A man on a mission

Jan Gerard Snip - founder and partner at Sping - is not only an enthusiastic entrepreneur but also a member of PUM. An organization that assists businesses in developing countries and emerging markets to strengthen themselves with the goal of improving people's lives. Jan Gerard recently embarked on a special mission to the Palestinian territories. We talked to him about his trip.

Hi Jan Gerard, you spent your time in the Palestinian territories? Why? It doesn't seem like a typical vacation destination?

It was indeed not a vacation but a trip to assist a startup in the Palestinian territories. I didn't go there in my role at Sping, but as a volunteer with the organization PUM. This organization was founded 45 years ago by the Dutch employers' organization VNO-NCW and is financially supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Every year, more than 1500 missions are carried out worldwide. PUM sends experts - with specific knowledge - on missions to developing countries to assist small and medium-sized business owners in those countries with the development of their businesses.

What was your mission?

In the Palestinian territories, there are many IT graduates, but unemployment among them is high. There are hardly any recruiters in the area, so for many, it sometimes seems hopeless. The startup Synergia can play a crucial role in addressing this growing issue in the region.

Together with the entrepreneur from Synergia, I started a 'business development program' to establish recruitment services alongside their current services. The goal is to have more Palestinian youth work remotely for Western companies. What I noticed there is that the young people speak English very well and have often visited Europe or America. So, there are hardly any language or cultural barriers.

What did you specifically do there?

I provided Synergia with advice on expanding their services and the role of technology in their business. Synergia provides payroll services to companies in the West. They help Palestinian highly educated employees find work by placing them (online) with clients. Synergia then takes care of salary payments, tax payments, and contracts that comply with Palestinian/Israeli law. The expertise we have at Sping, in areas such as business development for startups, UX design, and building complex digital solutions, was highly valuable in this context.

Were you able to help the entrepreneur?

Absolutely. We initially had video contact, but being there in person allowed for a deeper connection. I could also speak with the people around the entrepreneur. The result of this project is that Synergia now has a clear focus, along with a roadmap to introduce their recruitment services to the market. They also know the technological steps to take and the requirements for a software platform. At Sping, we've developed a complex HR platform with a corresponding mobile app, so this experience and expertise were very beneficial.

Who benefited from this?

Ali, the entrepreneur, has expressed his great satisfaction with this project and is very eager to seek PUM's assistance again next year for further expansion of his business. Personally, this was also a valuable experience for me. Ali taught me a lot about the history, religions, politics, and business environment in the Palestinian region and the Middle East.

What will you take away from this experience?

A significant issue in that region is the restriction of freedom for Palestinians, which becomes very apparent with the high walls and watchtowers. Ramallah has been designated as a yellow zone by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, indicating that it's safe to visit, but areas like the Gaza Strip are strongly discouraged.

I was in Ramallah, one of the more modern cities. It has a pleasant and safe atmosphere where I saw many young people enjoying themselves and laughing. Driving can be a bit challenging with many vehicles and honking, but the food is excellent! Synergia's office is located in a modern Incubator & Techno Center, close to the university.

For me, it was an incredibly beautiful experience and privilege to assist Ali in this step of his business. I will follow the developments of Synergia with great interest.

Can we brainstorm with you?

Jan Gerard Snip - Founder