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New initiative promotes entrepreneurship for women in UAE

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Dubai Business Women Council and MasterCard launch Ro’Ya support for females to run SMEs

January 28, 2014 6:23 by

The Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC) and MasterCard recently launched Ro’Ya, which means ‘Vision’ in Arabic, in an initiative to inspire entrepreneurship among women in the UAE. The DBWC and MasterCard collaboration aims to provide a coaching and mentorship programme for women to establish businesses of their own, which will motivate them and give them more visibility in the economic sector.

“Women in the UAE are playing an increasingly important role in driving the economy, and we remain committed to helping them realise their business vision,” says Michael Miebach, president of MasterCard in the Middle East region and Africa. With the success and prominence of SMEs in the region, the DBWC and MasterCard place an importance on the encouragement of entrepreneurs, especially women, to take part in the economic progress.

While 95 per cent of businesses in the UAE are SMEs, only 2.5 per cent of them are owned by women, according to the Carnegie Endowment Centre. This places the Ro’Ya initiative at an imperative level, especially given the fact that 37 per cent of global enterprises are owned by women. Hence, Ro’Ya will train women entrepreneurs at success in running SMEs and provide them with the knowledge and skills they need to excel. “We aim to encourage leadership and advocate responsible action, while identifying key issues, offering information and pooling our resources to ensure the wellbeing of women as entrepreneurs and members of the workforce,” says Raja Easa Al Gurg, president of DBWC. “Our vision is for Ro’Ya to become a superior networking platform, that will improve opportunities through the exchange of knowledge and expertise, serving as a catalyst for positive action through collective community advocacy.”

Through Ro’Ya, a competition has also been launched for women entrepreneurs to come up with a business proposal that will highlight new concepts and developments. The submissions will be put forth onto a panel of judges from the DBWC and MasterCard, who will determine which ideas are unique and strong enough to carry out as actual businesses. The top three women entrepreneurs will receive AED50,000, AED30,000, and AED20,000 in cash prizes as incentives to use towards their start-up companies.

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