Leading the way in assisting offshore start-ups and new FDI business ventures, Dubai based Europe Emirates Group have witnessed a sea-change in female entrepreneurship over recent years.
Outdated cultural stereotypes lag way behind the reality – today, female entrepreneurs across the Middle East are in fact outperforming their counterparts in other parts of the world. For example, 33% of female-run businesses in the UAE generate revenues in excess of USD $100,000, compared to just 13% in the USA.
According to Dr Amina Al Rustamani, Group Chief Executive Officer of TECOM Group, the key to this power shift is a matter of mindset and outlook – less on the part of the “establishment”, but more in the minds of the female entrepreneurs who are blazing a trail for gender balance in the MENA region:
“I used to be the only female in the room. The challenges we often hear about, actually don’t have anything to do with the sector or the culture, but it is all about believing in yourself and putting your efforts in to really move forward.”
Self belief and an outlook to match
It’s a common theme amongst many of the female business owners Europe Emirates Group have helped set up new businesses over the last twelve months. With an average of almost six years business experience, today’s Middle Eastern female entrepreneur is a highly skilled individual with self belief and an outlook to match – as evidenced by the rising numbers of female sole business owners in the region… some 40% in Lebanon and as many as 60% in Bahrain.
In the UAE, 8 out of 10 female entrepreneurs are planning to expand their operations, a bullish mood borne out by three other businesswomen who have been making waves with significant success stories of late, highlighted in a recent study by PayFort.
Dreaming big, working hard
Noha Al Yousef co-founded the Ithraa Consulting Group (ICG), of which she is CEO, in 2012. Identifying a need in the market, ICG creates and promotes initiatives in the private and public sectors to support youth in choosing their academic majors and professions. The group’s significant successes and growth bear testimony to Noha’s inspirational assertion that “If you dream big and work hard, you will find your way to success… when there is a will, there is a way.”
Echoing Noha AL Yousef and Dr. Al Rustamani, Dunia Othman – co-founder and CMO of mrUsta, an online marketplace for local quality tradespeople – has the following words of advice for budding female entrepreneurs: “Don’t let anyone make you feel that being a female is a disadvantage in the business world. An entrepreneur is as good as their skills and abilities; gender has nothing to do with it.”
Dedicated support from Europe Emirates Group
These sentiments are echoed by the many start-ups assisted by Europe Emirates Group over recent years. Just as female entrepreneurs’ success is down to their personal attributes, Europe Emirates Group have found that many businesswomen need help and support in exactly the same areas as their male counterparts. “Entrepreneurship is a marathon – it is long, hard and requires a lot of preparation and discipline. Perseverance is key of you want to make it to the finish line.” – the words of Loulou Khazen Baz, founder and CEO of freelance talent marketplace Nabbesh, encapsulate this challenge. However, with the right mindset – and the right support, which Europe Emirates Group’s team of dedicated business consultants can offer in abundance – today’s female entrepreneur in the Middle East is empowered to achieve success without limits.