Monday, July 20, 2015

In this country, women entrepreneurs are encouraged

A new project hopes to assist 100 UAE-based female entrepreneurs to build their capacity as businesswomen, and link them to financial services in order to help grow their businesses.

The project, conducted by the London-based Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and Planet Finance, kicked off last October, and aims to train 100 women in financial literacy and enterprise development. Additionally, 25 women will receive one-on-one business coaching, while 10 will receive business incubation support and another 10 will receive access to new markets.

"The Cherie Blair Foundation's vision is to empower women in emerging economies. After other activities in the Middle East, Lebanon and other countries, the foundation decided it's time to support women in the UAE," Dubai-based English language daily, Khaleej Times, quoted Hanane Benkhallouk, a consultant helping to organise the programme, as saying. "It's about supporting women entrepreneurs who are operating micro and small businesses," she added.

The women represent a wide variety of sectors, including healthcare, IT, food and beverages, fashion, media and e-commerce.
Benkhallouk also noted that the 100 women to be chosen for the pilot programme represent a cross-section of UAE society, coming from various nationalities and from all seven emirates.

"They represent the business population in the UAE, which comprises many, many nationalities,'' she said. "As long as women are residents and have a business in the UAE, they can qualify."

"We included also other emirates," she added, explaining, "There are many initiatives in big cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but we wanted to include the ladies in the other emirates. When we did our focus group, for example, we were really overwhelmed with the response from Sharjah and Ras al-Khaimah."

Cherie Blair, wife of former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, launched her foundation in 2008 to help provide women with skills, technology, networks and access to capital. –End-

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