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Tue 16 Jan 2007 02:30 PM

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$270m ‘opportunity’ for Dubai women

Only the ladies are invited to join 'Forsa', the new investment fund that translates as ‘opportunity'.

An ‘exclusive’ AED1bn ($270m) investment fund that will only be open to female investors has been launched by Dubai World.

'Forsa' – which means ‘opportunity’ and has been “created by women for women” – has the three aims of attracting female investors, partnering with female entrepreneurs and developing woman business leaders.

The company has obtained a startup capital commitment of AED100m and hopes to build an AED1bn investment fund “guided by a world-class investment management team”.

According to press material, Forsa will create a series of funds in sectors including real estate, retail, education, health and technology. It is expected to form partnerships with the other Dubai World companies, which include DP World, Limitless and Istithmar.

Forsa plans to “focus on profitable and scalable prepackaged franchise ideas” to “cater to the new genre of active businesswomen”. Management expertise, support on business processes and equity partnerships will be offered by the company.

“By forming equity relationships with promising startups, Forsa will ensure optimal returns for investors as well as business owners. Our goal here is to provide every woman who has the capability, the skill set, the desire and the commitment to run and grow her own business the means to be able to do so,” said Shamsa Noor Ali Rashid, CEO of Forsa.

“Forsa has aligned itself with two of the best business schools - INSEAD in Europe, and Wharton School of Business in the US. We have also secured the commitment of 12 local and international corporations in supporting our vision to cultivate women leadership, giving birth to the Forsa Foundation. The Foundation will recruit and select talented, ambitious young women and enroll them in its systematic leadership development program,” added Ali Rashid.

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Chairman of Dubai World, said that “Forsa supports the values of Sheikh Mohammad in supporting women and enhancing their role in the nation's development.”

“The women-only exclusive investment fund will utilise the expertise and global perspective of world-class managers to ensure superior returns and successful long-term growth for all participants,” added bin Sulayem.

Women currently make up half of college students across the UAE, according to Forsa. Figures indicate that there are presently around 4,100 businesswomen based in Dubai, 3,000 in Abu Dhabi and a further 3,000 in Sharjah.

The news is interesting in light of the alliances that Nicola Horlick – one of Britain’s most powerful fund-managers – has attempted to forge in Dubai.

Horlick has focused on wealthy women as potential clients via her Bramdiva operation, which aims to capitalise on the increasing number of financially influential females in the Middle East.

Nicola Horlick, dubbed “superwoman” because of her glittering career in finance and hectic personal lifestyle, was in Dubai last November to seek an alliance with a Dubai bank to market sophisticated investment instruments.

It is believed she met with officials of the National Bank of Dubai, and, though no deal was formally signed at the time, there is the possibility of a wide-ranging partnership between Horlick’s Bramdean asset management operation and NBD.

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Vijay Naidu 13 years ago

Great visionaries have built the great empires. Forsa is one such vision of the great individual whose aspiration is to build the talent of the Emirati women at par with other growing young nations in this world. This scheme would galvanize the already existing skills and talent of the Emirati woman and help her outshine in this 'new world'.