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Thu 28 Nov 2019 02:14 PM

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UAE, Saudi female entrepreneurs more confident over funding

HSBC Private Banking research reveals 67% of female business owners in Gulf feel confident when raising funds, ahead of global average

UAE, Saudi female entrepreneurs more confident over funding

HSBC Private Banking’s She’s the Business report revealed that 67 percent of female business owners surveyed in the UAE and Saudi Arabia feel confident when raising funds. (Photo for illustrative purposes only)

Female entrepreneurs in the UAE and Saudi Arabia are more confident about raising capital for their businesses than their global peers, according to new research from HSBC Private Banking.

HSBC Private Banking’s She’s the Business report revealed that 67 percent of female business owners surveyed in the UAE and Saudi Arabia feel confident when raising funds, ahead of the global average of 60 percent.

When looking at investors to pitch to, female entrepreneurs in the UAE and Saudi Arabia said they are drawn to those who are empathetic and have a similar experience to themselves (68 percent), who are transparent and clear about their investment criteria (60 percent) and who have a positive reputation (57 percent).

According to the research, women in the UAE and Saudi Arabia are also likely to have invested slightly more of their own money ($138,000) in their businesses than their male counterparts ($132,000), with female entrepreneurs slightly less likely to be rejected for capital than their male counterparts - 49 percent of female entrepreneurs were rejected compared to 62 percent of male entrepreneurs.

HSBC said women in the region take 9.8 months on average to raise capital, while women in other global regions take 8.4 months.

When going through the pitch process, almost a third of female entrepreneurs pitch to panels of all or mostly men (32 percent) and only 8 percent pitch to mostly or all-women panels.

A third of female entrepreneurs (31 percent) in the UAE and Saudi Arabia said they experience gender bias when securing capital, close to the global average of 35 percent. The particular manifestations of gender bias were around the level of questioning around risk in their business and financial plan (44 percent) and lack of questioning around potential gains or upsides in their business plan (31 percent). For male entrepreneurs, the figures were lower, at 25 percent and 8 percent respectively.

The research, conducted among more than 1,200 entrepreneurs in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the US, will help inform HSBC Private Banking’s work to overcome the barriers facing female entrepreneurs, said Sobhi Tabbara, global market head, MENA, HSBC Private Banking.

“This report highlights the challenges female entrepreneurs face in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Working in a very competitive market and having to contend with gender bias concerns is a tough environment to evolve in. However, I am pleased to see some good headway in the region, with high levels of confidence and strong success rates when raising capital. Nonetheless, we still need to do more to overcome concerns of bias and encourage more diversity among the investor community.”