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SBWC Strengthens Outreach And Engagement In First Half Of 2024
(3 July 2024)

The Sharjah Business Women Council organised tours, launched initiatives and participated in major events in the emirate


The Sharjah Business Women Council (SBWC) has demonstrated significant progress in the first half of 2024, reinforcing its leadership in advancing women in the entrepreneurial sector and fostering comprehensive economic and social development.

Under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, the Council has firmly established itself as a catalyst for female entrepreneurship. It has actively participated in key events throughout the emirate, providing support and inspiration.

The Council's proactive approach has included launching a series of initiatives such as tours and field visits, which have offered valuable support and insights to its members. By forging partnerships with prominent entrepreneurial and academic institutions, the Council has expanded its reach and amplified its impact during the first half of the year.

Supporting Members

One of the key initiatives launched by the Council was the SBWC Pop-ups, which focused on its members in the food and beverage sector. This initiative provided opportunities for members to showcase their businesses and products in public spaces and government institutions in the emirate. The initiative included the participation of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Sharjah Documentation as well as Archives Authority members. The Council has plans to expand the initiative to include a broader range of businesses across various sectors and industries.

SBWC Tours

The Council also initiated field visits to members’ businesses in the first quarter of 2024 to strengthen connections and explore support or collaboration opportunities. These visits highlighted members’ products and projects on the council’s social media accounts, further enhancing the visibility of its members.

Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival

In February 2024, the Council participated in the seventh Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival (SEF), which attracted 10,000 visitors. During the festival, SBWC sponsored a workshop titled “How to build products like Airbnb and Canva by being design-led,” conducted by Silver Fern Digital, which taught participants design thinking principles to create world-class platforms and software.

The Council also sponsored the ‘Social Impact’ track in the SEF Startup Pitch Competition, supporting diversity and empowerment. This allowed female entrepreneurs in social impact, educational technology, and sustainability to showcase their startup ideas and compete for prizes totalling AED 200,000 across four award categories.

New Advisory Board

The following month, SBWC unveiled its new advisory board for the 2024-2026 term, bringing together an elite cadre of businesswomen, each with extensive experience and profound insights into entrepreneurship across diverse sectors. The advisory board is tasked with empowering female entrepreneurs, magnifying their influence, and launching initiatives and projects that strengthen women’s status across multiple economic sectors.

With a proactive agenda, the board addresses challenges, devises strategic solutions, represents the council at national and international forums, and forges networking and collaborative avenues to strengthen women's presence and impact locally and globally in the developmental arena.

Azyan Exhibition

In March, SBWC participated in the annual Azyan Exhibition, a platform designed to support women in the fashion and jewellery sectors. The event provided a stage for SBWC members to showcase their unique ventures and exceptional work, highlighting the capabilities of women and their role in enhancing the Emirate’s economic and cultural fabric. The SBWC’s participation underscores its commitment to supporting development efforts and boosting members’ contributions to Sharjah and the UAE, solidifying women’s roles in the local and global economy.

Dialogues to Support Entrepreneurship

SBWC continued its efforts in May, in collaboration with the American University of Sharjah (AUS), to launch a roundtable discussion series that is scheduled to be conducted over two years. This series is designed to enhance entrepreneurial sectors within the UAE, particularly for women. The sessions, which strongly focus on educational aspects to empower female entrepreneurs, aim to gather data, foster knowledge exchange, and find solutions based on recommendations by a diverse stakeholder group, thus driving positive change within the nation’s business ecosystem.

The inaugural round table session, titled “The Female Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in the UAE,” took a comprehensive look at the current business landscape for female business owners in Sharjah and other emirates of the UAE. This topic was selected following a collaborative survey by SBWC and AUS to evaluate the entrepreneurial ecosystem and pinpoint areas for enhancement and possible improvement.

The council also organised a session titled ‘Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Business’, led by Dr Gopal Kutwaroo, Managing Director of The Value Space. The talk covered AI's role in enhancing efficiency, streamlining operations, and improving customer experiences.

International Visits and Global Experiences

To empower businesswomen in Sharjah and broaden their international perspectives, the council organised a series of international trips led by Mariam bin Al Shaikh, Director of SBWC. Participants explored pioneering female-led ventures and attended the BRICS Women’s Entrepreneurship Forum in Moscow from June 1st to 5th. This event, part of Russia’s BRICS Chairship in 2024, facilitated discussions on opportunities and challenges in advancing women's entrepreneurship within the BRICS nations.

Leading Role in Empowering Emirati Women

Mariam bin Al Shaikh, Director of SBWC, stated: “The Council enhances its influence annually, cementing its position as a leader in empowering Emirati women and spearheading comprehensive economic and social development. SBWC’s achievements in the first half of this year represent a pivotal advancement in women’s leadership and their critical role in driving social and developmental progress, aligning with the vision and directives of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs.”

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