(MENAFN – Khaleej Times) When you combine the fact that women are the driving force behind many budget decisions with the fact that women-based businesses are overwhelmingly more profitable than their male counterparts, it should come as no surprise that organizations across the board World According to experts, the UAE wants to increase its investments in startups created by women entrepreneurs.
While the landscape for women entrepreneurs in the UAE is slowly evolving, in addition to a positive global trend, many women still face a myriad of issues that need to be addressed, including, but not limited to, early-stage funding, ingrained gender biases . and lack of mentoring opportunities.
According to a report by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), global GDP would rise three to six percent and the global economy would jump about $ 2.5 trillion to $ 5 trillion if male and female entrepreneurs were equally involved in the economy would be. Currently, women entrepreneurs are adding $ 5 trillion to the global wealth pool each year – faster than in previous years – and currently control 32 percent of global wealth.
The study also found that the highest rates of entrepreneurship among women were reported in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region at 36.6 percent, suggesting a clear trend in business creation by younger women in countries like the United Arabs Emirates, Saudi Arabia and the USA points out Qatar. The analysis also showed that the region could have an economic impact of $ 600 billion annually if gender inequality for entrepreneurs is eliminated. or $ 2.7 trillion by 2025.
Lack of financial support
Ashish Panjabi, president of the Dubai Chapter of TiE Women, a global initiative to promote and support women-run businesses, said women struggle to survive in the business environment regardless of the myriad benefits that go well beyond just increasing global GDP . given the challenges they face.
“The biggest hurdle they face is limited funding,” he said. “Women-run companies are among the leaders that lack financial support. It is also common for women to be denied credit because of gender and cultural biases. The second challenge we notice is that fear of the known and the unknown is a huge problem for women. They fear failure, especially when people around them have been skeptical of their business skills. This fear is toxic and dangerous because women may operate from a place of fear rather than trust.
“We are all aware of the gender pay gap and the smaller gender investment gap,” he added.
BCG says women entrepreneurs get significantly less – a disparity averaging more than $ 1 million – than men when they present their early-stage equity ideas to investors.
But the fact is, Panjabi said, companies founded by women end up generating higher revenues – more than twice as much per dollar invested – than founded by men, making women-owned companies better investments for financiers.
In addition, increasing evidence shows that organizations with a higher percentage of women in leadership positions outperform male-dominated companies. However, it has been found that legal and social barriers to women’s access to jobs cost the Mena region over $ 575 billion. According to a survey by PwC, only 56 percent of women feel treated the same way as men when it comes to promotions – 55 percent in KSA and Egypt and 66 percent in the UAE.
“As women find ways to turn hurdles into opportunities, some hurdles remain, such as the stereotyping of women in finance-related businesses and views on work-life balance,” said Shameema Parveen, CEO of Edutech and co-chair of TiE- Women in the Mena region. “Access to finance is a challenge for all entrepreneurs, but especially for women entrepreneurs, as financial institutions show no confidence. Governments and policies can help women entrepreneurs access specific grants and financial instruments for women-owned businesses to help them scale successfully.
The UAE are taking action
The United Arab Emirates government has already launched several initiatives to promote gender equality in business and help women entrepreneurs succeed in their businesses. In 2017, $ 50 million was committed to the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative fund, closing 64 percent of the UAE’s entire gender gap. In addition, gender equality is one of the United Arab Emirates government’s stated goals for sustainable development, making it one of the top 25 world leaders for gender equality by 2021.
“Women make up 70 percent of college graduates in the UAE and 44 percent of the total workforce,” said Justina Eitzinger, COO of Images RetailME. ‘The socio-economic conditions create the perfect environment for women to be entrepreneurial and we have seen a number of women emerge in the business and corporate world. Women are now actively participating in the start-up movement to transform and disrupt various industries by developing innovative start-ups, some of which we highlight today. Women are key to the UAE’s economic future. With the rise in support groups for women entrepreneurs and the increase in funding for new businesses, there have never been better entrepreneurial opportunities for women to start a business in the UAE than now.
Similarly, Punjabi noted that the UAE business environment is committed to equality in business and the UAE government is implementing initiatives to empower women entrepreneurs. Some of these initiatives include the rise of Women Entrepreneur Support Groups, the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, support through partnering with private companies, and business setup packages just for women. Also, most universities in the UAE have partnered with incubators to promote entrepreneurship. The role they can play, however, is to ensure that more women are involved in running these incubators or on investment committees as this immediately helps level the playing field.
“In the past few years, we have seen a big shift in the United Arab Emirates to diversify the economy and reduce reliance on the oil and gas industry,” said Anastasiya Golovatenko, business consultant and startup mentor. ‘The government, with its ambitious Vision 2021, aims to increase entrepreneurship in the region and ensure that the UAE remains a global economic player long after the oil shortage in the region. Because of its positive efforts in this area, the nation is now recognized worldwide as a hub for innovation and the latest developments.
In Dubai, start-ups and SMEs account for 47 percent of the emirate’s GDP. According to the Department of Commerce, around half of the small and medium-sized business sector in the UAE is run by women. In addition, 48 percent of women entrepreneurs are the sole owners of their businesses.
“The empowerment of women in the country is evident as they make up a substantial part of the country’s workforce and are nothing short of a portrait of success,” said Golovatenko. “Due to various obstacles, women entrepreneurs usually run smaller companies, earn less than their male colleagues and are more likely to give up opportunities. In order to better meet the needs of women, we believe it is important to support and support them with tips and step-by-step instructions so that women entrepreneurs can transform their business concepts into companies with high potential.
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