Digital skills for business women: How to grow your business in the digital world?
Women entrepreneurs make significant contributions to economic growth and to poverty reduction as they support the diversification of the economy by creating business start-up cultures that bridge different local, regional and international markets. Start-up, small- and medium-size businesses are taking a huge step towards gender equality and the empowerment of women employees.
The Representative Office of the Republic of Lithuania in Palestine implemented its project “Digital Business Women 2018” aimed at building capacity and empowering Palestinian businesswomen and entrepreneurs with digital skills. Women’s empowerment is Lithuania’s foreign policy priority, alongside its international commitments with the EU and UN.
The project “Digital Business Women 2018” was organised in partnership with a diverse group of Palestinian and Lithuanian partners including Market Place Investments, , Bank of Palestine, and ADEO Web. Lithuania is increasing its involvement with Palestine year on year.
Three days of training and coaching took place at the Bank of Palestine HQ, focusing on subjects that included building an online presence, social media and marketing techniques, e-payment solutions, entrepreneurial mind-set and leadership, and business growth techniques. Participants also heard of success stories from both Lithuania’s and Palestine’s leading women entrepreneurs and e-commerce experts.
Dr. Amal Daraghmeh Masri, CEO of Ougarit Group and Editor-in-Chief of Middle East Business News & Magazine, opened the training with a session about leadership in the business world.
Amal highlighted that “the economic independence of women is key to the advancement of women and is the way to a better future. By controlling their income, women can take the decisions that are best for them, their family, and therefore for their communities at all levels”.
“The strength of such training – offering a diversity of experienced trainers and coaches, foreign experts and a group of dedicated partners – is fantastic. We are glad to be able to contribute to the enhancement of digital skills for Palestinian businesswomen in the ever changing and competitive digital landscape”, says Sharif Abu Sneineh Moriano, Executive Manager of Market Place Investments.
Specialists providing training included: Hassan Jeddah, a co-founder of Concepts Technologies, who provided well-analysed data about the digital and social media scene in Palestine; Hussam Awwad, Assistant Head of Product Development at the Bank of Palestine who spoke about e-payment solutions; e-commerce legal aspects were covered by Linda Safarini, Legal Expert on human rights and international humanitarian law. Ahed Izhiman, co-founder of the Art Lab in Jerusalem, helped illustrate the concepts of documentary photography in business and shared examples of his work. The training ended with Ahmed Barakat’s session on digital marketing and native advertising.
“Nowadays it is essential to adopt digital platforms in business or start-ups as those channels allow us to reach customers for product validation, market research and direct sales”, says Hassan Jeddah, an expert of digital and social media.
A session on video creation was presented by Yara K. Masri, Youth Issues’ Editor and Videographer at Middle East Business News & Magazine and founder of AMALI Awareness Project, in order to strengthen attendees’ communication skills via content creation and storytelling in the digital world.
According to Arturas Gailiunas, Representative of the Republic of Lithuania in Palestine, this initiative, organised for the second consecutive year, brings together not only local and foreign knowledge, but builds strong connections between people.
“Economic security is a major priority for Palestinian women and this training has equipped businesswomen and entrepreneurs with much needed digital skills and knowledge, as well as strengthened a people-to-people network between Lithuanian and Palestinian businesswomen”, says Arturas Gailiunas.
Three Lithuanian businesswomen and e-commerce experts shared their experience and stories with the participants. Simona Valikonyte, a founder of colourful socks company “Smart Booby”, spoke about branding and product story, while during Zivile Jukneviciene’s session the participants explored creative ways of packaging and presenting their products.
“All women participants want to reach more customers and expand their business, but, as I observed, it is difficult for them to clearly present and sell their products or services. I think that by showing specific examples and sharing the learnt best practices, participants will be able to apply this to their business in the future”, says Zivile, the owner of two Lithuanian companies, “ŽiedųSkonis“ and “Atrast“.
Lithuanian women experts also gave one-on-one business consultation sessions facilitated by the Bank of Palestine. According to Gerda Aleksandraviciute-Peckaitiene, IT project manager at ADEO Web, real cases were analysed and possible solutions discussed in ‘accelerated mode’ during these sessions.
“I really enjoyed those sessions. They helped women who already run their business successfully, but are in need of advice on very specific fields such as selling items internationally, scaling business or managing a team. Moreover, during sessions we were able to make more personal contacts and get to know their businesses better”, says Gerda.
Sixteen Palestinian businesswomen and entrepreneurs attended training with projects in various fields such as embroidery, training and consultation centres, physiotherapy, recycling, bakery, cuisine, appointment reservations, beauty centres and jewellery.
“This training awakened my creativity as I learnt from different experts how to brand and package my product in a way that has never crossed my mind and I now know more about digital marketing techniques for my business”, explained Tujan Mushasha, an owner of “Tujan Arts” who create embroidery-on-wood products.
In addition to the training, a digital training library has been developed for the use of all Palestinian businesswomen and entrepreneurs. It includes all of the training materials, including audio, short videos, notes, recommendations, and contacts. This is to further accelerate women’s economic empowerment efforts in Palestine, and to strengthen the networking opportunities between Lithuanian and Palestinian women entrepreneurs