ABU DHABI, 23 December – Women in the UAE are increasingly playing a major role in driving the local economy, with the number of female entrepreneurs more than doubling in about a decade.
As of 2021, around 25,000 Emirati women own 50,000 trade licences valued at 60 billion UAE dirhams ($16.3 billion).
The number of female entrepreneurs has more than doubled from just 11,000 in 2020 and jumped by more than 8% compared to 2019. The value of women-owned businesses also expanded significantly from 12 billion UAE dirhams in 2020.
These are some of the data highlighted in a report published by NAMA Women Advancement in partnership with The Economic Empowerment Section of the UN Women.
The report tackles the realities and prospects of Emirati women’s contributions to the UAE’s “comprehensive development, enhancing the sustainability of economic sectors and diversifying sources of national income”.
Among the businesses run by Emirati women, 77% are led by those under the age of 40, according to a survey that was conducted by NAMA as part of the report.
The survey included 1,000 female business owners and among those polled, 48.8% are CEOs and 61.4% are sole proprietors. This, NAMA said, indicates that women are “making significant contributions to the GDP in emerging economic sectors.”
A small percentage of female entrepreneurs (13%) are co-owners with more than 51% of shares, while 25% are business leaders with less than 51% of shares.
Around 72% of the women-owned businesses are micro-enterprises, 24% are small enterprises and 3% are medium enterprises.
Need for training
According to the survey, female entrepreneurs are confident in their growth plans, although they also highlighted the importance of securing financing for their business.
They also stressed the importance of engaging women in organisations that provide comprehensive support for entrepreneurs through networking, training and advisory services.
The women who participated in the survey also expressed the need for training and capacity-building in business skills, including commerce and digital marketing skills, financial accounting and management tools, as well as acquiring knowledge on making proposals in response to bids and tenders. — Zawya