Can Entrepreneurship Empower Palestinians?

Last week I was asked to join a group of coaches and investors to design and lead a program for Palestinian entrepreneurs from the West Bank. This week I have been doing a lot of thinking. Thinking about conflict resolution. Thinking about peace. Thinking about empowerment and the role that entrepreneurship can play…

An article in yesterday’s Norway Evening Post discussed the problems in the UK with generational unemployment. 11% of the children in the UK grow up in a family where no one works. No one. The programming starts at birth. Children learn to believe in limitations. Severe limitations. There are very few good examples and even fewer role models. There is only a strong belief – being reinforced daily – that their situation is hopeless and futile. Thus, their likelihood of breaking out of this environment is slim. Generation after generation, the problem gets passed on.

What kind of beliefs are young Palestinian entrepreneurs being taught? What do the children of Palestine believe about their own chance to create their own future? Isn’t this really a question of empowerment?

The greatest gift in becoming an entrepreneur is not the money. It’s not the glamour of being your own boss nor the ability to work when and where you want. The greatest gift lies in knowing that you can create your own future. True entrepreneurship and true empowerment is believing that no matter what situation arises or whatever circumstances occur, that you will be able to find a way to turn it around, to create your own business, to survive and to thrive.

How can we teach this to young Palestinians? How can we instill in them the belief that the future is really theirs to create? Empowerment is one of the only true paths to peace in Palestine. At least that is what I have been thinking…

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Rick Salmon is an energetic entrepreneur who lives in Norway and believes that European startup companies can succeed and grow quickly if only they get the proper help and assistance. Please join the discussion and leave your comments. Subscribe to this newsletter/blog to receive frequent updates and tips.