Email, Microsoft Office, and Internet research seem like basic tools for most businesswomen- the simplest factors that make sure enterprises are well equipped to thrive in the modern market. But for women entrepreneurs in Palestine, access to IT education isn’t always easy to find.
That’s why TYO has provided intensive English and computer courses for the 13 FWEME entrepreneurs- running from late February to early March, three weeks of classes equipped women with knowledge on professional email etiquette, presentation development, social media marketing, and delivering elevator speeches.
But the information gained isn’t just for the classroom- and over the past few weeks, women have had multiple opportunities to test out their new skills in the outside business world. Below, read on for a updates on how entrepreneurs have been hard at work to practice their tech and language professional development.
– Cherie Blair Foundation for Women Visit: In late February, Ms. Lucy Hayter and Ms. Priya Patel visited TYO to meet with FWEME entrepreneurs and FWEME Steering Committee members, discussing the project’s progress and challenges facing female entrepreneurs in Palestine. Women were able to hold lively conversations in English about the main struggles they encounter- such as discrimination in accessing finances or fighting resistance from family members- while also sharing the successes they’ve had since joining FWEME, like formalizing business plans and gaining marketing ideas.
-Expotech Conference: Two tech-focused entrepreneurs- Nahawand and Asma- took their computer learning outside of TYO in early March, as they attended the Expotech 2013 (rescheduled from Decemeber) event in Jericho. Expotech, which is the largest gathering of technology professionals in Palestine, allowed Asma and Nahawand to be briefed on the current status of IT development in the country, and how to better incorporate Internet into their businesses. Asma, who is launching a graphic design company, was most impressed with the online marketing techniques presented, while Nahawand found the discussions on online banking to be relevant for her math tutoring service, which accepts payment online.
So while these major steps have been taken outside the classroom, it shouldn’t overshadow the daily progress made in individual lives- entrepreneurs like Ghada, a mushroom farmer in Tulkarem, have implemented “English only” days at home with their children to fully immerse themselves in the language, while others have made “pacts” to practice their professional email skills daily.
Looking forward, it’s clear this progress will continue in the coming months of intensive incubation- and stay tuned for updates as their English and IT skills take them to new levels of success.
–Cayce, Women’s Empowerment Coordinator