A successful woman entrepreneur

advantages of women entrepreneurship and business opportunities for women entrepreneurs
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PatrickWood,United Kingdom,Researcher
Published Date:16-07-2017
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Women Entrepreneurs. Women Empowered. UNITED NATIONS INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIONIntroduction Based on the 2010 United Nations Department of global unemployment rate of women, estimated at 17.1 per Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) report “The World’s cent for women compared to that of men at 10.6 per cent Women 2010: Trends and Statistics”, the rate of women’s for men, the situation calls for an overall restructuring of contribution and participation in the global economy in programmes for the economic empowerment of women, 2001 was estimated at 55.2%. one to be launched through the support of UNIDO and various stakeholders in order to bridge the gap which the In the East and the Pacific, the rate was 70%, in South Arab region is facing. Asia 43.6%, and in Latin America and the Caribbean 42%. However, only roughly 29% of Arab women participated In his commemoration of International Women’s Day in in the national economies of their region. Coupled with a 2014, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: Gender equality and women’s economic empowerment are essential to the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development to achieve inclusive growth leaving no one behind. It is the right thing to do and the smart thing to do: Gender equality is a matter of basic human rights and women’s economic empowerment can “ generate huge gains for human development, economic growth and business. ” The economic empowerment of women, to succeed The Investment and Technology Promotion Offices and advance economically and to make and act on were established under joint agreements between the economic decisions, is a cornerstone of the Sustainable host country and UNIDO. Their main aim is to facilitate Development Goals (SDGs). Over the past two decades, investment flows and technology transfer in support there has been progress in closing gender gaps, especially of inclusive growth and wealth creation in developing in education and health. Yet there still is much to do to countries. achieve the full and equal participation of women in society and in the economy. The UNIDO ITPO Network carries out its mandate through partnerships, fora, capacity building, advisory services, The status of women varies from country to country, and and business matchmaking. The first UNIDO ITPO was in fact it varies even within these countries themselves. established in 1980. Currently, eight UNIDO ITPOs operate To address these divergent gaps, programmes for throughout the world, in Bahrain, Beijing, Shanghai, Italy, economically empowering women have to be addressed Japan, tthe Republic of Korea, Nigeria and the Russian at four levels: the public sector, the private sector, the Federation, with more on the horizon. multinational organizations and the non-governmental organizations. The UNIDO Investment and Technology Promotion Office (ITPO) in Bahrain, part of a larger global network of UNIDO ITPOs, works at precisely this nexus. 4Women Entrepreneurs. Women Empowered. Realizing the mounting pressures from the growing Arab Accordingly, under the banner of South-South cooperation, youth population and the need to create 170 million jobs the Bahraini and Indian Governments established the for Arab youth by the year 2020, UNIDO ITPO Bahrain Arab Regional Center for Entrepreneurship and Investment together with the Economic and Social Commission for Training (ARCEIT) under UNIDO ITPO Bahrain in 2001, Western Asia (ESCWA) embarked on a major study about which was transformed into the Arab International Center the major challenges limiting the economic empowerment for Entrepreneurship and Investment (AICEI) in 2013. of Arab youth in Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and This publication compiles the success stories of the Egypt. The study concluded that although the Arab female entrepreneurs who participated in this centre’s region has various positive attributes towards economic Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion (EDIP) empowerment, a specialized and focused organization Programme. is necessary to share best practices and develop an environment conducive to entrepreneurship development. 5Mission The mission of UNIDO ITPO Bahrain is to mobilize • Contribute to the economic empowerment of youth and resources (finance, technology, know-how, managerial) women regionally and internationally; from Bahrain and the Arab region to developing countries and economies in transition. UNIDO ITPO Bahrain’s • Unleash and stimulate the spirit of entrepreneurship entrepreneurship development work is housed under through various awareness-raising and support AICEI which conducts programs and courses such as the programmes for women and youth; Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion (EDIP) Programme. The EDIP is a package approach aimed at • Assist in developing eco-systems for the development developing the capacities of potential entrepreneurs, of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) both male and female, in order to assist them in through capacity-building programmes, technology developing their own private businesses. The programme transfer, financing and incubation systems; is multifaceted in the sense that it not only assists in developing start-up entrepreneurs (Enterprise Creation • Share and disseminate best practices for the Programme) but also represents an important mechanism development of value-added services to entrepreneurs for upgrading and expanding existing enterprises through local support institutions; (Enterprise Growth Programme). • Institutionalize business counselling and mentoring Moreover, it facilitates and promotes domestic investment programmess aimed at facilitating enterprise growth; which undoubtedly leads to the attraction of foreign direct investments mainly through the linkage with the • Establish and maintain business incubator systems as UNIDO ITPO Network, thus leading to job creation and a they play a key role in the development and growth of more diversified economy. The mission of AICEI has seven MSMEs through a range of services; features which also complement the larger work of ITPO Bahrain.• Develop linkages between financial institutions and entrepreneurship programmes. 6Women Entrepreneurs. Women Empowered. 7UNIDO ITPO Bahrain’s history of women’s empowerment th The 6 Forum for Businesswomen in Islamic countries: in Bahrain, December 2012, attended women economic empowerment by around 150 participants from 36 centres: Member States, representatives of in Abu Dhabi, UAE, enhancing potential Islamic Development Bank Group (IDB) women entrepreneurs’ capacity to and International Finance Corporation conceive, develop and implement (IFC) of the World Bank Group and entrepreneurial/income-generating some other local and international activities, and enhancing and/or institutions, producing the Manama expanding the performance and growth Declaration 2012 on “Women and Youth of existing women-owned enterprises; Economic Empowerment in Islamic in cooperation with the Family Countries.” Development Foundation. 2012 2012 2012 2012 entrepreneurship centre at the r oyal Banks of Innovation: University for women: in Bahrain, Sierra Leone, Jordan, in Bahrain, a career orientation centre Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Sudan and on entrepreneurship provides value- Yemen, which provide microfinancing added services to potential schemes without collateral to potential women entrepreneurs/students. women entrepreneurs, to help them Twenty professors from the Royal in boosting their business and hence University for Women trained in moving from the informal to the formal enterprise development and investment sector. promotion. UNIDO ITPO Bahrain offers the non- financial services, and the banks provide financial services to potential entrepreneurs. UNIDO ITPO Bahrain, in cooperation with the Bank Al Khartoum and the Family Bank in Sudan, is in the process of developing a non- financial unit in both banks. 8Women Entrepreneurs. Women Empowered. th The 5 International women entrepreneurs summit and exhibition on “economic empowerment through Inclusive and sustainable Industrial Development”: in India, May 2015, addressed the best practices for the economic empowerment of women in addition to creating linkages between Indian, African and Arab women entrepreneurs; attended by 250 women entrepreneurs from 19 countries, granted the Indira th The 7 Forum for Businesswomen Gandhi “Priyadarshani Award 2015” riyadat: in Islamic countries: to a number of women entrepreneurs, in Bahrain, launched in 2013, the first in Iran, October 2013, attended by 350 including three Bahraini entrepreneurs women incubator/mall allowing its businesswomen and followed up by in recognition of their achievements entrepreneurs to display and sell their the development of a women economic and their major roles in the area of products and services. empowerment centre in Tehran. corporate social responsibility. 2013 2013 2015 2013 2015 2015 rd Boutique 33: The arab-african Businesswomen The 63 FceM world congress (Femmes in Kuwait, launched February 2013, council in the International chefs d’enterprises Mondiales): unique incubator that encompasses all entrepreneurs Investment Forum: in Bahrain, March 2015, attended the services of a business incubator yet in Bahrain, January 2015. by 400 women entrepreneurs from maintains the features of a shopping around the world, served as a platform mall. The business counsellors were to encourage networking and the trained by UNIDO ITPO Bahrain and creation of new business partnerships the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor across borders and sectors. 350 and United Nations Development bilateral meetings were organized, Programme Kuwait in the business leading to the signing of 40 letters of development phase of start-up and intent, with an estimated investment growth, hence facilitating the process of of US110 million in various sectors, migrating entrepreneurs from micro to namely, manufacturing, tanneries, small, and eventually small to medium gold processing, food, health and enterprises, or to an expansion phase agriculture. of the business. 9Khulood abdulqader, Bahrain Gem of a success story Khulood Abdulqader is Today, Curve has an annual turnover of US1 million a year the founder of Curve, a and a net value of US3 million. boutique jewellery atelier whose work combines the Abdulqader remarks, “When I started, I had the technical best of Bahrain’s pearling skills from my work at the Ministry’s gem lab and my study heritage and the narrative at the GIA. I had the flair and creativity that could get me of contemporary Bahraini clients. But it was my training with UNIDO ITPO Bahrain women’s empowerment through that taught me to prioritize my growth and business education and social support. development. The programe helped me to leverage my skills to get bigger loans for my business expansion, for Ms. Abdulqader made the example.” transition from government employee to entrepreneur in a stunning leap of professional empowerment, supported by “Establishing my business was the first step. It was her background in gem and jewellery science. The former through the exposure at regional exhibitions that I was officer in Bahrain’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry’s able to see and understand current industry trends and Gems and Pearl Testing Laboratory, was the first Bahraini promote my own creative vision. I am now working with woman to qualify at the Gemological Institute of America the UNIDO ITPO Bahrain team to transform my business (GIA). into a franchise concept in the region. It is a big step in an industry that is dominated by brands with centuries of In her words: “At first, I worked from home and showcased fashion history.” my creations at ladies’ associations and bazaars attended by influential ladies. Soon orders started coming in and Abdulqader has become well-known for her unique I decided to strike out on my own. I was content with the jewellery designs, inspired by Bahrain’s compelling fact that my reputation was growing and I was making scenery, its rich history, Islamic designs and Arabic about US5,000 to US8,000 a month in profits. But calligraphy. UNIDO ITPO Bahrain raised the bar for my ambitions. I learnt to professionally channel my talent and gained In a 2016 interview with UNIDO she stated, “Joining valuable technical knowledge on how to run a business.” UNIDO’s programme was, and still is, the most important step in my business career. It is through their support that my company is now ranked among the largest in Bahrain by one of the most significant awards for Bahraini entrepreneurs.” 10Women Entrepreneurs. Women Empowered. Nawal al-sabbagh, Bahrain Bouquet of triumph Nawal Al-Sabbagh runs one me to start again because they believed in my ability to of the best-known florist and succeed.” In mid-2016, she told UNIDO that the loyalty of chocolatier shops, Nawal her customers and suppliers has been the most rewarding Flowers, in Bahrain. Her clients experience of her florist and chocolatier career. Initially, include royalty and some Al-Sabbagh worked from her home, supplying tastefully of the most discerning and arranged flowers and gifts of top-quality chocolates to VIP wealthy families who value her clients. Her big break came when she went to the Bank of artistry and quality finish. Her Bahrain and Kuwait (BBK) to negotiate a bank overdraft. unique story was not always It was Ramadan and the PR department was preparing so rosy though –rather, it was to place an order of Eid sweets for VIP customers. Al- a rose garden with its share Sabbagh persuaded them to use her artistic talent to of thorns. A failed partnership in an earlier business and create a custom-made Eid greeting and also her chocolate the urgent need to provide for her children as a single supplies. mum fuelled her determination to rebuild her business. As Al-Sabbagh says, “I come from a family where we were “Entrepreneurs must always watch for opportunities. I was not entrepreneurial but we were very independent. From able to convince BBK of my reliability as a supplier and childhood I was taught to find ways to solve challenges as a good SME client. I never used the overdraft but got a and this stood me in good stead when I faced the issue of great client in BBK” The three secrets to business success, re-starting my business.” according to Al-Sabbagh, are to build trust in customers and suppliers because both are your partners in success; “We Bahraini women have a long history of independence to offer quality at a reasonable price always and to always and entrepreneurship but it needed to be re-shaped to fit believe in oneself. the 21st century context.” “UNIDO ITPO Bahrain’s structured approach to enterprise Al-Sabbagh’s inspiring story of business reconstruction creation and growth means that we have access to began when she found her earlier partnership falling apart counselling and global exposure. This makes UNIDO ITPO just when she was also in the midst of a personal life Bahrain successful in its nurturing of women entrepreneurs crisis. “Many of myformer clients from the earlier flower and stimulating economic empowerment of women,” says business contacted me and asked me to handle their Al-Sabbagh who is currently working with UNIDO ITPO special event décor but I was unable to do so because I Bahrain to expand and enter the franchise business for needed capital for flower and chocolate. I did not want to her florist and chocolatier brand. Al-Sabbagh is currently overload myself with loans although family and friends working with UNIDO ITPO Bahrain to expand and enter the wanted to help. I am an artist and in all the turmoil I had franchise business for her florist and chocolatier brand. turned to painting to calm me. I sold these paintings to raise the capital and contacted my old suppliers. To “You have to explore ways of reinventing your business. In my delight, they were happy to extend credit and help this business, nothing smells sweeter than success” 11huda Janahi, Bahrain A true ambassador of entrepreneurship Fifteen years ago, Huda Janahi Today, Janahi is an award-winning businesswoman, started her business, Global and one of the most influential women in the Arab Cargo and Traveller Services, with world according to Forbes magazine. With her father’s start-up capital of 1,000 Bahraini and husband’s confidence in her abilities as the main Dinars (around US2,650 at inspiration, Janahi has, against all odds, thrived in this today’s exchange rate). She ran male-dominated industry and is now hailed as a role the business single-handedly model for budding female entrepreneurs across the from an office in a small rented Persian Gulf region. space in Muharraq, Bahrain’s third largest city. Huda Janahi has received numerous awards and recognitions including the Mohammad bin Rashid Award For the first year, all progress was blocked because her for Young Business Leaders for the “Best Arab Start-up application for a commercial registration was rejected Business in the Arab World for the Year 2005”, “Investor by the Ministry of Commerce. She was told that women of the Year Award in the Category of Young Innovative could not receive a commercial registration to operate in Entrepreneur for the Year 2006”, “the GCC Young the cargo industry. Undaunted, Janahi refused to accept Entrepreneur Award for the Year 2008” at the Women “No” for an answer, and she joined UNIDO ITPO Bahrain’s in Business Conference held in Oman, the first “Leader Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Entrepreneur Award” by UNIDO in 2008, and most recently, Programme. In 2001, after graduating from it, she applied the Indira Gandhi “Priyadarshani Award 2015” in Delhi. again for registration and her application was finally Furthermore, in 2013, as part of the G8 Summit held in accepted. Janahi still views it as one of the most rewarding UK, she was awarded a “Certificate of Appreciation as a moments. Woman of Achievement” by the G8 UK Presidency for the Deauville Partnership. Within a few years, Janahi built up her company into a huge, successful enterprise and, in 2008, she signed a According to Janahi, “Entrepreneurs (should) reach out merger worth US3m with the Kuwaiti cargo company, and share their ideas and problems with other established Global Logistic Company, which serves the whole Middle international entrepreneurs.” East region. Currently, she owns eight businesses in services, retail, media and manufacturing employing 85 staff, and her net worth is estimated at US25 million. 12Women Entrepreneurs. Women Empowered. Frederica w illiams, sierra Leone A stylish path to self-development After graduating in Economics Inspired by the traditional and cultural designs, she from the University of Sierra creates contemporary and sophisticated styles that can Leone in 1997, Frederica Williams be appreciated and sold both locally and internationally. found that high unemployment When asked what the special strengths of women rates meant her job prospects entrepreneurs in Sierra Leone are, she had this to say: were dim. While waiting for “personally for me, I have the focus, passion, integrity the right job and in between and perseverance to succeed at all costs. The challenges, interviews, she turned to her however, are numerous for an entrepreneur to overcome hobby of designing clothes and and succeed in this environment. Some of us start with sewing to keep her spirits up and such over-zealousness but obstacles come, and we either to bring in some modest income. What started as a part- fail or give up. We lack the know-how, capacity training and time occupation soon blossomed in 1998 into her full-time funding. Particularly in my sector, I need more exposure to business, J&F Fashion Design, as demand grew for her broaden and expand on my ideas and creativity as fashion stylish cuts and drapes, for her unique fashion sensibility. trends are dynamic. Social media I found very helpful – though we have the challenges of slow and costly internet More than the monetary success, Williams says, it was services.” a turning point for her self-confidence, “when I began to realize I have a skill that is unique.” In 2000, she decided Williams also pointed out that more training, refresher to further enhance her talent by taking an apprenticeship courses, counselling and funding is needed to acquire the with a designer in Nigeria for two years. In 2002, after necessary skills to become a successful entrepreneur. She returning home, she started her business properly and herself attended a tailored training course and Women’s set up operations legally in 2005. In 2012, she became Networking Conference organized by GE, focusing on a member of the Organization of Women Entrepreneurs understanding and communicating your brand, negotiating (OWNERS) a project of the African Foundation for for success, hiring the right talent, performance Development in Sierra Leone and the Cherie Blair management and being a talent champion. She suggested Foundation for Women. Here she gained valuable business the establishment of an Entrepreneurship School and management skills under UNIDO ITPO Bahrain’s Enterprise Business Incubator with UNIDO support which will be very Development and Investment Promotion Programme. useful in improving the growing entrepreneurial culture in Sierra Leone. “This was really the second turning point in my success as an entrepreneur,” Williams says, “I gained the practical Today, Williams has become extremely confident and training to match my theoretical university knowledge. It takes her lessons to a wider audience, talking about her helped me to manage her business clients and staff more business on national TV which resulted in promotion efficiently. Specifically, I learnt a lot about customer care and increase in sales due to the nationwide publicity. and financial management as a sole proprietor.” Her clientel base has increased by 35% and her sales by about 20%. She now has about 15 employees and plans However, her passion remains the art of fashion. In a to expand in the next couple of months by opening a front 2016 follow-up, Williams stated that she particularly end showroom for her designs. enjoys working with traditional fabrics from Sierra Leone. 13humu Knox, sierra Leone A flavourful entrepreneur experience Humu Knox’s success story This has enabled her to market her new business, Kol displays the ability to breed a Hat Frozen Yogurt, efficiently. Between August 2013 culture of good business, just and January 2014, Knox’s sales grew by 15% thanks to a like her flavorsome yogurts. strategic location of her outlet in Jui. She now keeps better Imbued with a passion for baking records of her business transactions than previously. She and preparing fruit and flavoured has also started getting contracts to supply flavoured yoghurts and cupcakes, she yogurt for parties. The increase in production has led to started out by doing extensive her employing two more staff. Despite the Ebola crisis in market research and tasting. Not 2014 which saw business slow down, she has managed to finding anything that matched hold on to her existing distribution outlets. her creativity and taste standards, she was convinced that she had found a niche for top-quality flavoured yoghurt Knox believes her strengths as an entrepreneur, and of and baked snacks. most women entrepreneurs, are courage, perseverance and tenacity to go for her dreams. She believes women Knox’s first hurdle was that she had no specialist training in general draw strength in numbers, be it team or in making these products commercially. Armed with some partnership to start a business. However, sustainability work experience under her sister who had trained in a is hard to achieve, and she observes that women specialist school, she researched through trial-and-error entrepreneurs are still easily daunted by obstacles and and developed recipes for quality yogurt and cakes. She quit easily. started producing and selling commercially in 2010. “I have been doing this business for more than five years To understand the basics of becoming an entrepreneur, now and despite the challenges and obstacles, I have not Knox became a member of the Organization of Women given up hope to succeed. Key to my development were my Entrepreneurs (OWNERS) a project of the African lessons in business management and access to mentors Foundation for Development in Sierra Leone and the and a food industry network that helped me to stabilize my Cherie Blair Foundation for Women. Here she attended quality.” UNIDO ITPO Bahrain’s Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Programme. She acquired valuable She advises her fellow entrepreneurs to ensure quality business skills in quality management, customer care, standards in their products, get the right manpower, financial management, leadership and entrepreneurship deliver goods in a timely manner and meet the required skills. She also had a mentor in food services who helped standards in production. For the future she plans to her develop skills in preparation and presentation of food increase her distribution outlets and buy additional and standard hygiene methods. machinery to help grow her business. She believes that ongoing training, counselling and funding will be beneficial for her to grow and succeed in her business. 14Women Entrepreneurs. Women Empowered. Gladys england, sierra Leone An oasis of success Gladys England is the proprietor African Foundation for Development in Sierra Leone and of Oasis Juice Bar and Café Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, of which England located in Murray Town, is a member. Through UNIDO ITPO Bahrain’s Enterprise Freetown. Prior to owning her Development and Investment Promotion Programme, she own business, she worked has gained valuable advice, capacity-building, mentoring, for the non-governmental networking and technical support. organization, World Relief, which is helping in Sierra Leone’s Today, a confident Gladys England has expanded into post-war reconstruction. She was renting rooms for guests and expanded into a duplex also a part-time student studying next door to the Oasis Juice Bar where she rents out the Business Administration at the University of Public rooms. She employs 15 staff. However, she stressed that Administration and Management. Like most entrepreneurs, the challenges are by no means over for her and for other England remembers that she was always business- Sierra Leonean women entrepreneurs. “Personally I believe oriented, even as a child. At school and even while perseverance, even in times of trouble, is what has kept working, she used to buy and sell anything that earned her me going. It is so easy to give up when problems arrive as a second salary. The idea of a juice bar came to her during I found out during the Ebola crisis this past year. Things are the course of her NGO work when she travelled through doubly difficult for women entrepreneurs who have very Sierra Leone and saw large amounts of fruits wasted and little funding support in the form of grants and low interest unsold daily, along the roadsides each day. England saw loans particularly for start- ups. As a woman in business, this as a business opportunity to enter the juice making there is a challenge of not being taken seriously, of staff business. As a first step, she drew up a business plan not respecting women at the helm and not wanting to take and applied to the Sierra Leone National Business Plan orders. I have found out that one has to be assertive and competition, Business Bomba, organized by the African strong especially in decision-making.” Despite these trying Foundation for Development in Sierra Leone in 2009. Her times of the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone, she has managed idea was ranked in the top 25 and she won prize money to be creative in her niche market which has sustained of US6,000. So the first challenge was partly resolved. her business thus far. She has gained great respect from However, England found that she didn’t have experience her community on how she is managing to sustain her managing a team or a budget. Moreover, she realized business and she is currently providing mentoring for other that her business idea was more capital-intensive than women with business aspirations. Constantly looking for she had thought. She was encouraged by her friends and new opportunities, Gladys England stated: “Towards the colleagues to start on a small scale. “I researched juice end of 2015, we noticed that there were a lot of requests bars and then modified my business idea and in February for meeting venues and Oasis responded accordingly. We 2011, the Oasis Juice Bar was born,” she says, “The name reconstructed the basement to provide additional space Oasis represents heavenly beauty, creativity, calmness - and are now conducting regular meetings and workshops ways to describe how the juices make you feel.” for a number of non-governmental organizations. The business is growing so rapidly that we are again discussing England partnered with two expatriate colleagues, and further expansions.” they decided to concentrate on that niche market as they knew a large number of people in that target market. They When asked about the most rewarding experience, she knew what the market wanted and gave technical advice said: “A full booking of the property in May 2016 for an on how to cater to it. At this stage, England benefited engagement party with an attendance of 160 people. We from UNIDO’s partnership with the African Foundation catered the event and helped decorate our garden to make of Development (AFFORD) through the Organization the soon-to-be-wedded couple’s dreams come true.” for Women Entrepreneurs (OWNERS), a project of the 15Nourah shaaban, Kingdom of saudi arabia Training entrepreneurs for success In 2003, a thoughtful and an entrepreneur and use it for the benefit of women ambitious Saudi woman, everywhere – but especially in the Middle East and North Nourah Shaaban, decided to do Africa region where I was closest to the culture and the something that would expand feminine career challenges.” the horizons of her fellow countrywomen and create an One of the most remarkable learning experiences for environment where they could Shaaban was a forum that her organization hosted and blossom to their fullest potential. in which UNIDO participated. She says she was able to see at close quarters the way such forums stimulated and “I noticed that there were no raised awareness among young girls about leadership, avenues for women’s development – just the usual social entrepreneurship and its benefits. activities. I started laying the foundation for an Awareness Development Project for Women to help them to fine-tune “Training programmes like the one I participated in their skills, change to new thinking and discover their empower women in our countries by exposing them energies.” On that basis,she established Ebdaa Exchange to global ideas, modern entrepreneurial concepts and (Innovation Exchange), a company which provides enabling them to activate their knowledge and skills and training workshops for personal and professional skills create impressive success stories,” Shaaban remarked. development. “In the case of Saudi women, we need this wider vision because, although we have a great deal of talent, To prepare herself as a trainer of leaders, Shaaban patience and accomplishments, we also face plenty of extensively studied self-development techniques and challenges from conservative society and laws that make communication skills by attending regional conferences, entrepreneurship a difficult path for women.” workshops and programmes. She also networked with distinguished achievers and soon became a trusted In 2016, she proudly told UNIDO that through Ebdaa figure amongst them in international and local forums. Exchange more than 10,000 attendants have benefitted One of the first things that Shaaban did was enroll in from programmes in self-development, communication the UNIDO ITPO Bahrain programme called “Training of skills and public speaking, among others. Trainers for Enterprise Creation and Investment Promotion Programme.” During her career of over 20 years, she has received various awards and official recognitions. Most recently “With this programme, I broadened my horizon of work in 2014, she was named by Forbes Magazine as the through different experiences and multiple international most creative entrepreneur in Saudi Arabia. However, for relations with UNIDO in Lebanon, Tunisia and Bahrain. Saaban, the most rewarding experience is the ability to This network helped me to build bridges to connect with represent her country in over 50 international and regional qualified individuals and institutions, and that helped events. to amplify my voice as a woman from Saudi Arabia and 16Women Entrepreneurs. Women Empowered. Mona al Zayer, Kuwait Accessorizing her ambition with UNIDO Mona Al Zayer has always collaboration with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour been creative and interested in in Kuwait. This programme opened the door to more designing stylish and affordable training and she was provided with a unit at the Women accessories with crystals, beads Economic Empowerment Centre “Boutique 33”. and chains. Her story is one of searching for the correct By now she has created her business plan for the perfect ‘all-season’ market that would year-round business – chocolates. The rationale behind fulfil her business plan for an the idea was that Kuwait is a country where food is central uninterrupted income and self- to social life. Kuwaitis visit each other regularly, and they development. always show up with sweets, cakes and pastries or dishes for dinner or any occasion. In the beginning, she would purchase beads, chains and crystals wholesale and use her imagination to create a “Everyone loves chocolates” Mona Al Zayer says, “and our wide range and collection of accessories. She sold these chocolates are favoured for their range and quality.” creations at private exhibitions. Al Zayer saw that demand was cyclical and seasonal – usually more during the last While her personal favourite is milk chocolate, her week of the month when people get their salaries or during customers are drawn to her rich, dark chocolate variety. wedding seasons, for example. In her search for a more Recently, she even launched a line of diabetes chocolate, viable income source, she learned fancy gift-wrapping the new success story in her community. and rented a shop to practice gift-wrapping and special designs for weddings, anniversary boxes and other Al Zayer’s study for the project lasted almost two years. packaging. The project was successful and compatible with First, she studied machinery in terms of efficiency and her hobby, but unfortunately, capital costs were high, and cost. Next, she had to choose a reliable and high-quality this too was a seasonal business. So her hunt began again chocolate raw material supplier. Finally, she looked for a for an all-year business idea. suitable site for her factory. Around this time, she attended a conference of small and Al Zayer’s chocolate factory, Choco Chef, is now running medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurship in Kuwait successfully. It has been a challenging journey, and she organized by UNIDO ITPO Bahrain. It was an eye-opener remarks that she is still learning right and wrong. Al Zayer because it taught her the importance of strengthening says, “I am blessed that I was able to create a business her ideas with a proper business plan, and a clear capital based on my hobbies and market needs. I would advise and cash-flow assessment for long-term success. Al all would-be entrepreneurs to participate in networking Zayer was also put in touch with services that could be events and training courses in order to hone their skills utilized for the development of her project. She was then and realize their dreams.” able to participate in a capacity-building programme in 17Naziha el Koush, Lebanon Upcycling to entrepreneurial excellence Nigerian Naziha El Koush’s journey Through EDIP, we learnt about the process of starting our to entrepreneurial success in own businesses, how to manage our projects, how to faraway Lebanon is the story of market our products and lots of other important things how a skilful artist transformed that we continued to learn about in counselling sessions. seemingly useless recyclable Counselling is a continuous support and a follow-up into objects of art for interiors for all entrepreneurs to solve business problems and and won herself a reputation for find solutions” she said, The programme helped us to craftsmanship that led to a shop develop our business differently, i.e. from a professional in Hamra called Tasmim. perspective, and is always there when help or support is needed.” El Koush was able tocombine her innate artistic talent with the business skills that she learnt through the Enterprise El Koush’s husband Walid is also a UNIDO beneficiary Development and Investment Promotion Programme, such entrepreneur and when he arrived in Lebanon from as drawing up a business plan, doing a feasibility study Nigeria, the couple decided to pool their skills and and making a business budget. At the legal level, UNIDO business acumen to expand the family project. Today, they ITPO Bahrain helped El Koush to establish her business have roped in their children and El Koush’s mother and officially and taught her to market her creations. Through sister into a profitable line of customized art stationary. her training and newfound connections, El Koush was This second project reflects El Koush’s efforts to expand in able to access exhibitions and events where she could Lebanon. A true indicator of El Koush’s success is the fact showcase her creations and build her brand. Appalled by that her income has risen from a mere US100 to US2000 the growing amount of thrown away materials, considered a month. She currently employs six female staff. waste by some, El Koush took it upon herself to transform these objects into useful and unique art pieces. In her own “Lebanese women entrepreneurs are very strong and may words, “I developed my talent by studying interior design be present in the market even when working from home. and took recycling as a theme for my project. I transformed They are fighting all kinds of competition from foreign all non- useful things into art and décor objects or into labour which threatens their existence in the local market. utility items.” But entrepreneurship is a joyful and challenging voyage, especially for women. I started out as an entrepreneur to “My favourite creations are the scented soaps. I fit my ambition and my available time – I was a mother of particularly enjoy the process and the end products’ three children with free time in the mornings only. Today, versatility as a decorative house item, give-away or I have graduated from running a small home business present.” to running a successful family business that nurtures my creativity and brings in good income.” She added, “I advise entrepreneurs to take the risk. Those who participate in EDIP should grab each and every opportunity and follow the step-by-step action plan they put in place with the help of the counsellor.” 18Women Entrepreneurs. Women Empowered. samar Itani, Lebanon Playing with the sands of success Samar Itani’s idea was simple “I started to go deeper into my business, and I started and beautiful: she collected to teach art as well. But it was at the the EDIP programme sand from the seashore and in Lebanon which I attended through the Hariri NGO where used it to make creative and I realized how much goes into a successful business. We decorative art objects, or she got soft skills training and learnt about cost analysis, tinted it in various colours and pricing, marketing and more. Counselling sessions bottled it in eye-catching layers followed to bring things together, to complete the picture to decorate a home interior. of a business that turned into a career.” Growing up in a sea-side house in the Lebanese city of Through EDIP, Itani learned to improve the way she ran Byblos, she has always been mesmerized by the ancient her business and streamline it for success, expansion Phoenician legacies and the beautiful treasures found and profitability. Itani was able to re-brand her business within the sea. Yet, what began as a mere fascination soon and learnt to think big and turn her ideas into a smart turned into a love for creation. At first, she worked on her business. As a first step, her mentors in the programme own from home, and her business was a hobby where she helped her to assess the market and come up with made money by selling her creations to family and friends. a redefined product line that met market needs. The Today, Samar Handicrafts is a flourishing art business that programme helped her to gain the hard skills support by yields an income of US140,000 annually and an atelier giving an opportunity to needy housewives to work with with 28 women helping her to meet the monthly demands her and get paid depending on their productivity and at she has to deliver. Itani is also teaching in Fabriano the same time meeting her customer commitments. The College, and she is a partner in an art college-gallery. She support from EDIP enabled Itani to expand from Lebanon also runs a training centre through which she mentors to the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, especially other women entrepreneurs and passes on the lessons she after she participated in the UNIDO women entrepreneurs’ learnt in the UNIDO ITPO Bahrain Enterprise Development forum in Bahrain. As a member in the Artisan League, Itani and Investment Promotion Programme. helped to establish EDIP - Lebanon Entrepreneurs’ Market, a permanent exhibition with the support of the Ministry of “I went into business on my own in order to support my Industry. family through additional income, before becoming the only breadwinner for three teenage boys,” she recalls. “I Itani says, “Lebanese women entrepreneurs are good started from home creating artistic projects until I felt the fighters; they are struggling to survive in a male-dominated need to learn new hard skills to reshape my talent. So I society. I advise ntrepreneurs to focus on their businesses went to an art school and studied art and design.” so they can finally start and grow their own dream.” 19rim siam, egypt Mentoring women for the future Rim Siam is an ambitious Country Manager. She has also won several awards for her Egyptian woman entrepreneur work as a businesswoman and mentor. who has succeeded in making a mark as far afield as the UAE A strong believer in giving back to the community, Siam and Asia and who has reached has been a mentor for women entrepreneurs globally. out to women entrepreneurs She believes that women make excellent entrepreneurs, globally through the creation so playing an important role in connecting them by using of an internet-based women’s the internet as a springboard to economic participation marketplace called WEBB is a great use of resources.Through her women’s International Middle East Ltd. business e-marketplace, WEBB International Middle This offshore company offers a wide spectrum of business East Ltd., Siam has created an offshore online business and consulting services in order to develop cross-cultural platform that brings together female entrepreneurs to connections and cross-border business relations. From form a powerful economic force. Siam embarked on an the beginning, Siam showed signs of great leadership. ambitious mentoring outreach program in association She chose a line of business completely different from with UNIDO ITPO Bahrain. She is participating in the her family business – antique dealing. “To be an antique “Empowering 20,000 Women and Youth by 2020” dealer was not easy in the beginning. I was living in a project. In this project, UNIDO ITPO Bahrain will work conservative society and working in a market that was through 200 leaders in Arab and African countries to male-dominated without any experience and with little build a network of Training of Trainers (TOT) leaders. capital of my own,” she recalls, “but I loved antiques These trainers will provide entrepreneurship training to and was very determined. I first started working on a women entrepreneurs, helping them to translate their consignment basis. Next, I started attending international idea from “image to income.” The training lessons reach auctions and learned how to become a bidder. Soon the maximum number of would-be women entrepreneurs I made the transition from dealer to manufacturer of through the TOT. The leaders will be building capacities detailed reproductions.” to gain quality management knowledge and expertise. Each leader will be responsible for sponsoring the training In 2004, Siam’s new business of reproduction of antiques of 100 women and youth in their countries. As a member entered the Gulf market when she opened a branch of of the core 200 in this project, Siam lends depth and the company in the Ras al Khaimah Free Trade Zone in credibility to the ambitious target of 20,000 beneficiary the United Arab Emirates. Since then, she has marketed women entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa her products through exhibitions and gained visibility region by 2020. As a trader in local and global market, and success. She has also pioneered a new line of Siam’s advice to entrepreneurs is “Do not count what you business – the restoration and recreation for value have lost. The past never comes back but sometimes the of traditional oriental handmade carpets by adding success and the future can give you back what you have hand-painted features and using them as interior décor lost even more than the early losses. Remain committed statement pieces. Throughout her journey to success in to your dreams. See what you have now and continue to business, Siam observed the interaction between different trade-off between benefits and risks until you achieve your nationalities and how they worked to gain competitive dreams.” advantage in the global market. She channeled her ambition and her observations into various professional When asked about one of her most memorable bodies such as the Egyptian Economy Businesswomen’s experiences, she said: “In November 2015, WEBB received Council/the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce of which support from UN Women and the UN Global Compact. she is Founder-President; the Asian-Arab Chamber of This allowed us to take action in support of the UN Commerce of which she is the Director in Egypt, and the Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG5) and the Women’s Hot Mommas Project affiliated to the George Washington Empowerment Principles by creating the first women’s University School of Business of which she is Regional business enterprise platform.” 20Women Entrepreneurs. Women Empowered. editha Lewela, Kenya Putting the community first Edith Lewela’s life has always been Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Programme a quest for success, governed by her in Bahrain. She describes this experience as an eye-opener twin passions of personal ambition for her. Upon her return to Kenya, Lewela consolidated her and the urge to mentor other women volunteer work to make a formal platform of work. She wrote to and youth in order to help them the Kenyan President to request the establishment of a Mining to find their true calling. Her first University, and this was done. Next, she wrote a proposal to successful business was unusual Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology to train because it dealt with transforming small-scale miners. This too was well-received and in 2011, people through her knowledge and seven women and eleven men graduated in gemology from using her persuasive powers to this course. The logical next step was to establish a gemstone open new channels of business and profits for the common centre for value addition. The centre, which is currently being folk. In her hometown of Taita Taveta, there was an abundance constructed under Lewela’s supervision, will act as a one-stop of gemstones, notably red garnets. However, Lewela saw centre for a variety of gemstones and as a tourist destination. It that the benefits of this rich natural mineral wealth did not thereby serves the greater goal of facilitating employment and reach the people. Instead, the poor were made to believe that wealth creation. In addition, the centre will train people with red garnet gems were associated with evil and told to sell disabilities to utilize the gemstones to perform faceting and their gemstone-rich land for throwaway prices. At that time, artwork. Since then, she has received training in empowering Lewela was employed by the Ministry of Agriculture’s Range women entrepreneurs through grassroots incubation projects, Management Division in her hometown. She believed strongly attending a course jointly conducted by JUKAT and the Japan that the wealth of gemstones in Taita Taveta must be used to International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Following this, Lewela improve the lives of the poor. Even after she got married and was elected to be a trainer- of-trainers, and she has reached moved to Nairobi, Lewela kept thinking of how she could help over 3,000 women and youth to encourage them to follow their the poor in Taita Taveta. The first step was to challenge the dreams and achieve entrepreneurial success. government to use the gemstone wealth of the place for the poor there. This caused much talk because Lewela was married Lewela remarks, “I have always been confident and capable. to a Kenya Air Force officer, so other officers’ wives challenged But after participating in the EDIP programme, I developed a her saying that “your husband is in the military, and you are corporate vision and my entrepreneurial zeal was polished. challenging the Government.” But Lewela was undeterred. In addition, I was able to communicate my skills and lessons She read up on the Mining Act of 1946 and assessed its learnt to other women and youth, thus multiplying the bottlenecks. She approached the Ministry of Mining and some benefit of my work. Today, I own land where I grow fruits, organizations, and they supported her ideas of sensitizing the hibiscus and herbal tea and spices. I own livestock and communities about mining. She also involved the Government grazing land. I own eight mining locations where gemstones, and human rights organizations in order to change the parts on industrial minerals and agro-minerals are available. I am the Mining Act which were not suitable for the community. The proud that I have broken many stereotypes in Kenya – I own Ministry and organizations cooperated and worked together to my farmland unlike many working farm women. I am actively rectify the Mining Act. involved in the mining sector, and I generate employment in communities. I am not afraid to push for legal change of the Now that the poor had access to the gemstones, what could system. I participated in the drafting of the Mining Bill, and I they do with it? Lewela started training them in handicrafts was founder of the Kenya Chamber of Mines – Coast Chapter. and in marketing of their crafts as well as in tourism. Her I was elected as a Chairperson of Community Development volunteer efforts were recognized by organizations such Tourism. I was also elected and officially announced by the as the Kenya Investment Authority and the Jomo Kenyatta Minister of Environment and Natural Resources as Women’s University of Agriculture and Technology (JUKAT). In 2009, the Representative on the Larger Taita District Environment Kenya Investment Authority recommended Lewela to attend a Committee”. Today, she continues to mentor women and capacity-building programme, namely the UNIDO ITPO Bahrain youth. 21Prof. Dr. Ing. Lingling Li, china – shanghai Unleashing the power of entrepreneurial mentoring Prof. Dr. Ing. Lingling Li is the She uses these various platforms to sow the seeds of head of Tongji University’s innovative entrepreneurship. Part of her success is that Entrepreneurship Education established successful entrepreneurs and students from Research Centre, a trainer for previous years are invited to present and lecture to new UNIDO ITPO Bahrain and an classes of eager entrepreneurs-to-be. These stories and official expert on the Ministry of the students’ interaction with real experiences compose Education’s Entrepreneurship a highly effective teaching method. Her students have Training Steering Committee. She successfully fanned out into agriculture, environmental founded and lectures at Tongji monitoring, entertainment and retail. University’s Entrepreneurship and Disciplines, Drive and Control of Entrepreneurial In her own words: “In 2005, I won a tender advertised Energy. by the Shanghai Education Commission to provide 1,500 schools with 45,000 educational games. At that Apart from her very hands-on classroom lectures, she also time, I didn’t have any background in marketing, sales has a solid and popular online course presence. In 2012 or publishing educational games. I just relied on my her course was filmed by China’s biggest digital library desire to let the children play and learn. This success put provider, Chaoxing Group. This course included interviews me on the path I am still walking on: I started teaching with successful entrepreneurs and was made available to entrepreneurship courses to help students become college students all over the country. That same year, she successful entrepreneurs and senior directors, then the cooperated with Beijing’s Tsinghua University professor Lu. rest followed.” With a network meeting system funded by the Cisco Group, they realized a virtual Silicon Valley, connecting Beijing “China has a strong tradition of entrepreneurs. Having and Shanghai though weekly lectures using the new your own business is accepted and widespread here. On conference system, which can serve thousands of people. the other hand, China’s tradition says women first need to take care of the people around them, without regret or “What first inspired me,” she says, “was the global vision complaint: there is no one to cheer for them, no one to of Dr. Hussein, Head of UNIDO ITPO Bahrain. It was he comfort them when they are down. who inspired me to teach and help my students to adopt a similar, hands-on and practical approach to achieving On top of that, men and women really are very different, success.” with different needs and problems. That makes it a challenge for Chinese women to be successful She has created the online group Entrepreneurship entrepreneurs. They must deal with these issues, and Frequency Harbour to interactively reach the students of they must have a strong desire for inner growth and national colleges and universities through China’s WeChat self-education, to find the balance in being a woman and app. Professor Li gives a live audio seminar once a week, perhaps a mother and an entrepreneur. I’ve found that followed by a lengthy question and answer session where meditation works well to achieve that balance to stay on she acts as the students’ mentor and offers personal course, to stay energized and motivated towards your guidance. Each seminar attracts over 500 participants and entrepreneurial goals.” is also followed up on her Sina blog. 22

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