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Feb 9, 2016

Training More Entrepreneurs

Brainstorming what it means to take risks
Brainstorming what it means to take risks

TYO is excited to announce that our newest program for women entrepreneurs in Palestine is in full swing. The objective of the project is to empower women entrepreneurs and provide them with the tools and skills needed to grow profitable and sustainable businesses that are scalable and facilitate job creation. We are excited to be offering a program that will increase women’s enterprise development skills and provide them with the opportunity to expand their micro-businesses.

Where We Have Been

After interviewing over one hundred highly-qualified entrepreneurs throughout Northern Palestine, TYO selected and invited the top forty-five candidates to join the newest cohort. Following our selection of entrepreneurs, the new program launched in late November 2015 with a month of robust trainings including a psychological and social assessment, an idea sourcing and product development workshop, a bookkeeping training, and a seven-day business planning intensive with an above-average attendance number of 32 participants per training. The psychological and social assessment provided the women with an opportunity for TYO’s in-house psychologist to lead a day-long discussion in the personal, familial and societal forces either limiting or encouraging the women to forward their careers as entrepreneurs.

Following the psychological and social assessment, TYO’s primary technical training partner inaugurated their trainings by providing both an idea sourcing & product development and a bookkeeping workshop. The idea sourcing and product development workshop was a deeply beneficial initial exercise that taught the women how to brainstorm sound business ideas and how to craft and design their products while keeping in theme with their newly formed business ideas. Thereafter, the women received a day-long bookkeeping training which was challenging yet beneficial to both existing and budding business owners. Even the entrepreneurs with existing businesses did not know how to record their expenditures, revenue, and profit and this workshop provided them with that critical skill.

We wrapped up 2015 with a seven-day business planning intensive in which the women were taught how to prepare a sound and structured business plan. The women were given two weeks to apply what they had learned to developing their own business plans.

Where We Are Going

Now that the women have been trained on the basics of business plan development and submitted their business plans, they will enter more intensive group and individual coaching phases. 2016 will be ripe with more intensive trainings as well as a Networking event, business-English intensives, and regional apprenticeship opportunities! The women have just gotten their feet wet and are ready for so much more. These entrepreneurs have demonstrated tremendous commitment to their development and advancement as small business owners and we are continuously honored to walk alongside them on this journey.  

Thank you for your supporting women-led businesses in Palestine!

 

Training session on how to conduct market research
Training session on how to conduct market research
Entrepreneurs Dalal and Asmaa
Entrepreneurs Dalal and Asmaa' smile at a training
Jan 8, 2016

TYO's Curricula: Building Communication Skills

Week 7: A fun lesson on respect with team relays
Week 7: A fun lesson on respect with team relays

Last July, we shared with you some exciting news! We finalized our curricula - the first non-formal education curriculum designed specifically for children in Palestine. Our curricula was developed through The Student Training and Employment Program (STEP!), working in coordination with Columbia University’s School of Social Work.

Our curricula for children emphasizes two main themes of communication and community, building a sense of security, trust, and self-confidence. In our last report, we explained how we integrate community-building into our curricula for children ages 4-5 years old in weeks 1-6. Now, take a glimpse into how TYO implements activities that build communication skills in the final six weeks of programming (see week seven's photo above):

Week 8: Improving listening skills with fun games
Week 8: Improving listening skills with fun games
Week 9: Teaching logic & reasoning with volcanoes
Week 9: Teaching logic & reasoning with volcanoes
Week 10: The group collaborates on an art project
Week 10: The group collaborates on an art project
Week 11: Problem solving with puzzles
Week 11: Problem solving with puzzles
Week 12: Students review what they learned at TYO
Week 12: Students review what they learned at TYO
Nov 10, 2015

Catching Up with Sahar: TYO's Former Entrepreneur

Meet Sahar Dweikat
Meet Sahar Dweikat

We're please to bring you the story of Sahar Dweikat, an entrepreneur who previously participated in several of our programming for female entrepreneurs in between the years 2010 and 2013. Now, Sahar's business is more thriving than ever and we sat down with her to check-in and see where her business is today. 

Tell us about your business.

I founded Panda Nation in 2012. Panda Nation is a company that specializes in branding, graphic design, and animation. We help companies better understand, build, and express their brands. Panda Nation provides our clients with creative, unique ideas to the local market using only high-quality design services. We work with startups and new businesses to establish outstanding, long-lasting brands and provide our services to a wide-variety of companies and non-governmental institutions. We are building a client base for regional and international clients. Panda Nation specializes in logo design & corporate branding, flyers, posters, and product packaging and design. We also specialize in advertising short films, web design and development, and domain registration.

We currently serve clients in Palestine but seek to build a client base that serves international clients throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and the West. As the founder and team leader of Panda Nation, I have three employees working under my supervision. I am also privileged to have two mentors—one based in the United Stated and the other based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Both mentors are specialists in business strategy and through their mentorship I have learned how to enhance Panda Nation’s marketing strategy.

You recently changed your business name from FlyerAd to Panda Nation. Can you explain why?

FlyerAd just only produced flyers for our clients. As our business has matured and developed, we expanded our services to branding, graphic design, and animation. We decided it was time to have a name and brand that reflected the more comprehensive services we offered. We chose the word Panda because, as a micro-business, we having a growing responsibility to keep the health of our environment and all of its inhabitants at the forefront of our decisions.

What is your greatest success?

I just completed my biggest project to date! The project itself was brokered through TYO. I completed all of the branding materials (flyers, business cards, stickers, packaging, and presentation materials) for twelve entrepreneurs who had recently completed the Women’s Incubation Services for Entrepreneurs II (WISE II) business development program. This project taught me how to manage my time while meeting the creative and marketing needs of a large number of customers. The project was also a critical reminder that attention to detail is the key to any successful project.

Also, I recently identified my first investor and they have invested $22,000 USD to Panda Nation which will greatly help improve and accelerate the business. Through this generous investment, we now have a website, social media campaign, and can invest more time and energy into my marketing.

What has been your greatest challenge?  

Finding investors has been my greatest challenge. There are a lot of incredibly talented entrepreneurs in Palestine and I am competing with all of them.

Tell us about your experience with TYO's business development programs.

Before beginning my first program with TYO in 2010, my business was merely an idea. Completing two programs at TYO helped me create a business plan, envision a budget, and develop a marketing strategy, helping me take my dream and turn it into a reality. I have created and am a part of a vast network of female entrepreneurs in Palestine and participated in a mentoring program supported by Cherie Blair Foundation for Women. This mentoring program connected me with an entrepreneur in Germany who taught me how to craft and revise a business contract. Through TYO programs, I was afforded opportunities to travel to America and Dubai to attend conferences just for female entrepreneurs! TYO helped me realize that I can conquer any problem my business faces through critical thinking, bravery, and persistence.  

Simply stated, before TYO I didn’t even have a business and now I have a wide client base, my own office in the city of Ramallah (a business hub an hour from where I live), and a major investor. After completing two of TYO’s programs for women entrepreneurs, I am far more confident and self-assured.

Would you recommend TYO's programs to another rising entrepreneur?

Yes, absolutely. I would not be where I am today without the support of TYO.   

 

Want to learn more about Panda Nation? Visit their Facebook page, today.

 

Sahar pitching her business at An-Najah University
Sahar pitching her business at An-Najah University
Sahar in a training and mentoring session
Sahar in a training and mentoring session
Sahar
Sahar's branding for Panda Nation
 
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