New generation of female entrepreneurs set to drive economic activity in UAE

The UAE is a fertile land, brimming with new business setup opportunities for entrepreneurs. Now, it’s focusing on empowering women entrepreneurs to promote equality, diversity, and inclusivity in business.


A Staff Reporter

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Published: Sun 11 Dec 2022, 2:15 PM

Women entrepreneurship in the UAE will gain further momentum and contribute a significant boost to gross domestic product (GDP) as more female investors have shown interest in setting up their business in the country, according to a business consultancy.

Business Link, a leading business consultancy with operations in the UAE and KSA, said 47.5 per cent of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the emirate are owned by women and they make up 20 per cent of the workforce. Women contribute about 20 per cent to the country’s GDP annually and this share may increase to 25 per cent in coming years, it said.

Referring to latest data from LinkedIn, the business consultancy said that female entrepreneurship in the UAE surged by 68 per cent as the pandemic advanced.

“Since post-pandemic, we have observed more women, both local and foreigners coming forward to establish their own business setup in Dubai, specifically. The UAE’s economy is a perfect landscape for women to launch their businesses due to the increasing government support and incentives, especially for SMEs,” Hatem El Safty, CEO of Business Link, said.

“I truly believe investing in women-led businesses is an excellent investment for any country to progress as women, who are given financial independence, investment in families and communities, which boosts economic growth and helps societies become more healthy,” El Safty added.

GCC leads women entrepreneurship

The GCC's governments have been putting a lot of effort into improving the climate for female entrepreneurs. Currently, the UAE and KSA are the GCC leaders in terms of encouraging and promoting women's entrepreneurship and the benefits it will bring to the economy and society.

Women-focused measures have also been incorporated into Kuwait, Oman, and Bahrain's long-term development goals as the governments across the region are very active to build a strong ecosystem for female entrepreneurs.

The Council on Foreign Relations report said GCC could add as much as $812 billion to their GDP in next three years by achieving a gender parity in the region while newswire Bloomberg forecasts that global economy could grow by $20 trillion by 2050 as more women enter the workforce.

“Women empowerment is order of the day to increase their participation in economic activity. Female entrepreneurs will have a higher percentage in tech-based businesses in Gulf region,” El Safty said.

Untapped market

Women in the Mena area have the potential to drastically alter the job market because they significantly increase the talent pool in the majority of these countries, which is still mostly untapped. According to UNESCO, they surpass men in universities and comprise 57% of all STEM students.

Faisal Qureshi, chief marketing officer at Business Link, said that global events like GITEX also give a platform for women entrepreneurs to present their ideas to international audiences and receive the funding they deserve.

“Women in the GCC are reportedly coming up with innovative methods for overcoming barriers that prohibit them from launching their own businesses or entering the workforce. Recent visa reforms and government initiatives have created a level playing ground for female entrepreneurs and they should take an advantage of conducive environment,” he said.


Rising women empowerment in the UAE

• 47.5% of SMEs are owned by women

• 20% contribution to the UAE GDP

• Women make up 20% of the workforce

• 68% upsurge in women-owned businesses


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