Looking to the Future of Virtual Employment: Self-Employment in a Digital Age

Looking to the Future of Virtual Employment: Self-Employment in a Digital Age
27 May 2021
Looking to the Future of Virtual Employment: Self-Employment in a Digital Age

Ramallah, Palestine, May, 26, 2021 – MENACatalyst concluded the first phase of Self-Employment in a Digital Age, a response to the ongoing unemployment struggle thousands of young Palestinians face when attempting to navigate a disconnected and sparse market economy. The program focused on helping young digital marketers establish home-based businesses and promoting the outreach capabilities of SMEs to compete in local and regional market opportunities.

The event kicked off with welcoming notes from Dietmar Hanzen, advisor for TVET and Entrepreneurship at the GIZ, and Ghassan Amayra, director of MENACatalyst. Forty-two program participants then took the stage and presented their home-based business projects. The presentations provided a deeper look into the progress participants have accomplished thus far, adopted business strategies, targeted markets reached, the number of clients secured, and income generated. The distribution of certificates and a networking session closed the event, allowing program participants to discuss potential collaborations on new or existing projects.   

Why digital marketing? For starters, this industry helps increase the visibility and viability of MSMEs, which make up nearly 90 percent of all businesses in Palestine and across the region. And in a day and age when many people work, shop, and engage with the world around them through the internet, digital marketing has become essential now more than ever.

To this end, Self-Employment in a Digital Age provided participants with the transformative opportunity to connect and learn from leading industry experts, further develop their professional skills and build sustainable wide-reaching home-based businesses. With over 400 applications received, needless to say, demand was high for the program, yet only 42 of the most ambitious candidates were selected to join.

All in all, project participants took part in a series of training courses that revolved around digital and social media marketing, business and market access, business communication, motion graphics, and photography, to name a few. In addition, MC matched each participant to a dedicated mentor that guided them through the process of developing their professional skills and launching their home based-businesses.

The following provides a brief overview of the program’s impact:

  • 42 self-starting digital marketers joined the virtual incubation program. 
  • 96 hours of digital marketing training provided. 
  • Over 900 group and individual mentorship hours delivered. 
  • 5 key expert mentors recruited. 
  • 42 self-starters linked to 37 business and industry experts for individually tailored mentorship. 
  • Network of diaspora mentors from around the globe. 
  • Digital technology equipment delivered to 40 self-starters. 
  • Hosted 6 guest speakers from inside and outside of Palestine. 
  • Over 80 secured clients by self-starting digital marketers. 
  • Average monthly income of over 100k NIS collectively for self-starting digital marketers. 
  • Established a dedicated platform for digital marketers in Palestine and across the region to reach markets and offer their services.  

It is important to note that the program addressed the growing demand for digital marketing as the emergence of home-based businesses and the transition to virtual work surged during COVID-19. Suffice to say, the viability of many smaller establishments was put at risk and required the support of skilled digital marketers to help them increase their visibility in targeted markets. MC's integrated approach incorporated a range of services offered in the field of digital marketing, such as social media management, brand building, business and market access, photography, and motion graphics, to name a few.