A new business directory listing female-founded businesses in the UAE has been launched to offer more exposure to women-run companies.
The platform, created by Female Fusion, a professional community for female entrepreneurs, makes it easy for potential customers to discover verified and legal businesses in the UAE and support their growth, the company said on Tuesday.
“Irrespective of the positive outcomes women-owned businesses bring to the country’s economy, [they] are still not getting an equal share of contracts and business,” Jen Blandos, chief executive of Female Fusion, said.
“This verified business directory will help women-owned businesses find support among like-minded women as well as new clients to expand, evolve and achieve their dreams.
“Organisations that are committed to supporting female-founded businesses can find a variety of service providers, such as auditors, lawyers, architects, photographers and more on the directory.”
Start-ups founded by women in the Middle East and North Africa raised $34.6 million in 2021, only 1.2 per cent of the region’s total venture capital funding, according to data from Wamda. All-male founders, meanwhile, raised $2.6 billion across 526 deals or 91.5 per cent of the total last year, the data showed.
It will take 135.6 years to close the gender gap worldwide if the current trajectory in the growth of female entrepreneurs continues, according to the Global Gender Gap Report 2021.
The UAE ranked among the top five “most improved” countries for making progress on gender parity last year, the report found.
Half of all small and medium enterprises in the UAE are women-owned, while 48 per cent of women business owners are also the sole owners of their companies, according to the Ministry of Economy.
The Female Fusion directory will list businesses where female founders hold a share of 51 per cent or more, as well as companies that are led by women, it said. The community currently has more than 20,000 members.
“Small businesses can find it hard to get reach and awareness,” Ms Blandos said. “The business directory allows members to showcase their expertise on a verified platform and their potential customers know that the business they are engaging with is licensed.”
The business directory lists companies in more than 1,500 categories, ranging from pet services and personal coaching to legal entities and more.
It offers two types of listings — premium and basic. Paid members of Female Fusion are eligible for a premium listing in the directory at no extra cost. For non-members, a premium listing costs Dh158 ($43) per month or Dh1,575 per year.
The premium listing allows businesses to highlight their specialities through channels such as video, social media and product photos, Female Fusion said.
The basic listing is free except for a Dh100 annual fee for trade licence verification.
Business owners must submit their trade licences annually to Female Fusion to initiate the verification process and to confirm that they are licensed, the company said.