The call for applications launched in November led to the selection and sponsorship of 136 women entrepreneurs and female executives from the MENA region looking to expand their network and grow their business within the region.
3 February 2022. Today, the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), in partnership with the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), have joined forces with Business Club Africa, to create and launch the first MENA Women Business Club. The 136 selected women entrepreneurs met with other members, exchanged views and attended the first masterclass on digital marketing.
Women entrepreneurs in the MENA region who own or manage businesses barely reaches 5%, compared to the global average of 23-26%. This low rate of participation can be explained to a great extent by the difficulties in accessing business support services and networks, by the limited access to productive resources– particularly finance, as well as by the lack of skills and training opportunities. The MENA Women Business Club intends to create better networking opportunities to face those issues and support women-led businesses to scale-up in the region.
As a regional chapter of Business Club Africa – a private network of 6000+ senior-level executives operating across all industries in and outside Africa – new members will have access to an extensive ecosystem of entrepreneurs, lawyers, consultants, executives, and investors in sectors as varied as energy, agriculture, mining, tech, construction, finance, retail & distribution. This will enable the Club members to network and grow their business. The MENA Women Business Club is therefore an important opportunity to intensify Euro-Mediterranean business linkages and foster investment opportunities, including with the diaspora.
This event is the first of a series of activities that will last during 2022. The members of the club will also have access to a series of external events such as the 7th EU-Africa Business Forum (EABF) in February 2022, focused on connecting the Mediterranean and African value chains, and the UfM Women Business Forum in June 2022, focused on access to finance.