Entrepreneurship under closure

Hanan Khashan. Photo by Asmaa Elkhaldi

Hanan Khashan, 29, works as a digital marketing consultant in the Gaza Strip. Hanan graduated university with a degree in computer science, and worked in the ICT sector for two years before switching to digital marketing, which is a field she has always loved. She developed a project designed to empower women working in the fields of technology and science. Hanan provides promising women entrepreneurs with guidance on digital marketing and design.

Hanan dreams of extending the project to other countries and reaching as many women with business potential as she can in countries like Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. Women in those countries face similar social, economic and political challenges to those Hanan has faced. She emphasizes how important it is to reach as many women as possible in the hope that they can learn from her experience.

Israel’s permit regime denies Hanan the ability to access her clients in person. In order to persevere and achieve her goals, she began delivering workshops remotely via Skype or via facilitators who work with her. For her work in digital marketing she needs a consistent power supply, which she gets by renting an office at the PICTI building in Gaza, which mainly hosts ICT businesses and guarantees power supply throughout the day provided by generator power during outages. Hanan also faces difficulties in collecting payment for her work done outside the Strip. To get around this hurdle, she wants to open a company in Ramallah which she could run remotely.

Like Hanan, people in Gaza are engaged in entrepreneurship in a variety of fields. The road to their success is blocked by restrictions imposed by Israel on movement of goods and people to and from the Strip as well as obstacles raised by other regional and international actors, hindering the development of Gaza’s private sector. Israel’s restrictive access policy must change so that people can fulfill their professional ambitions and drive economic activity in the Strip.

Entrepreneurs in Gaza discuss obstacles to success in Gisha’s new report, Small Businesses, Big Dreams

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