Key skills boost for Mena businesswomen
Dubai, April 25, 2012
More than 350 businesswomen from across the Mena region took part in a major businesswomen's network forum in Dubai that focused on the discussions aimed at boosting leadership skills.
The Mena Business-women's Network (Mena BWN) Forum concluded with a roundtable discussion between some of the region's most prominent businesswomen, including several of Arabian Business's list of the 100 Most Powerful Women in the Arab World.
It was held under the patronage of UAE Minister of Foreign Trade Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi. Hosted by Dubai Business Women's Council, the forum received support from Mena BWN's global partners - Vital Voices Global Partnership and the ExxonMobil Foundation.
The organisers announced that the next edition of the forum will be held in 2014.
With the theme "Unleashing the Economic Potential of Women in the Mena Region," the forum kicked off with a keynote address by Shaikha Lubna, highlighting the collective nature of the event and remarking how the forum's goal is for each woman to gain the skills necessary to achieve success.
The forum continued with a discussion between Shaikha Lubna and Vital Voices Partnership president and chief executive Alyse Nelson which focused on cultivating women's leadership potential and how leadership should focus on empowering everyone, not just those in senior positions.
"Being a leader is about staying the course no matter how difficult the path may be," Nelson said after the session.
Focus sessions and hands-on workshops were also held on how partnerships can bolster innovation, how women entrepreneurs can leverage technology, and how business women throughout the region can access capital and new markets.
The first day wrapped up with one-on-one mentoring sessions and a gala dinner.
Following up on the interactive discussions on access to capital at the forum, the Mena Businesswomen's Network, together with Vital Voices and the International Finance Corporation, announced a partnership to look deeply across the Mena BWN member countries Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Qatar, Tunisia, and the UAE at the specific challenges that women entrepreneurs and businesswomen face in accessing capital.
Accordingly, they will launch a survey to determine those needs by the end of May, and the report of final results will be published in late 2012.
"It is indeed an honour to see more than 350 outstanding women from over 15 countries learn, connect and gain the skills necessary to transform their enterprises to achieve higher levels of growth and success," Mena Businesswomen's Network president Afnan Al Zayani said. "We are beyond pleased with the forum's outcome and we look forward to building upon its success in the coming years," she added.
The Mena BWN, upon the success of the forum's one-on-one mentorship consultations, announced that it will work in partnership with Vital Voices and its members associations to establish a mentorship initiative for businesswomen and women entrepreneurs across the region.
The programme will utilise key lessons learned in effective mentor-mentee relationships from around the world and is expected to be launched later this year.
The forum's second day opened with a session on increasing media access for businesswomen and a panel discussion on growth-driven supply chain strategies featuring key representatives from IBM, Dow Chemical and the World Bank.
The session highlighted opportunities for collaboration between the private sector and regional governments and what supply chain models work best in the region.
A key recommendation from the forum was the need for businesswomen to remain engaged with one another, leveraging technology and online communication to continue to share best practices, do business with one another and provide opportunities to connect to new markets.-TradeArabia News Service