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Women’s entrepreneurship key to sustainable development, say panellists at AIM Congress

Women’s entrepreneurship key to sustainable development, say panellists at AIM Congress
9 May 2024 08:32

SARA ALZAABI (ABU DHABI)

Women’s entrepreneurship is vital in driving meaningful change and achieving sustainable development, agreed speakers at a session during the second day of the 13th AIM (Annual Investment Meeting) Congress in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

During opening remarks at the session titled “Investing in Innovation and Enabling Women Entrepreneurs”, Basmah Al-Mayman, Middle East Regional Director at the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), highlighted the significance of women’s entrepreneurship in the Middle East’s tourism sector.

The region is undergoing significant transformation, with “women lie at the heart of this transformation that cuts across the economy, society and the environment. In this regard, we see unlimited potential for women in the region to drive meaningful change to benefit the region and the world,” stated Al-Mayman.

Also during the event, Peter Janech, UN Tourism Coordinator, announced the launch of the second edition of the UNWTO Women in Tech Startup Competition: Middle East, aiming to drive digitalisation and create an innovative entrepreneurship ecosystem in the tourism sector.

He said that many Middle Eastern countries place women’s empowerment at the heart of their economic development plans and sustainable development policies.

These governments recognise that women will play a leading role in achieving sustainable development in the region, he added.

Also on Wednesday, another session titled “Key insights into empowering women entrepreneurs in the tourism sector” heard of the economic and social significance of empowering women entrepreneurs.

Ahmed Daoud, Executive Director of Innovation at the Royal Commission for AlUla, emphasised the significance of community engagement, and generational involvement for female entrepreneurs in the travel and tourism sector, stressing the need for access to opportunities and capital.

Similarly, Deena Ragaban, Human Resources Director at Almosafer, suggested providing shadow coaching, training, and implementing policies, as well as offering waiver programmes for government contracts and taxation systems for female entrepreneurs.

Taryn Anderson, CEO of Impulse4Women, drew attention to the importance of community involvement and network building for female entrepreneurs.

Speaking to Aletihad, Anderson said their participation in the event comes as part of an agreement with UNWTO to support women entrepreneurs in the region who aim to take their businesses to the next level.

For her part, Abir Leheta, CEO of Egytrans, emphasised the role of private sector companies in promoting women’s advancement through diversity and inclusion, mentorship, training, internships, and partnerships with educational institutions.

Also speaking to Aletihad, Kirti Chandel, the founder and CEO of Sparkle Haze and a speaker at the event, said that the event offers an ideal platform for women entrepreneurs to network and exchange expertise.

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