On Wednesday, July 21, 2010 twenty-three aspiring, female entrepreneurs presented a total of nineteen business plans to the FWEN Steering Committee marking the end of the Fostering Women Entrepreneurs in Nablus (FWEN) program’s first phase. A few participants also got a special audience with entrepreneur-extraordinaire, Terry McAuliffe!
The business plans, which ranged from developing a local recycling plant to establishing a female-run and operated restaurant, were presented to the FWEN Steering Committee, comprised of eight local business leaders. Each individual or pair had ten minutes to pitch their business, during which time they were evaluated on their delivery, their plan’s viability, their leadership and personal qualities and their economic need.
One participant, so effective, entertaining, and charming in her delivery, left the committee not only impressed by her drive and fortitude, but also cracking up from her stories about the various challenges she faced and overcame, while developing her plan. Clearly, the importance of effective marketing of both one’s business and oneself was a lesson she had learned well.
The first phase of the FWEN project began in January with a workshop under the patronage of the Minister of Social Affairs. In February, TYO identified 28 unemployed female graduated from the Nablus area to take part in an intensive training led by the Small Enterprise Center in Ramallah about basic business skills, management and entrepreneurialism. Since orientation, these participants have met regularly for training and coaching, with program staff and external experts, focused on market research, product development as well as strategy, teambuilding and life skills development. In addition, they have engaged in practical work on idea generation and business plan creation. The presentations given on Wednesday represented months of hard work and idea refinement.
On Tuesday, August 3 the Steering Committee will formally announce the 6-10 business plans that will move on to be incubated in the second phase of the project.
The second phase of the FWEN program begins next month, during which time coaches will work with the creators of these plans to advance their proposals and determine the support (financial, in-kind and supervisory) required for their successful development and implementation as pilot businesses. Other participants will be free to pursue their own business plans, but may not receive any support from project partners beyond the basic training and coaching hours.
Congratulations, to all the FWEN participants on their creative business plans and their progress as developing female entrepreneurs! Nablus is lucky to have you!
Stayed tuned, all, for the final results of the Selection Day process…..!
ABOUT FWEN: During the Fifth Annual Clinton Global Initiative (New York, September 2009), the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and Tomorrow’s Youth Organization (TYO) committed to contribute to women’s economic empowerment in Nablus. The project, Fostering Women Entrepreneurs in Nablus, is now underway at the TYO Center in Nablus and is planned to begin in Lebanon in the fall of 2010.