We believe that university students and fresh graduates are the major segment for creating a pipeline. Smart Days at Palestinian Universities – Access to Success is an activity that aimed to create a platform for potential entrepreneurs at three Palestinian universities in the West Bank in collaboration with the universities and their career centres and centres of excellence. It gave beneficiaries the opportunity to obtain firsthand experience and to develop their entrepreneurial capacity to better qualify them for the emerging startups scene in addition to developing the capacities of our partners.
We targeted three national Palestinian universities (Palestine Polytechnic University, Palestine Technical University- Kadoorie and Arab American University of Jenin). 1000 students participated in our customized bootcamp structure, that provided students with the opportunity to hear inspirational and motivational talks by successful entrepreneurs, instructors, mentors and other stakeholders.
These events were implemented through a workshop model, in which the students worked jointly with each other and the mentors and developed business concepts. The workshops were two days long, where we delivered a variety of topics on the first day to students about team building, competition, opportunities, and business models and applying this to their ideas for start-ups, under the supervision of mentors. On the second day teams worked on their ideas further, again with mentors offering expert advice.The project selected a number of concepts and provided their owners with further business support services that resulted in formal startup business proposals/ business plans.
The activity was implemented in close coordination with the career centers and their staff members, as we believe that decision makers at universities have a big role to play in creating a pipeline an encouraging entrepreneurship. We aimed to transfer the know-how of entrepreneurship and startup concepts to these centers and thus contribute to their efforts to provide career guidance and counseling support for their students. This was accomplished through engaging them in the project’s activities, holding different job-shadowing sessions with the centers’ staff members through Leaders mentors and consultants while delivering these services to the entrepreneurs. In addition to providing them with the opportunity to attend the events and workshops delivered by Leaders’ accelerator FastForward and its mini-tech Park eZone.
An expected result of creating a pipeline that draws new innovative ideas, the need to provide a facility that incubates these talents in one place will grow, where professional coaching, mentoring and networking programs are there to help them turn their business idea into a viable business, sell it and expand to regional and international markets.