ABU DHABI, The US Embassy in Abu Dhabi and startAD, the Abu Dhabi-based global accelerator powered by Tamkeen and anchored at NYU Abu Dhabi, hosted an online event on International Women’s Day to mark the completion of the first-ever UAE edition of the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) programme.

The six-month intensive programme equipped UAE-based female entrepreneurs whose businesses have been impacted by the pandemic with the training, connections, and mentorship to empower them to fulfill their economic potential. Ten female-owned businesses from three emirates and operating across six sectors ranging from retail and construction to healthcare services were selected from over 100 applicants.

As a result of the programme each participating business demonstrated significant growth, with two securing commercial agreements with large Abu Dhabi-based corporations and others expanding their operations in markets such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Collectively, the businesses secured over ten new clients, earned four new industry certifications, and adopted digital business models as a response to the new market conditions.

“The US recognises the value of women leaders and entrepreneurs,” said Alison Dilworth, Acting Deputy Chief of Mission and Economic Counselor at the US Embassy in Abu Dhabi. “The US-UAE partnership supports the UAE’s goal to expand local workforce capacity, while also creating links between entrepreneurs that will further strengthen the US-UAE economic partnership. We realise the challenges women face when starting their own business, and we know that when women are empowered economically, they invest in their families and communities, spur economic growth, and create more stable societies. Innovative new business models will probably lead to sales and employment growth as a route to rebound from the COVID-19 recession.”

Hana Barakat, Associate Director of startAD, said: “Small businesses were hit hard by the pandemic across the globe and the UAE is no exception. For the UAE economy, where SMEs contribute over 85 percent to the country’s GDP, and with women globally evolving into a fast-growing segment of small business owners, it is imperative that we provide the necessary support to enable promising female-owned businesses to recover and flourish.”

By joining forces with the US Embassy on AWE UAE, we will continue to advance women entrepreneurs fostering economic growth, innovation, and job creation and are pleased to announce the second edition of AWE UAE that will take place later this year,” Barakat added.

 

Source: Emirates News Agency