Last week I went to a cocktail party in Huntington Beach, California. It was a typical pre-conference event where business professionals networked with fellow attendees. There I engaged people with polite, safe, questions such as “Which company do you work for?” and “What brings you to this conference?” But, I still managed to leave some people confused and curious when I explained that I was at the event to convince them to consider outsourcing to Palestine.
Sourcing Industry Group (SIG) holds a bi-annual Global Summit that attracts Fortune 500 and Global 1000 companies to access the latest innovations, network and discuss issues and best practices in sourcing, procurement, and outsourcing. SIG invited us, the World Ventures Group (WVG), a global philanthropic organization dedicated to reducing and resolving conflicts using tools and techniques of entrepreneurship, to discuss our latest initiative: healing conflict through commerce in Israel and Palestine by fostering productive relationships between US business leaders and Palestinian entrepreneurs.
While at that cocktail party, my colleagues and I felt out of place but we had prepared ourselves for it. The conference was full of senior executives from a variety of for-profit industries who were not used to the idea of discussing business practices with a non-profit – especially not a nonprofit with a novel idea like ours.
We made our “Outsource to Palestine” pitch in one of the breakout sessions at the conference the next day. With fingers crossed, we waited in one of the large conference rooms to see how many business professionals would actually be interested in this extraordinary venture. Soon the room filled up and we began our pitch. The faces in the room seemed skeptical yet engaged. They inquired about cost effectiveness, skill level of talent in that region and above all the security of doing business in Palestine.
We left the conference with smiles on our faces. We saw first hand over 75 business leaders were courageous enough to listen to an interfaith team make a bold case for how this makes business sense. Our session was packed, indicating that the time is right to expand and increase these conversations. I realize why outsourcing makes sense and so does WVG. It’s only a matter of time before the private sector realizes that investing in places like Palestine makes a significant impact on regional stability. It also makes for a mutually beneficial investment that bypasses current political and economic barriers making this investment not only innovative but also feasible. Big companies like Cisco, Intel and Microsoft have already began investing in this region. Which is an indication that soon, conversations started by nonprofits like ours, will be commonplace at business conference cocktail parties across the United States.