Female entrepreneurs in the UAE

It is impossible not to acknowledge and appreciate that the UAE is home to a wide and vibrant mix of professional, creative and entrepreneurial talent. Globally, the country is held in high regard for making people from all over the world and all walks of life feel at home.

Further strengthening the sentiment of positivity and security offered by the UAE is the announcement of the 10-year visa rule, which is likely to encourage more people, women, in particular, to commence and pursue business in the UAE. As an entrepreneur, I am keenly awaiting further clarification on the process and other features associated with the ruling.

According to a study titled ‘United Arab Emirates female entrepreneurs: Motivations and Frustrations’ by Hanifa Itani, Yusuf Sidani and Imad Baalbaki, “The UAE represents a region that is witnessing an increasing trend of women’s participation in business and entrepreneurial activities.” But, in fact, the UAE represents much more than that; it offers equal opportunities for men and women and the fact that this young nation’s Cabinet has more women in ministerial positions than some of the most developed countries in the world is nothing short of incredible and encouraging. The country certainly offers a promising business landscape for women entrepreneurs to explore and flourish in, and the ability to own 100 per cent of the business will further motivate them by addressing the safety and security concerns when starting a new business.

According to another study, globally women control about $20 trillion in annual consumer spending, and that figure could climb as high as $28 trillion by 2023. Women’s yearly earnings could reach $18 trillion from $13 trillion in total in the same period. In fact, in today’s fast changing business environment, no one can afford to ignore or underestimate the female consumers. A recent United Nation study has mentioned that advancing women’s equality could boost global gross domestic product (GDP) by $12 trillion by 2025.

Women in the UAE now have a favourable circumstance to set their dream projects in motion and fully own the sense of personal and professional satisfaction that comes with it. Life does give you more than a few opportunities. Why waste any that come your way? Women are increasingly gaining influence in the corporate world and the UAE is no exception. Thanks to a number of initiatives introduced by the visionary leadership of the UAE, the number of working women in the UAE is on the rise. Time is not far away when female entrepreneurs and workforce worldwide will surpass the number of working men globally. Women need to be investors of their future and an essential part of the workforce.

The findings in the Women’s Entrepreneurship 2016-17 Report by GEM indicate that “there is no longer a question regarding the role that women play in contributing to global economic development. The phenomenon of women’s entrepreneurship, both women business owners and their businesses, is viewed as a potential source of economic and social development.”

The report also highlights that “women entrepreneurs are more likely to contribute to their children’s education, health and nutrition compared to male entrepreneurs”. The new visa regulations will hopefully bring about a healthy influx of women entrepreneurs in the UAE which will, in turn, fuel the country’s vision to become one of the world’s top 25 countries for gender equality by 2021. However, this is not an easy challenge. Achieving equality in the workplace will require an expansion of decent work and employment opportunities, involving governments’ targeted efforts to promote women’s participation in economic life, and the voices of women themselves in framing solutions to overcome current barriers to women’s participation in every walk of life.

There are no rewards without risks. There is some amount of uncertainty in everything and aspiring women entrepreneurs have to find the will to overcome their fears and believe in their vision truly and passionately, regardless of what anyone else has to say about it.

In my professional and personal opinion, there couldn’t be a better time for female entrepreneurs to action their business plan in the UAE. So, ladies, aim high, go for it and give it your all. Those mental blocks may seem daunting now, but on the other side is a sense of accomplishment that is unlike anything else that you have experienced before.

The writer is founder and CEO of Stars Dome Realty and the article was posted on Khaleej Times. Views expressed are her own and do not reflect the newspaper’s policy.