More and more women are being encouraged to start their own businesses in Dubai, from restaurants to consultancies and retail stores.
One of the key factors has been the infrastructure accessible to female entrepreneurs and other stakeholders in Dubai’s start-up ecosystem. This includes incentives such as additional funding and the encouragement of business licensing schemes.
For two years, Coralie François-Dolidon dreamed of starting her own fashion business while working as a buyer in Dubai. I felt there was room and a market for small independent fashion brands. After carefully researching the market, he found that starting a business was easier than he could imagine.
Five years later, she owns five stores in the city. Coralie, founder of Maison Clad, a multi-brand company that sells clothing and fashion accessories, told Euronews that the adventure was a challenge, but it was worth it.
“Today I’m like a salesperson, an accountant, a buyer and, of course, a director of the marketing department. Now I can develop a website. It’s been an interesting five-year journey.”
PureBorn is a company that markets organic and sustainable nappies, founded in Dubai, in 2017, by Hannah Curran. Today, the company has expanded to 14 countries.
Hannah says being a female entrepreneur is not an easy task and not for the faint-hearted, but in Dubai there is support, in the form of male and female mentors, as well as support and networking groups. , reserved for women.
Thus, he adds that the aspect of obtaining funds continues to be a challenge and is a global issue.
“I think 2% of all venture capital money goes to companies founded by women around the world, which is amazing. And the numbers don’t lie. So I think when it comes to ‘Get funds, women’s entrepreneurship needs a big boost. But overall, in Dubai, we have a great network of support and mentorship.’
According to data analysts at MAGNiTT, 11% of venture capital funding in 2021 in the UAE went to women entrepreneurs, compared to an international average of just 3%. Additionally, 13% of the funds went to mixed female-male joint ventures, and more than three-quarters (about 76%) went to all-male entrepreneurs.
Reem Abou Samra is the founder of LaLoge Beauty Lounge, with locations at the Address and Mandarin Oriental hotels. She opened the sixth branch of her hair and beauty center during the pandemic, a time when many businesses were forced to cease operations and close their doors.
Reem Abou Samra points out that while many women do well, they could do better by supporting each other.
“I think we could do better if we had more organization for women entrepreneurs, it would have a positive impact. Every business is very difficult. But at the same time, it brings you a lot of happiness when you see that you are successful. “
It’s not just business women who venture to Dubai. Dr. Saeeda Jaffar is Senior Vice President and Group Director for Visa in the so-called Gulf Cooperation Council region. An Emirati national with more than 20 years’ experience in the region, he told Euronews that “there are few places in the world that are so welcoming and so openly inclusive.”
“The presence of women in the labor force is not only something that is promoted, but it is something that is highly expected.”
Thus, she offers some tips for succeeding in sectors traditionally dominated by men.
“Focus on what you love and the rest comes. And if you do it that way, I think it matters a lot less whether it’s a traditionally male-dominated world or not. That said, I think it always helps to have role models.”, and it’s always helpful to have other people around you who may have been in a similar situation and seen similar things. I think that at Visa, we have worked a lot on this”, concludes Dr Saeeda Jaffar.