Advancing Palestinian Women Entrepreneurs
Advancing Palestinian Women Entrepreneurs supported women in Palestine from 2014-2017.
Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza face significant economic challenges. Regional barriers have restricted mobility and limited access to jobs, markets and capital. Currently, 18% of Palestinians in the West Bank are unemployed and an estimated 25% of households in the West Bank are below the poverty line. Only 26% of micro and small enterprises are owned by women, and the majority of these exist in the informal economy. Palestinian women possess the desire to expand their businesses but due to their remote location, restricted mobility and socio-cultural barriers, they lack the opportunities to access tailored business training, markets and capital.
Building on the success of the Nablus Women Entrepreneurs project, the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women partnered with the Near East Foundation (NEF) in February 2014 on an initiative to empower Palestinian women entrepreneurs to grow profitable and sustainable businesses that are market-oriented, scalable and capable of facilitating job creation. Through this project we reached 217 women entrepreneurs living in Ramallah, Bethlehem and Hebron with support to scale up their small businesses over three years. As a result, the women have created 97 new jobs, both full-time and part-time roles. In addition 23 women have formally registered their enterprises and 42 have boosted their revenue by an average of 145%.
Following the success of this project and our Middle East Women Entrepreneurs project, we scaled up this work in the second phase to reach an additional 45 Palestinian women. We are working with Tomorrow’s Youth Organization (TYO) to support the women to grow their businesses through enterprise development training, business coaching, incubation services and access to financial services.
This unique initiative is working with Palestinian women who have the desire to grow their existing businesses, facilitating job creation and spurring economic growth in the West Bank.