Empowered Women, Thriving Economies: Women Entrepreneurs Are Driving the Future of the UAE

Empowered Women, Thriving Economies: Women Entrepreneurs Are Driving the Future of the UAE

May 30, 2024

By Jawaher Almheiri, Head of Economic Affairs, UAE Embassy Washington, D.C

Recently, the UAE Embassy had the honor of hosting seven women from the Emirates who are part of the Atlantic Council and Georgetown University’s WIn Fellowship program for entrepreneurs. The program’s goal is to enhance women’s economic participation in the MENA region, and support these entrepreneurs by providing educational instruction, mentorship and networking opportunities with top US and MENA leaders.

Panel Discussion

Throughout the evening, through panel discussions and one-on-one conversations, these amazing women shared insights with other Fellows on the importance of building community and the value of supporting fellow female entrepreneurs to boost inclusive success.

The WIn Fellows from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia who visited the Embassy demonstrate the breadth and creativity stemming from the Emirates’ start-up scene. Here are just a few examples.

AlDhabi AlMheiri

AlDhabi AlMheiri is the UAE’s youngest entrepreneur in the program, having founded her company Rainbow Chimney at four years of age. AlDhabi’s deep love for reading led her to create a business specializing in books and toys for children ranging from infants to 13 years old, introducing the joy of reading to children of all ages. Her advice for future young entrepreneurs? Never give up.

Jumana Al Darwish

Also among the group is Jumana Al Darwish, founder of The Happy Box, The Happy Studio, and Happy Hearts Global. The Happy Box, which packages activities for children, was created to seek happiness and contentment and make family a priority. The company is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

Perihan Abouzeid

Perihan Abouzeid is the founder and CEO of PeriCare, a FemTech startup building products for the health and well-being of working mothers. Inspired by her own experience after giving birth, the products support women during postpartum recovery.

These entrepreneurs highlight a bigger regional trend that demonstrates the entrepreneurial spirit sweeping the region, and how the UAE has become the epicenter of this dynamic economic growth.

Since its founding over 50 years ago, the UAE’s leadership has cultivated a vibrant startup environment that makes it easy to start and grow a business, leading to rapid and exciting change as the country transforms its economy into a global hub for advanced technology.

From the UAE’s easy access to funding and numerous Free Trade Zones to a diverse talent pool and access to regional markets, the UAE’s startup environment is an attractive place for entrepreneurs. Today, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) comprise an astounding 94% of all businesses in the UAE, contributing nearly 64% to the UAE’s non-oil GDP according to a report from the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates.

After connecting with this incredible group of women, one thing is clear: when women are included in the economy everyone benefits. It's a tide that lifts all boats – enhancing productivity, fostering diverse perspectives in decision-making and driving innovation. The ripple effects of women's economic empowerment extend beyond individual successes – they contribute to the prosperity and well-being of our entire society.

With the UAE’s leadership and collaboration with US partners, we can look forward to a future where the biggest obstacle to creating your own business isn’t how to launch it, but the idea that will jumpstart it all.