Women entrepreneurs networking and collaborating in a UAE business event. Text overlay reads 'How the UAE is Empowering Women Entrepreneurs?

How the UAE is Empowering Women Entrepreneurs?

Table of Contents

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has become a leading hub for female entrepreneurs across the Middle East. Forward-thinking government initiatives combined with changing attitudes have created an ecosystem where women-owned businesses can thrive. This article explores the various ways the UAE is cultivating women entrepreneurs and startups.

Why Women’s Entrepreneurship Matters

Empowering female founders aligns with the UAE’s economic goals. The country has invested heavily in innovation and entrepreneurship to diversify revenue away from oil. Research by the World Bank shows that economies grow faster when more women work. Women also often face unfair obstacles in starting ventures. By addressing biases in society and business, the UAE aims to harness the full economic potential of female entrepreneurs.

Groundbreaking Initiatives Fueling Exponential Growth

The UAE has introduced first-of-their-kind programs to support women-led companies across all stages of development.

Enhancing Access to Education and Training

Giving women and girls quality education has been crucial. The UAE now has more females graduating from university than males across fields like business, engineering, sciences and technology. Schools such as Zayed University, Khalifa University and the American University Sharjah incorporate entrepreneurship into their curriculums.

Specialized institutions like the NAMA Women Advancement Establishment also provide critical training. Their Women’s Entrepreneurship Excellence Hub teaches practical skills to turn business ideas into reality. Over 50 startups have been created by Hub graduates so far.

Increasing Available Funding

Access to investor financing is a major pain point for many women entrepreneurs globally. The UAE has addressed this systematically through dedicated funds and angel networks.

The Women Angel Investors Network connects female investors to provide capital for women-founded early stage ventures. Since 2015, members have injected $250,000 into startups focused on education, healthcare, technology and other vital sectors.

Government agencies also offer financing and incentives. The Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development has supplied over $550 million to female Emirati entrepreneurs since its inception in 2007.

Launching Targeted Incubators and Accelerators

Incubators and accelerators tailored to women provide immense value beyond capital. They offer mentorship, training, access to networks and increased visibility.

Two Fifty, an Abu Dhabi based accelerator focused on female tech founders, helped participants raise over $500,000 collectively in 2019. Sheraa, a government-backed incubator also located in the UAE capital, has assisted over 60 women-owned ventures that have gone on to secure $8 million in investment.

The UAE has amended laws and regulations to further empower female entrepreneurs. For instance, the introduction of paid maternity leave allows women to more easily balance families and their careers. Reforms also enable women to fully own and control companies rather than needing male partners or shareholders.

The Proof: Women Entrepreneurs Flourishing

These multifaceted initiatives have catalyzed exponential growth in women’s entrepreneurship across the UAE:

  • The number of women-owned startups has tripled since 2010
  • Female investor networks backing new companies has grown 500%
  • Over 10,000 SMEs in Dubai alone are now women-led

Areas like fintech, e-commerce, healthcare, education, food and consulting are seeing women-founded firms thrive in fields traditionally dominated by men.

Spotlights On Successful Female Founders

The launches of creative women-led ventures showcase the pursuit of innovation and progress:

Fatima Al Naqbi – She left her engineering job at an oil giant to launch a mobile app for caregivers called Sary. Her platform now serves over 50,000 families across the Gulf region.

Maitha Al Dossari – She overcame stigma in Emirati society to build a leading engineering consulting firm serving global clients. Her company empowers female engineers while working on iconic projects.

Salama Mohamed – Her agritech firm, Desert Control, utilizes biotech to make arid desert soil arable for sustainable food production. This revolutionary technology has raised millions from local and foreign investors.

These women highlight how supporting female entrepreneurs creates both economic and social impact. Their stories inspire the next generation of women business leaders.

The Outlook: Women Fueling the Future

Female entrepreneurship will continue rising exponentially across the UAE due to government goals aligned with market trends:

  • By 2030, women-owned firms are projected to contribute over 40% of national GDP
  • More special economic zones, incubators and accelerators focused on women will open
  • Educational programs designed specifically for girls’ leadership development will expand

There is still room for improvement however. Access to growth financing past early stages poses difficulties for women entrepreneurs compared to male peers. Workplace policies around childcare and family can also progress further. Cultural attitudes may still discourage certain women, especially in rural areas, from pursuing their own ventures.

Nonetheless, the UAE’s comprehensive strategy has sparked a renaissance in women’s entrepreneurship that serves as a model globally. Female founders like Maitha, Salama and Fatima represent the vanguard paving the way for many more women business leaders set to shape the economic future.


The UAE has implemented groundbreaking initiatives to cultivate female entrepreneurship that are unmatched globally. Targeted education, accessible financing, strong incubators and favorable policies have empowered women to launch innovative firms across industries. Exponential growth has ensued, with women-owned ventures contributing ever more to the nation’s diversified, knowledge-based economy. Although work remains, the UAE’s future is undoubtedly female.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the most well-known women-led startups in the UAE?

Top startups include Mumzworld (e-commerce), Lean In (fitness), Rise Wellness (wellness), Mompreneurs Middle East (community platform) and Occupy (co-working spaces).

What are the leading organizations supporting women entrepreneurs?

They include the Khalifa Fund, Sheraa, Women Angel Investors Network, Cartier Women’s Initiative, NAMA Women Advancement Establishment, Dubai Business Women Council and Emirates Women Establishment.

Where can women entrepreneurs access mentors and training programs?

Key options are NAMA Women, Sheraa, Two Fifty, In5 Innovation Hub, Dubai Business Women Council and Emirates Women Establishment.

Picture of Pranav Modi

Pranav Modi

Mr. Pranav Modi, CA is supported by 12+ years of Consulting, Auditing and Accounting practice across diverse sectors.

Book A Free Consultation

Quick Contact