Dubai SME, the agency of Dubai Economy mandated to develop the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector, and female angel investor and entrepreneur network WOMENA have joined forces to launch the ‘Future Founders and Future Funders Programme.’
The initiative targets Emirati women at the university-level before they commit to their future careers. The aim of the programme is to develop a strong culture of Emirati women as investors and entrepreneurs of the future.
The programme launched at the Women’s College of Zayed University, Dubai, specifically targeting young women considering finance or entrepreneurship careers.
The course programme ran for one month, with two separate themes: ‘Future Founders,’ which focused on enabling students to create a viable business; and ‘Future Funders,’ which introduced finance students to the concept of venture investing, and equipped them with the skills needed to invest in start-ups or work with a VC firm.
At the end of the 4-week programme, a final demo day was held, during which time the ‘Future Founder’ students pitched their business ideas to the ‘Future Funder’ graduates, who used the skills they had learned to evaluate the businesses from an investor’s perspective. Winners among both groups were selected from a panel of judges from Dubai SME.
The winners of the pitch competition received support from Dubai SME that will help them to launch their businesses, including free membership at the Hamdan Innovation Incubator, enrollment in the Entrepreneurship Diploma programme, and access to other Dubai SME services.
First place winner Alia Al Ali pitched her idea for a company 3zeema that will revolutionise traditional event planning for Emiratis. High-performing ‘Future Funder’ students were offered internships in angel groups and investment funds to enable them to begin to build their careers in venture finance.
Elissa Freiha, Founder of WOMENA commented, “WOMENA is dedicated to empowering women in the Middle East, from investing in female entrepreneurs, to helping the investors themselves. We also understand the importance of sparking excitement and curiosity from a much earlier stage in their professional development.
"In Zayed University students, we see the future of entrepreneurship, and this future is female! We look forward to continuing to work with these young women as they become successful investors and entrepreneurs.”
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