Challenges faced by women and men entrepreneurs in UAE are identical – study

NPM Group CEO tackles changing gender roles expectations in a keynote address at SheTrades MENA in Dubai

Dubai, UAE, November 10, 2019:

The CEO of New Perspective Media Group (NPM), a leading UAE-based media company and integrated marketing communications agency, has lauded the UAE’s unwavering commitment to helping women tip the scales of entrepreneurship to unlock their full potentials as business owners.

In her keynote address on the second day of the entrepreneur workshop, which forms part of the International Trade Centre’s SheTrades initiative in partnership with Dubai Exports and UPS, Dr. Karen Remo stressed the role of entrepreneurship as a “great equaliser” amongst men and women in society.

ITC’s SheTrades initiative aims to connect 3 million women entrepreneurs to market by 2021. Held under the theme “Preparing for Export”, the event took place at the Grand Hyatt Dubai.

Dr. Remo emphasised the UAE’s significant and positive steps in levelling the playing field of doing business in the country.

“A connected world has given entrepreneurs here amazing opportunities to dream that dream of choice and make it a reality,” Dr. Remo said, underlining the importance of looking past the obstacles and becoming optimistic on new opportunities.

To fully maximise the now multifaceted opportunities, Dr. Remo encourages women to explore the idea of venturing into their own business.

Fatima Ghanem, Director of Export Initiatives and Partnerships in Dubai Exports, with Dr. Karen Remo during the International Trade Centre’s SheTrades initiative in partnership with Dubai Exports and UPS.

“The UAE has, through its programmes made setting-up businesses here simpler, more cost effective and more streamlined,” she said. “This in turn, has resulted in opening new opportunities for women to start their own businesses without having to spend a lot of time or money on the minutia of regulatory compliance. We can now therefore spend more time in developing new products and services for the market,” she added.

Figures from the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority show that SME sector’s contribution to the UAE’s GDP is at 53 per cent in 2019 and is expected to increase to 60 per cent by 2021. SMEs encompass around 95 per cent of the firms in the country and employ 86 per cent of the total workforce in the non-oil private sector.

“The UAE has also done well to establish itself as the gateway between the East and the West. The UAE is at the leading edge of world-class infrastructure in air, sea and land transportation and logistics. And our friends from Dubai Exports, ITC and UPS here are very much a part of this effort,” Dr Remo added.

Changing gender role expectations is opening up opportunities for everyone. She cited a research conducted by NPM Group amongst 44 entrepreneurs in the UAE in which the respondents were equally represented by men and women.

In this study, it was found that the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs are identical, if not entirely similar.

The top challenges of entrepreneurs are:
• Limited capital or access to funding
• Delayed of payments and non-payments
• Managing cash-flow
• Balancing business and family life
• Hiring and retaining good talent

“What is widely thought as mainly women issues were also issues of male entrepreneurs, in varying degrees. Men also named gender inequality, social struggle to be respected or taken seriously, and challenging social expectations, as key challenges just as women did,” Dr. Remo explained.

In addition, changes in technology are allowing people to become entrepreneurs much more easily than before. “And tomorrow, there will be even more opportunities that we can’t even see today,” she said.