The world has undergone major political social and economic changes and improvements over the last decades, which has led to a significant expansion of entrepreneurship. No one can deny the role of women in boosting and recovering the Middle East economy. Such industries like Education, Health and Wellness, Beauty, and Fashion now have increased demand for women’s experiences, perspectives, and points of view. So, what is the turning point that stimulated women's entrepreneurship across the Middle East?
The existing gender gap is slightly narrowing with the growing recognition of women entrepreneurs’ contribution to national development and a better understanding of their equal status in the region. Many representatives of government ministries, and business and national associations, as well as members of civil society and representatives from both the public and private sectors, have already shared best practices and experiences with a view to building a large network of women-led businesses in the region by improving the business environment for women entrepreneurs and enhancing the role of women business associations in delivering quality services at national and regional levels.
The push toward encouraging women's entrepreneurship has created many programs that provide more opportunities for women, especially graduates and students to start entrepreneurial projects. This governmental support urges for making this change and breaking from these traps and it has an important role in waking the entrepreneurship spirit in many women in the Middle East. On the other hand, we can find the rise of the women empowerment movement and the desire for independence and a fulfilling carrier path for many women.
Social media and eCommerce have allowed women in the Middle East to explore more carrier paths from home. It has enabled them to reach a wider consumer base online. The social media network has enabled female entrepreneurs to connect with other entrepreneurs and VCs to turn their ideas into digital startups.
Like women consumers, female entrepreneurs have also shown more acceptance of e-transactions. A Mastercard survey
found that an overwhelming majority of the Middle East’s businesswomen have a digital presence.
Women SME Leaders Awards 2022
The inaugural Women SME Leaders Awards
, a virtual event staged by Mastercard and Entrepreneur Middle East on March 29, 2022, celebrated some of the region's most enterprising women-owned and run SMEs across the Middle East and Africa region.
Winners from the UAE were:
- The Designer: Maz (Mariam) Hakim, the Founder of fashion house ESPAND
- The Logistician: Siddhi Joshi, CEO of Emovers
- The F&B Leader: Erika Doyle, Founder & MD of the alcohol-free drinks company, Drink Dry
- The Real Estate Leader: Helen Chen, Co-Founder and CEO of home search company, Nomad Homes
- The Health Custodian: Sophie Smith, Founder & CEO of women’s health company, Nabta Health
- The Hotelier: Judit Toth, General Manager of the Ink Hotel
- The Investor: Maryam Fouladirad, CEO of technology startup funding platform, Fundii
- The Fashion and Beauty Leader: Salama Mohamed, Founder of the cosmetics company, Peacefull
- The Visionary: Jennifer Sault, Founder & MD of the preloved clothing company, Thrift for Good
- Home-based Business of the Year: Maz (Mariam) Hakim, Founder of the sustainable clothing company, ESPAND by Maz
Where to start?
If you are a woman in the Middle East who has a great desire to start a business, it is highly suggested to do it right away! Start taking the first steps (validate your idea, write and prepare the business plan, etc.) target a local untapped market gap and build your network. Finally, find your supporters, and consult with experts to help you move forward quicker.
Palladium Group can assist you throughout all steps of business incorporation and bank accounts opening, making it much easier and less time-consuming.