Women’s Entrepreneurship Day – 19th of November
- The MENA Women Business Club will offer hundreds of women-owned and women-led businesses from across the MENA region the opportunity to grow their business, expand their network and develop new competencies through dedicated mentoring and networking programmes.
- To join the initiative, MENA Women entrepreneurs and businesswomen are called to submit their candidatures HERE.
- This initiative is launched by UNIDO and the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) in partnership with Business Club Africa.
17 November 2021. In order to stimulate the creation of business networks for women entrepreneurs and women-led businesses in the region, the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), in partnership with the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) has joined forces with Business Club Africa, a network with a reach of 6000+ executives across the African continent and around the world, to create and launch the MENA Women Business Club.
As a regional chapter of Business Club Africa – a private network of 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 that 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 and south-south business linkages and foster investment opportunities including with the diaspora.
John Paul Grech, Deputy Secretary General of the UfM, said: “With this partnership, the UfM pledges to support Women in the MENA region in expanding their business and recovering from the impact of the pandemic. Women with the tenacity and foresight to act as leaders in business development are an asset to society. A gender barrier free business eco-system in the Euro-Mediterranean region is an inevitable next step in our development.”
Bashir Conde, UNIDO Programme Manager, stated: “By joining the club, women entrepreneurs benefit from engaging with industry leaders, potential clients, new partners, mentors and more based on their industry and market, with the support of the Club’s tailored matchmaking service. As members, entrepreneurs can leverage the extensive network of the Club to promote their products in new marketplaces, find new business opportunities and participate in industry gatherings such as curated speed networking events”
Recent studies conducted by UNIDO within the framework of its flagship program “Promoting Women’s Empowerment for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development in the MENA region_(PWEII)”, have confirmed that, alongside capital, networks have emerged as the most important driver for women’s entrepreneurial success. The MENA region continues to register one of the weakest female labour force participation rates globally, together with a women’s unemployment rate that averages about 20%, more than twice as high as men’s. In addition, relative to the rest of the world, the percentage of 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 difficulties in accessing business support services and networks, by the limited access to productive resources– particularly finance, the lack of skills and training opportunities (UNIDO, 2017).
As the MENA region continues to face the economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis, UNIDO and UfM are focusing on providing sustainable responses to the difficulties faced by women entrepreneurs to ensure the continuity, recovery and transformation of their productive activities in a world where access to new contacts, clients and markets is increasingly digital.
The MENA Business Club is piloted by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) in partnership with Business Club Africa and the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) within the framework of the programme “Promoting Women Empowerment for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development in the MENA Region – Phase II” (PWE II).