Visa has announced the launch of its global ‘She’s Next’ initiative in the UAE to support local women entrepreneurs. The initiative is launched in partnership with First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), the UAE’s largest bank, and the Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC).
She’s Next is a global advocacy programme that brings practical insights and tools to small and medium businesses (SMBs), including networking, mentoring and funding opportunities.
Since 2020, Visa has invested more than $2.2m in over 200 grants and coaching for women SMB owners through the She’s Next grant programme globally, including in the US, Canada, India and Ireland.
Women business owners across UAE can join She’s Next and apply for funding and access peer networks and educational resources that help address the challenges revealed in a recent Visa study of women entrepreneurs.
According to the report, the areas female entrepreneurs said they most wanted to learn more about were how to better set goals for profitability of their businesses, how to develop stronger strategies, and ways to survive the continuing impact of Covid-19. The She’s Next initiative includes a series of mentoring programmes that provide women entrepreneurs with access to practical insights from women leaders in the public and private sectors, as well as valuable tools and educational resources they need to grow and develop their businesses.
She’s Next will also deliver significant networking opportunities in partnership with the Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC), a leading platform for personal and professional development for business women in Dubai.
Dr Saeeda Jaffar, SVP and group country manager for the GCC, Visa, commented: “Women who own and manage businesses face a unique set of challenges including access to capital and peer networks as well as societal pressures. That’s why we’re excited to help women business-owners across UAE today through the first She’s Next grant programme and offer access to coaching and support through IFundWomen as well as that injection of $10,000 in capital. We are also honored to be partnering with FAB and DBWC, who will help us in our mission to not only empower women entrepreneurs, but also create for them a supportive environment in which they can grow and thrive.”
Sara Al Binali, group head of Corporate, Commercial and International Banking at FAB, said: “Increasing women’s participation in business is an important social objective for FAB within our ESG strategy. Almost one-third of our own mid to senior managers were female as of 2021, and we are targeting 30 per cent in senior management by 2025 and 40 per cent by 2030.
“Through She’s Next, we reflect that commitment into the wider economy and our customer base. With this partnership we are working to understanding the barriers women face as entrepreneurs in our region, and giving them the resources, networks and knowledge to bring down those barriers and open a pathway to growing their business.”
Nadine Halabi, business development manager at Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC) stated “Partnering with Visa and FAB on such a distinctive initiative aligns with DBWC’s mission to empower female entrepreneurs and support their business development and growth. As a result, the She’s Next programme offers specialised training and guidance as well as funding to the programme’s winners, which is the first step towards the progress and development of any business.”
This new grant programme is in line with Visa’s commitment to digitally enable 50 million small businesses around the world to kick-start recovery from the pandemic.
Visa is also providing access to entrepreneurial knowledge and tools to unleash businesses in the digital era via its Practical Business Skills platform.
Women entrepreneurs in the UAE from all industries and sectors are invited to participate in the programme. The winner will receive one of five $10,000 grants, a one-year IFundWomen coaching membership and access to resources such as the workshop library and community of entrepreneurs.
Applications are open now through July 20, 2022.
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