By Sara Al Madani
There is more work to be done to improve financial inclusion for women.
The UAE’s entrepreneurial ecosystem has been fortunate enough to have the support of leaders who continue to make strides, investing in human resources, technology, and research, along with the ability to adapt to a growing digital economy. Entrepreneurs across the UAE have been seeing steady growth for the last few years, with new 2020 plans recently announced, to further support and promote the country’s SME sector.
Additionally, the government’s prominent efforts to highlight the key roles women play in our society, is also enabling female entrepreneurs and businesswomen, with the skillset required to turn their business into profitable enterprises. However, with these efforts has risen a misconception: that women’s equality is a recent phenomenon. The fact is our women have been encouraged since the nation’s founding. As His Highness Sheikh Zayed, said, “Islam affords women their rightful status, and encourages them to work in all sectors, as long as they are afforded appropriate respect”.
As more and more women venture into entrepreneurship, here are some 2020 predictions:
The greatest challenge that continues to plague women-led start-ups is capital. The continued fluctuations in the market and instability in economic growth are making lenders even more hesitant. However, the year 2020 is predicted to pivot in a different direction.
There are several successful women-led businesses that investors can point to as reasons why investing in makes good financial sense. Moreover, women VC’s have entered the market and investment banks are also taking steps to close the funding gap for women.
Various start-ups designed to tackle sustainability are launching in the market and we've seen women entrepreneurs paving the path.
Consumer are beginning to realize the importance of sustainability and in 2020, it is predicted to boom, particularly in industries like fashion and textiles where female entrepreneurs will enable like-minded women to join the cause and drive sustainable material innovation.
Innovative financial technologies will continue to transform the financial services landscape and play a vital role in making financial products more accessible to the average consumer.
Despite fintech’s successes, a gap remains for women – thus, there is more work to be done to improve financial inclusion.
As gender equality is increasingly becoming the catchphrase, gradually more women are integrating AI in their businesses. The artificial-intelligence industry will continue to grow and have a significant impact in the coming years.
Women are starting to join forces with one another. Several networking events, social groups, conferences and meet-ups involving female entrepreneurs have been taking place, thus creating more opportunities and connections.
Women have grown in strength and confidence – and are all set to build great business models. With continued collaborative efforts, there is no doubt that the UAE will reach its 2021 goal of becoming an innovation- and knowledge-based economy.