Laili Shtaiwi is a single mother of two boys.
She had many obstacles, including a limited education, and English‐speaking skills and job skills that were lacking. For several years, she took any minimum wage job she could find.
After being diagnosed with cancer, her case manager started brainstorming with her about an alternative to a conventional 9‐5 job and suggested she try self employment. Ms. Shtaiwi stated that while living in her native Palestine she learned how to make cheese. Together they developed a strategy.
They agreed she was not financially in a position to rent commercial space. Like other entrepreneurs, she started in her house with equipment she already owned. After making several batches and perfecting her recipes, she took samples to different Arabic grocery stores.
Before long she started getting orders, and expanded into other product areas. She is now able to support herself and her family by making traditional Arabic foods from her home. She is also considering an Entrepreneur Development Program to develop a business plan that will allow her to grow her business and get access to financing so she can open a store.
After an operation, her cancer is also now in remission.