Five Palestinian women on the road to entrepreneurship
SANAD and SPARK launch business bootcamp for Palestinian entrepreneurs
Ramallah, November 21, 2018 – From November 8 to 10, 2018, student entrepreneurs in the Palestinian Territories participated in an intensive three-day “business bootcamp” to help them accelerate their startup ideas. The program, launched by the SANAD Entrepreneurship Academy and local entrepreneurship development organization SPARK, culminated in a pitching event for the students to present their business models to a panel of judges from industry and finance. The five winners, all women, will now benefit from six months of intensive business training with experts in the field.
During the program, the 20 students from three local universities developed their proposals according to the Business Model Canvas, weighing aspects such as feasibility, sustainability, and the surrounding market. They also trained their pitching skills in preparation for the final event on November 10, where the top five winners were selected for further participation in six-month business incubator programs.
The winners were:
- Nancy AlZaghal, who has developed a unique business adapted to the Palestinian environment that uses hydroponic systems to farm plants. Her system will save vast quantities of water and produce large quantities of good crops in a short period of time, without the need for large swathes of land.
- Nayrouz Najen Aldden, who aims to offer a medical and home nursing health service, including rentable medical equipment for home rehabilitation.
- Amal Hamed, who is developing a mobile app and medical center for diagnosing and treating speech disorders among children between 1-5 years old.
- Nur ElHuda Abdallah, who is planning a customized fashion design studio and fashion web platform.
- Layla Hamouri, who has conceptualized a mobile app and website that allows university students to access tutorial links for assignments and projects.
Now, these student entrepreneurs will work together for six months with seasoned advisors at Birzeit University, Palestine Ahliyya University, and Palestine Polytechnic University. They will focus on developing their financial plans, validating their business model assumptions, strengthening their overall business skills, and reaching out to investors.
Ines Ebrecht, Chair of the SANAD Technical Assistance Facility which runs the SANAD Entrepreneurship Academy, remarked: “Entrepreneurs hold the key to economic development and employment in the Palestinian Territories. As a fund dedicated to supporting micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises in the Middle East and North Africa, SANAD is very pleased to be partnering with SPARK on giving young entrepreneurs the boost they need to establish sustainable, successful businesses in their community.”
Dina Almasaeid, Country Project Coordinator at SPARK, said: “Palestinian youth are the future for the society, yet they are growing up under very tough circumstances. I felt inspired the moment I saw these 20 students full of energy competing in this bootcamp. Thanks to SANAD for their contribution to make this achievement.”
Sulaiman Hazineh, Corporate Manager at TNB Bank, served on the panel of judges. He stated: “We need to support and enrich practical skills, knowledge and business consciousness in order to improve the employment opportunities for business-minded Palestinian students and bridge the gap between the education system and market needs. We are very honored to be part of this panel with experts from different fields, who are helping these aspiring talents to transform their ideas into reality.”
The SANAD Entrepreneurship Academy – an arm of the SANAD Technical Assistance Facility – financed the bootcamp, which represents the “Economic Empowerment” component of SPARK’s Dynamic Futures scholarship program. The project aims to foster linkages between the youth and financial sector and raise awareness of the importance and challenges of entrepreneurship for economic development.
About the SANAD Technical Assistance Facility
Established in 2011, the SANAD Fund for MSME finances micro, small and medium enterprises and low-income households in the Middle East and North Africa via qualified local lenders. SANAD thereby fosters economic development and job creation – including youth employment – agriculture, affordable housing, and innovations in finance and financial technologies. SANAD strives to meet these goals by providing debt and equity financing to its local partners.
The SANAD Technical Assistance Facility multiplies the fund’s development impact and outreach through capacity-building with partner institutions, developing financial infrastructures according to the principles of responsible finance and conducting much required R&D.
The SANAD Entrepreneurship Academy, a branch of the Technical Assistance Facility, provides targeted support to entrepreneurs in the form of training, networking, mentorship, financial technology, and connection to financing opportunities.
SANAD’s investors include the KfW Development Bank, which initiated the fund; the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ); the European Union; Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO); OeEB, the Development Bank of Austria; Germany’s GLS Bank and GLS Treuhand; and the Dutch development bank FMO. A public-private partnership, the fund is advised by Finance in Motion GmbH, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
For more information, please visit: www.sanad.lu
SPARK develops higher education and entrepreneurship to empower young, ambitious people to lead their conflict-affected societies into prosperity. SPARK is a full-service business development organization operating in 17 fragile regions across Sub-Saharan Africa and MENA. By offering a variety of business and entrepreneurship programs around the world, as well as higher (vocational) scholarship packages, SPARK supports young people in contributing to sustainable economic growth in their countries or host nations.
SPARK partners with major public sector organizations, such as the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the European Union, as well as international organizations like Al Fakhoora/Education Above All, and the Islamic Development Bank.
For more information, please visit: www.spark-online.org
Media contact – SANAD
Senior Officer, Marketing & Communications
Phone: +49 (0)69 271 035-470
Media contact – SPARK
Country Project Coordinator