MasterCard and the Dubai Business Women Council, part of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, announced a partnership on Wednesday to encourage female entrepreneurship in the United Arab Emirates.
The partnership will enable both MasterCard and DBWC to organize an annual event where female entrepreneur hopefuls can present business proposals before a panel of judges.
Winners will be mentored and guided by MasterCard to implement their business models. Screening will begin early next year.
“Since 2002, the council has been providing business women in the country with opportunities to develop and enhance their business enterprises,” DBWC President Raja Easa Al Gurg said. “Women in the UAE are playing an increasingly important role in driving the economy, and we have taken it upon ourselves to support these entrepreneurs in their undertakings. By joining hands with MasterCard, we can now offer the much needed support to our members and ensure that even more women get the opportunity to participate in and contribute to the UAE’s booming economy.”
Data from Carnegie Endowment Centre shows that small- and medium-sized businesses account for approximately 95 percent of the private sector in the Middle East and North Africa. Only 2.5 percent, however, is women-owned, though 37 percent of businesses globally are owned by women.
“Across the globe, MasterCard has been working with our partners to empower women, as disparities and obstacles to equal opportunities still exist in both the developed and emerging markets,” Ann Cairns, the president of international markets at MasterCard, said. “Encouraging women to participate in their local communities is not only a social cause, but has tremendous economic implications for these markets. The Dubai Business Women Council has significantly advanced the cause for more than 10 years, and we are eager to work with them to ensure that women across the UAE and the wider region have the opportunity to develop their skills and pursue their dreams.”