HSBC Finance & Entrepreneurship Awareness Program

Program Summary

The HSBC Financial and Entrepreneurship Awareness (FEA) Program was designed to provide young Arab women the opportunity to develop skills that will help them realize their career aspirations in business and finance. Funded by international banking giant HSBC and administered by AMIDEAST in partnership with Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, the program addressed the need among young Arab women to acquire skills that enhance their employability, thereby meeting a vitally important goal in a region with extremely high rates of unemployment among women. 

Main Goals

  • Support the career goals of young Arab women seeking careers in finance and entrepreneurship

  • Provide short-term skills training in business and entrepreneurship basics that complement participants’ university-level studies, with a focus on activities that provide hands-on exposure to the realities of business, finance, and entrepreneurship activities

  • Build the business, leadership, and financial management skills of young women to prepare them to be business-owners and contribute to broader economic gains for the region

Program Results

In summer 2009, 24 young women from Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, and the UAE spent 10 days on the Wilson campus, immersed in a rigorous training program. During their U.S. stay, they also visited Washington, DC, and Chicago. In Washington, meetings at the National Bankers Association, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and the Bureau of Printing and Engraving exposed the women to the federal role in the U.S. financial industry. In Chicago, the women toured the Mercantile Exchange and spent a day at HSBC’s U.S. headquarters learning about topics such as financial literacy, social investing, and sustainability in banking.Highlights

  • “I had the chance to learn about finance, banking, and the business world … [and] how to prepare a business plan,” said Farah Debes, an architecture major from Jordan. “The opportunity to meet entrepreneurs and learn from their experiences gave me an idea of what the real business world is like… They have worked really hard and become successful, and that makes me very optimistic!”

  • “I am more realistic now. I know that it takes more than I thought [to start a business], but I also know that there are lots of opportunities waiting to be taken, said Ala’ Arafat, also from Jordan.