices that have historically prohibited women in Palestine from acquiring loans. AWRAD will soon begin an extensive qualitative and quantitative field-based research to:
- analyze the social, economic, and legal restrictions preventing women entrepreneurs from accessing financial services to start or grow their businesses
- propose solutions-oriented recommendations for financial institutions to adopt in order to support a more robust and equitable economy for Palestinian women
TYO is excited to use the results of this research project to better understand the roadblocks women entrepreneurs face in Palestine in order to begin to shift the culture of lending practices and to better positions female entrepreneurs in Palestine to start, cultivate, and maintain successful micro-businesses.
Vanessa, Women's Empowerment Program Coordinator