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Start-ups & Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs are eager to start new enterprises that benefit their communities

Palestine has one of the world’s highest population densities compared to countries of similar geographic size and characteristics and also a high population growth rate. Mr. George Yerousis, from the Center for Continuing Education in Birzeit University, our green entrepreneurship local partner in Palestine, explain us that they are we are constantly encouraging Palestinian entrepreneurs to start sustainable and environmentally friendly income generating projects. Read the rest of the the interview here.

Tell us about the organisation that you work for

The Center for Continuing Education in Birzeit University seeks to build the capacity of institutions and local communities to be able to achieve their goals effectively and efficiently through the design, development and implementation of high quality innovative and holistic models and programs in areas of organizational development, educational reform, community empowerment and psycho-social counseling, based on full understanding of the developmental reality and within the framework of cooperation and partnership with specialized entities to achieve a lasting impact.

 

 

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 Tell us a bit about yourself

By training, I am an environmental and water engineer.  I work with young Palestinian entrepreneurs to assist them to develop and/or fine tune their business ideas.  I travel across many West Bank cities to engage with college and university students who are passionate about starting new enterprises that benefit their communities.  With a team of other mentors, I help those students in describing, visualizing, and assessing different business models for the ideas that they are passionate about.


Your organisation prepares emerging market entrepreneurs for investors. How do you do that with projects that are orientated to sustainability? Is this linked to the entrepreneur-investor matchmaking your organisation is doing for entrepreneurs?

Palestine has one of the world’s highest population densities compared to countries of similar geographic size and characteristics. Palestine has also a relatively high population growth rate, which creates an increasing demand for critical resources especially water and energy.  Since Palestine has control of only 5-7% of its natural water resources, and is highly dependent on Israel for energy supply, we are constantly encouraging Palestinian entrepreneurs to start sustainable and environmentally friendly income generating projects.  Through our network of immediate and peripheral partner organizations, we strongly encourage start-ups to include sustainable production and consumption practices into their business and/or production operations.


The entrepreneur-mentor relationship is a key element in every successful business pre-incubation stage. According to you, what is the role of the mentor?

I think that the role of the mentor in most of our pre-incubation programs is to bring concepts, techniques, and tools together to articulate a business model. Mentors help their mentees in developing and/or assessing their business models – and fine-tune them, if appropiate. Through on-site and online meetings, mentors assist entrepreneurs in putting together their value propositions, customer segmentation, revenue streams, cost structuring, and distribution channels.  Our mentors also assist entrepreneurs in identifying the sources and quality of data needed to formulate the value proposition.  For those entrepreneurs with viable business ideas, our mentors help them to put together meaningful business plans and also to design and to develop prototypes and minimum viable products (MVPs), which are the ones with the highest return on investment versus risk.
 

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What is the secret of a well written green business plan?

In my opinion, a good green business plan that can attract potential partners and investors is the one that focuses on 4 main elements: the solution (in terms of product or service), how the solution caters to the customer needs, how the plan strategically engages/addresses all stakeholders and the most important one, what social and environmental value does it bring.

 

 You have dealt with many green entrepreneurs. What do they have in common? Give us 3 words to describe an entrepreneur one.

Without any doubts, green entrepreneurs are environmentally-conscious people who have genuine beliefs, values, and attitudes towards contributing to the protection of the environment and the preservation of pristine and natural resources.