Khalifa Fund ties up with Facebook to train female entrepreneurs in the UAE

The initiative aims to mentor 1,000 women in the first phase of the programme

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. 12 FEBRUARY 2020. Regional Director of Facebook, Mrs Derya Matras and Khalifa Fund acting CEO Mrs Mouza Al Nasri. The Khalifa Fund and Facebook Middle East memorandum signing ceremony at the Dubai Youth Hub for the #shemeansbusiness launch that will empower Emirati woman in the start-up sphere.. (Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National) Journalist: Alkesh Sharma. Section: Business.
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The Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, a government agency to support small and medium-sized businesses, joined hands with the social media giant Facebook to train women entrepreneurs in the UAE.

In the first stage of the programme, 1,000 “aspiring and early-stage female entrepreneurs” will be trained to build successful businesses in the Arab world's second-largest economy, the fund said in a statement on Wednesday.

"We are starting with 25 women today and aim to train at least 1,000 women in the first phase of this project," Mouza Al Nasri, acting chief executive of the KFED, told The National.

The participating women entrepreneurs will be trained in different areas including how to source the right ideas and in business development. Guidance on effective use of the social media to market products and services globally, is also part of the training programme.

This initiative is open for women of any nationality and background.

The KFED, along with a number of other government entities, provides support to Emirati entrepreneurs, by helping them with exemptions and priority in government procurement processes.

The fund also supports its beneficiaries with access to consultation services and advanced training programmes to help sharpen their business skills.

There is a huge scope for women in entrepreneurship, a space that is currently dominated by their male counterparts, said Ms Al Nasri.

About “70 per cent of the recent graduates in the Middle East are women. Nearly 44 per cent of the regional women are doing jobs and only 7.5 per cent of them are entrepreneurs .… while 85 per cent say [entrepreneurship] could be an exciting [career] path,” she said.

Women, Ms Al Nasri said, are keen to start their own business but are unable to do so for a variety of reasons.

"We will remove those hurdles through training,” she said.

KFED, which financially supports Emirati entrepreneurs, said its agreement with Facebook involves both training and consulting for female entrepreneurs.

In 2017, Facebook launched a campaign called #SheMeansBusiness that aimed to inspire women entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa, with ambitions to train 10,000 women in a year.