A native of Nablus, Nour Kharim is a woman entrepreneur with her company Nour, which specializes in soaps, creams and oils made from a blend of 100% natural ingredients found in the Palestine including olive, sesame and clove oil. Nour is the first manufacturer of creams made of natural materials in Palestine. Currently involved in our Women’s Incubation Services for Entrepreneurs (WISE), Nour recently returned from the Insight Dubai Conference.
In March 2013, with fellow WISE participant Mai at her side, Nour headed to Dubai. Nour shares her experience with us and explains how Insight Dubai helped her grow and develop as a businesswoman.
What was the conference?
Insight Dubai brought women from all over the world together to talk about topics of leadership and empowerment. I learned about many new subjects like human trafficking and early marriage. This was an amazing experience for young women to get to meet other like-minded women from around the world.
Tell us about your first days in the conference.
I have to admit, my first day I was so unhappy. I felt overwhelmed because the conference was entirely in English. I knew I would be forced to speak English and the pressure really got to me. But then I took a moment to think about the amazing time I knew I was bound to have and I took this as a learning experience and a time to practice my English. By day two, I was incredibly happy and using English. Through English I was able to make friends from the conference from Malaysia, Turkey, Italy, Ghana, Ukraine, Pakistan and the US!
What are the two biggest lessons you learned?
- Patience. When interacting with people from other cultures, you must have patience. Chances are you don’t speak the same language so conversations will take much longer to have. And you may not understand each other at first. I learned that with some time and patience, you can become fast friends!
- General self-developement. I have had to do things I’ve never had to do before by observing others. I had my first opportunity to network and make contacts with people outside of Palestine. I had to step out of my comfort zone and network with my peers. This type of networking will not only help my business in the long-run, but also personally in my confidence going forward.
How did this conference help you in business development.
Besides what I already mentioned, I learned that there’s a lot of interest in these type of products. I brought some of my products as gifts and all of the girls loved them and were so happy to receive the soaps and lotions. Because the products were so well received, I also had some local women interested in selling my products from Dubai in shops and boutiques. I feel so fortunate that I was able to come to Dubai and raise awareness about natural products and create a space for my business in the marketplace there.
What was a highlight of your trip?
It’s hard to pick just one! But probably when I gave my products as gifts, my one friend from Ghana showed a serious interest in starting something similar herself. She is an agricultural engineer but said that I inspired her to take a leap and start her own business making beauty products but from natural ingredients found in Ghana. I explained the process to her and we’re going to keep in touch so that I can share my techniques with her in the hopes that she too can be a successful businesswoman.