Ibn Rush'd Entrepreneurs Program for Area C Youth

by Rebuilding Alliance

With all the families visiting the park in Al Aqaba, and all the delegations visiting Mayor Haj Sami Sadeq, it is time to develop hospitality training for some of the young people who want jobs.    St. Andrew's Guesthouse in Ramallah, part of the Espicopal Technical and Vocational Training Center in Ramallah, visited Al Aqaba and put together this preliminary proposal for training and improvements of the Al Aqaba Guesthouse.

Mayor Haj Sami is ready to go ahead, and we have some questions, including budget discussion, and scheduling, to be able to move forward in the month ahead.  When I think of our other projects, we often seek-out other vendors to provide a competing quote.  Perhaps we should do so for this project as well. 

Meanwhile, the Ibn Rush'd Library is inviting the director of the Children's Library and Technology Center in Hebron to visit to help plan next steps for Library programs including the Ibn Rush'd Entrepreneurship Program for Area C Youth.  We would like to host a visiting speakers series.  More on this soon!

Sincerely,

Donna


Attachments:
The Ibn Rush
The Ibn Rush'd Librarian, Kefah, helped translate!

July 1, 2015

Dear friend of the Ibn Rush'd Youth Entrepreneurship Program,

So much has happened in the last six months!  We are excited to share with you three outstanding developments from the Ibn Rush'd Entreprenership Program: 

(1) Conducting Surveys: Market Research for the Al Aqaba Rural Women's Restaurant 

The Middle East Investment Initiative (MEII), based in Ramallah, recently completed a market analysis report for our proposed Al Aqaba Rural Women's Center Restaurant - and they couldn't have done it without the Youth Entrepreneurship Club! Together, they developed a survey to collect information about the potential patrons of the Al Aqaba Restaurant, and the youth went out to survey the surounding areas. They surveyed 200 people: 100 in Tubas, 50 in Tayaseer and 50 in Al Aqaba. There was a fair distribution of the survey to different genders, ages, and income categories.

Results:

  • 31% of respondents were willing to visit the restaurant during vacation times (Eid) and special occasions
  • 61% said they have no restaurant near their area
  • 85% were willing to visit Al Aqaba restaurant
  • 13% would not visit the restaurant for financial reasons
  • The suitable price for a meal is 40 NIS (20 NIS for a sandwich with French fries)
  • Location: Al Aqaba village, Tayaseer village, the town of Tubas, and the villages of Ein al Beida, Barala, Kardala, and surrounding area
  • Income level: From data gathered in primary research, they found that 84% of respondents have a family household income less than 3500 NIS monthly, and 55% have a family household income of less than 2000 NIS montly.

This survey gave the youth hands-on experience with a professional business consultant to determine the viability of future projects. They did a phenomenal job!

(2) How to write a business plan: Frozen Vegetables

On our last visit to Palestine, Donna helped run a workshop on business plan development with Al Aqaba's lovely librarian, Kefah, members of the Ibn Rush'd Youth Entreprenership Program, and the business managers of Al Aqaba.

Conversation has been flowing about the possibility of a frozen vegetable project for the youth. With an abundance of vegetables in Al Aqaba during the spring and summer, the youth see great opportunity in freezing and packaging vegetables for distribution in the surrounding areas and throughout Palestine. This is compounded by the fact that most of the frozen vegetables available for purchase are currently being imported from Israel - the possibility of buying local to support the Palesitnian economy resonates deeply with many. With Al Aqaba's delicious goat's milk cheese now being imported as far as South America, this small village is really dreaming big.

On April 4, Donna (with the help of Kefah and Haj Sami translating,) led a seminar on how to write a business plan. To make sure that your donation goes as far as possible, Rebuildling Alliance is committed to helping foster Entrepreneurial skills in these youth that they can use for the rest of their lives.

We asked questions like:

1.) What is the problem/opportunity? Why frozen vegetables?

2.) Market Analysis: Who will buy this product?  

3.) Who is on the team? What are their strenghts?

4.) How much will this cost? 

"Your business plan is strong because of the people....It's almost the most important part. People don't care about ideas, they care about you." - Donna Baranski-Walker, Executive Director, Rebuildling Alliance

You can see a video clip of the workshop by clicking here: 

They estimate the start-up costs for machinery will be about $15,000.   They may be able to share space with the goat cheese factory and also share the refrigerated truck.   We look forward to receiving their business plan soon to learn more about the details of this exciting project and provide seed funding.    

Vocational Training for the Al Aqaba Guest House: 

Al Aqaba is planning to expand their small guest house to accomodate the large international delegations visiting each week.  This can provide an important opportunity for hospitality jobs and the Al Aqaba Youth Entrepreneurship group has asked for a proposal about such training. 

Rebuildling Alliance stays in a variety of places across the West Bank when we visit. One of our favorites is the Saint Andrews Guest House in Ramallah, a recently remodeled space in al Tireh with the mission of offering affordable accomodations while training students currently enrolled in the Hotel School ETVTC training programme. The leaders of the Al Aqaba Youth Entrepreneurship program joined Mayor Haj Sami Sadeq to explore training with the head of the ETVTC Hotel School program, Mr. Giovanni Anbar.  The ETVTC team sent us a proposal and will be visiting Al Aqaba after the Eid to develop next steps.

Stay tuned for more exciting updates about the Ibn Rush'd Entrepreneurship Program, and thank you for your support!

Warm wishes,

Kelly Leilani Main

Mayor Haj Sami & accountant discuss business plan
Mayor Haj Sami & accountant discuss business plan
The whole group!
The whole group!
Momen, middle, studied marketing in school!
Momen, middle, studied marketing in school!
Everyone learned new vocabulary in English &Arabic
Everyone learned new vocabulary in English &Arabic
Discussing the possibility of Hospitality Training
Discussing the possibility of Hospitality Training
Mayor Haj Sami and Momen, youth entrepr. co-leader
Mayor Haj Sami and Momen, youth entrepr. co-leader
Donna from Rebuilding Alliance & Mayor Haj Sami
Donna from Rebuilding Alliance & Mayor Haj Sami

Links:

The Ibn Rush
The Ibn Rush'd Library, newly expanded

Dear Friend,

When I last wrote, the library had expanded and we were excited to bring business plan development advisers to work with the Ibn Rush'd Youth Entrepreneurs.   Introductions have been made and first visits have happened —  but we're not quite sure this is a good fit, so we are interviewing a second group of advisers as well.  

Do you know  that our Ibn Rush'd Library and Youth Entrepreneurship program qualifies for the Microsoft Youth Spark Matching Grant?   If you can make a donation today, please do.

Microsoft YouthSpark will match your donation today — Dollar for Dollar — starting at 6am Pacific / 9am Eastern and again at noon Pacific time / 3pm Eastern.  They are giving away $350,000 today but the match will go very quickly, maybe in 5 min so please set your alarm for the exact hour in your time zone.  Note:  Microsoft will match up to $500 per project.

Thank you again for giving wings to the wonderful Ibn Rush'd Library and Entrepreneurship Program.  

Sincerely,

Donna

More space, now that the wall is moved outward
More space, now that the wall is moved outward
The restroom is upgraded, accessible from indoors
The restroom is upgraded, accessible from indoors
Kindergarteners visiting the Ibn Rush
Kindergarteners visiting the Ibn Rush'd Library

Dear Friends,

Good news!   The Ibn Rush'd Library has expanded!

"We expanded the library by moving the wall out over the walkway and also upgrading the restroom," said Mayor Haj Sami.  "We will buy new books soon."

I am sending you photos of Librarian Kefah reading to a class of kindergarteners.  Librarian Kefah is now signed-up in Beyond Access, a movement of people and organizations committed to the idea that modern public libraries help drive economic and social development.  My daughter, Andrea Walker, took these pictures when she came to Al Aqaba with me in May.

Regarding the Ibn Rush'd Entrepreneurship program, the young people are eager to move forward with their frozen vegetable company.  It seems like a good idea — but before committing funds, the next step is to develop a business plan.   We have been looking for a mentor to help the young people and also to help the Rural Women's Association press forward with their respective business plans.  Also, yet a third proposal is coming forward to both groups:  goat-milk ice cream!

In September, I facilitated a panel discussion at the recent Social Capital conference in San Francisco (SOCAP'14), focused on construction financing in the West Bank's Area C.  Through that presentation, we found our way to the Middle East Investment Initiative and their Techical Assistance Program (TAP) funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).  This might be just the group to mentor Al Aqaba's youth entrepreneurs.

The Technical Assistance Program is provided without fees to Palestinian small businesses including start-ups.  Priority is given to East Jerusalem, Gaza Strip, and Area C of the West Bank.  Here are the objectives:

  1. Provide technical assistance and training to businesses to better understand their financial and management performance.
  2. Guide businesses to achieve better financial and management performance.
  3. Provide career opportunities to Palestinian university students by offering internships and practical experience.
  4. Provide technical assistance and support to femaleowned businesses.
  5. Provide other consulting services tailored to the particular needs of the businesses.
  6. Assist businesses applying for credit by helping their owners prepare business plans and supporting documents as required by the lenders when needed.

We look forward to connecting everyone and sending you their business plans in our next update!

I sincerely thank you for your support of both the Ibn Rush'd Library and the Ibn Rush'd Entrepreneurship Program.  Your donation has opened an important and exciting door for these students.  We are all very grateful for your support and we look forward to keeping you updated as new connections are made and their business plans take shape.

Sincerely,
Donna

Librarian Kefah asks and answers questions
Librarian Kefah asks and answers questions
Something funny
Something funny
Reading a story
Reading a story
Today
Today's story is in Arabic, others in English

Links:


Attachments:

Dear Friends,

We are delighted to watch 15 young people, all from Al Aqaba Village, move forward in the Ibn Rush'd Entrepreneurship Club!   They formed the club just before the April Youth Spark competition and here we are with another Bonus Day this week.

These high school graduates (some already in college) are coming together to build one or more businesses that will provide them with jobs.   They meet at Al Aqaba's Ibn Rush'd Library.  First, Librarian Kefah  held meetings with local experts to to help the students learn how to come up with good business ideas.  At both the cheese and tea factories, they interviewed the managers and discussed marketing and management. They also met Mayor Haj Sami Sadiq and Raheya Alsbaih, director of the Rural Women’s Association, both inspiring leaders. 

Then Librarian Kefah invited them to brainstorm their own business ideas.  Among the many projects they thought of, the frozen seasonable vegetables seemed suitable for its minimal budget and resources, especially since the Goat Cheese Factory is receiving new freezers.   Meanwhile, interest is growing around the possibility of bringing a high quality ice cream machine to Al Aqaba for goat milk ice cream.  Their next step:  to learn how to write a business plan.

Meanwhile, Librarian Kefah is working to complete her training as a librarian.  She recently completed training at the Al Bireh Public Library, a remarkable library in the large town next to Ramallah.   She has also been joining cultural training programs in the nearby villages of Tamoun and Al Far'a.

Good news.  This Wednesday June 25th is a bonus day with a dollar for dollar match for donations up to $1000.  On Wednesday, Microsoft Youth Spark is giving away $200,000 in matching funds via GlobalGiving — I think the match will go in the first 5 minutes

If you would like to give, please mark your calendar for Wednesday, June 25th and set your alarm for 9:01am Pacific, 10:01am Mountain, 11:01am Central, or Noon:01pm Eastern.    Please click Ibn Rush'd Entrepreneurs Program for Area C Youth to give.

As always, please call me if you have questions or suggestions.  My phone number is 650 325-4663.

Sincerely,

Donna


Attachments:

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Organization Information

Rebuilding Alliance

Location: Burlingame, CA - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.RebuildingAlliance.org
Project Leader:
Donna Baranski-walker
Executive Director
San Mateo, CA United States