Increased presence of funds led by women will enhance female entrepreneurship in the UAE.

The UAE is witnessing a rise in female entrepreneurship, and industry experts believe that the growth of women-led venture funds will further amplify this trend.

The UAE is witnessing a rise in female entrepreneurship, and industry experts believe that the growth of women-led venture funds will further amplify this trend. During an online panel discussion on Monday, experts emphasized the importance of providing women with more networking opportunities to advance their careers and urged the private sector to bolster female participation at the boardroom level.

Zahra El Zayat, Chief Commercial Officer at evision, the media and entertainment arm of e& life, highlighted the progress made in recent years in creating opportunities for women. She noted that women now have a strong presence and voice in boardrooms, investment committees, and funding rounds.

E& recently launched a $250 million venture capital fund through its investment unit, e& capital, to support the technology start-up ecosystem. Ms. El Zayat emphasized that diversity and inclusion, particularly with regard to women, are crucial factors considered by e& capital when investing in start-ups.

However, Ms. El Zayat also acknowledged the existence of unconscious biases in the industry. She pointed out the lack of female-led venture capital firms and the limited number of women seeking funding for their start-ups. This can be attributed, in part, to the challenges faced by women in accessing the right networking opportunities and connecting with the right people for business or funding purposes.

The online panel, organized by the Atlantic Council’s WIn Fellowship, focused on venture funding in the UAE and the role of women. The WIn Fellowship, a collaboration between the Atlantic Council’s empowerME Initiative and Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, is supported by the US Embassy in Abu Dhabi, with the Abu Dhabi Global Market serving as its UAE in-country partner.

UAE Ambassador to the US, Yousef Al Otaiba, stressed the need to create more women-only funds, incubators, and programs to support female entrepreneurs. He highlighted the importance of creating the right ecosystem, encouraging risk-taking, and providing incentives for women to enter the entrepreneurial space. Mr. Al Otaiba acknowledged that funding challenges are not exclusive to women and emphasized the significance of fostering an environment that motivates women to pursue entrepreneurship.

In May, Abdulla bin Touq, Minister of Economy, stated that women-led start-ups and businesses would play a vital role in driving the UAE’s economic growth. Over the past 15 years, the government has implemented laws and policies to enhance women’s contribution to society and sustainable economic development, demonstrating its commitment to women’s empowerment in various spheres.

As the UAE continues to prioritize gender equality and women’s empowerment, the growth of women-led venture funds and the creation of a supportive ecosystem are expected to provide a significant boost to female entrepreneurship. With concerted efforts from both the public and private sectors, women in the UAE will have greater opportunities to excel and contribute to the nation’s economic prosperity.

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