Monday 3 August 2020

Officials at the event

$1bn global initiative to help women entrepreneurs

DUBAI, February 13, 2018

A global initiative that aims to raise more than $1 billion in financing to support women entrepreneurs was highlighted at the sixth World Government Summit in Dubai, UAE.

The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) aims to improve access to capital, provide technical assistance, and invest in projects and programmes that support women and women-led small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) globally.

A special Global Policy Platform panel discussion on the emergence of female entrepreneurs worldwide also highlighted ways to support and empower women to become entrepreneurs and contribute to the economy.

Under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the summit runs from February 11 to 13 at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai.

Conducted by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in collaboration with the World Bank and its sister organisation, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the ‘Women Entrepreneurs Rising Worldwide’ session introduced a new financing initiative launched by the World Bank Group, said a statement.

Reem bint Ebrahim Al Hashimi, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation, led the panel that also included Dr Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group; and Fadi Ghandour, executive chairman of Wamda Capital and founder of Aramex.

Al Hashimi said: “The achievements of Emirati women can serve as an inspiration for women in many developing countries.”

She went on to point out how the UAE was the first Arab country to close the gender gap in the labour force and thus, Emirati women today have equal opportunities to receive a quality tertiary education, and became valuable assets in the labour force.

Al Hashimi added: “This event at the World Government Summit showcases how supporting women entrepreneurs makes economies stronger and more resilient. The summit also serves as a platform to highlight the success stories of successful women entrepreneurs from around the world.”

Kim said: “We know for a fact that enabling women to work, and to own and run their own enterprises, isn't just good for business, it's necessary for economic growth.”

“We’re very pleased that the UAE and 13 other countries are supporting We-Fi, which will help women around the world overcome barriers to starting and running successful businesses,” he added.

Kim continued: “Only 30 percent of SMEs around the world are owned and run by women. Seventy percent of women-owned SMEs in developing countries are either shut out of financial institutions or can’t get the capital they need. This results in a nearly US$300 billion annual credit deficit for women-owned SMEs. It is nearly impossible to sustain a business without access to capital.”

Highlighting the need for seed funding for entrepreneurs, both male and female, Fadi Ghandour added: “Access to seed capital is incredibly important and very difficult to obtain. We need to foster a healthy discussion about how to support entrepreneurs at this early and high-risk stage. Most importantly, financial support has to be accompanied by mentorship and advice from seasoned advisors to enable young businesses to become truly successful.”

In the final part of the session, female entrepreneurs from the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region recounted their challenges and success stories on their entrepreneurship journey. – TradeArabia News Service

Tags: | entrepreneurs | global | Women | initiative |

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