Age: 25 years old
Location: Tel village, outside of Nablus
Business Plan: Clothing Store
How did you decide to participate in FWEN? What have you gained from the program?
Yasmeen graduated from An-Najah University in 2007 with a degree in Arabic Language, but she has always been a budding entrepreneur, selling clothes from her home to female neighbors who couldn’t go to the market in Nablus. She heard about FWEN from the An-Najah career office and realized the program was a perfect opportunity to formalize and expand her business. She hoped to earn more money in order to improve her life and provide greater opportunities for her family. The other FWEN participants remember with admiration that Yasmeen completed the initial training sessions while pregnant; she now has a beautiful seven-month-old daughter.
She reports that being a businesswoman has had both positive and negative impacts on her family – she has less time to take care of her daughter, but the family is more prosperous due to her income. Her husband, who works for the Palestinian government, is very happy that she has a business and is making money. He often makes trips to Nablus or Ramallah to purchase clothes for the store, and helps with the financial management of the business. Yasmeen’s father also pitches in, often watching her baby while she is working.
What is your business plan?
Since participating in FWEN, Yasmeen has rented a small storefront in her village and has officially opened her clothing shop, called “Rimas.” The presence of this shop in Tel village is an important opportunity for the women living near Yasmeen. Many of them do not have the time or ability to travel all the way to downtown Nablus to shop in the main marketplace; instead, clothing for their entire family is now available to them in their own village. The FWEN program has allowed Yasmeen to purchase new stock, increasing the amount and types of clothing available, and she reports that her business is already turning a profit!
What are your next steps? What help would you like to receive?
With the success of her first store, Yasmeen has many ideas to expand her business. Her next step will be to rent a second storefront in her village and expand her stock. Eventually, with further funding, she would like to purchase clothing directly from wholesalers in China (rather than purchasing from vendors in the Nablus market, as she currently does) in order to bring her costs down.
What are your dreams for the future, and how will your business help you to achieve them?
Yasmeen dreams of owning a chain of stores and purchasing her clothing in bulk directly from China. She imagines herself in the future as a successful businesswoman who can provide a wealth of opportunities for her family and particularly her daughter.
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.