Jun 13, 2011

A New Business Model for Women in the West Bank

From SSIR:
Fidaa has taken a different approach: Her enterprise focuses on incubating businesses, and it receives a share of the business revenues. To ensure success of the projects, women must go through an application process in which the Palestinian Center for Communication and Development Strategies (Fidaa’s NGO) assesses each project and provides financial assistance, technical assistance, training, and consulting as required. In contrast to traditional microcredit programs, where there can be difficulty following up and monitoring projects, Fidaa ensures constant monitoring and evaluation of her beneficiaries’ projects through a vast network of rural organizations. She also relies on local, community-based organizations, adapting the business incubation model to cultural and social contexts.
Fidaa’s clients receive seed funding, technical assistance through a pool of experts to ensure the quality of the products, and marketing services to guarantee the sale of the products in local and regional markets. To ensure that Erada (one of Fidaa’s NGO’s business ventures that exclusively targets women) is financially sustainable, Fidaa takes 20% of the profits. This is subsequently reinvested in the Erada brand, operations, and other micro-projects. By providing services and incubating businesses at women’s houses, Fidaa has managed to engage her clients in the production, packaging, and marketing of their own goods. She has also expanded their markets from limited local street shops; some products are sold in the central markets of Hebron, others in Dubai.
Despite daily harassment by settlers and travel difficulties, Fidaa has managed to establish a grassroots business incubation model that creates jobs for women, encourages entrepreneurs, and diversifies local community economies. Erada has already provided seed funding to more than 1,200 women.

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