UAE addressing the startup gender gap

Directory launched for women-founded businesses
Jen Blandos, CEO of Female Fusion

Start-ups founded by women in the MENA raised $34.6 million in 2021, only 1.2 percent of the region’s total venture capital funding, according to data from Wamda. All-male founders, meanwhile, raised $2.6 billion across 526 deals, or 91.5 percent of the total last year, the data showed.

It will take 135.6 years to close the gender gap worldwide if the current trajectory in the growth of female entrepreneurs continues, according to the Global Gender Gap Report 2021.

In this context, The UAE ranked among the top five “most improved” countries for making progress on gender parity last year, the report found.

Half of all small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UAE are women-owned, while 48 percent of women business owners are also the sole owners of their companies, according to the Ministry of Economy.

Moreover, a new business directory listing female-founded businesses in the UAE has been launched to offer more exposure to women-run companies.

The platform, created by Female Fusion, a professional community for female entrepreneurs, makes it easy for potential customers to discover verified and legal businesses in the UAE and support their growth, the company said in a statement.

The Female Fusion directory will list businesses where female founders hold a share of 51 percent or more, as well as companies that are led by women, it said. The community currently has more than 20,000 members.

The business directory lists companies in more than 1,500 categories, ranging from pet services and personal coaching to legal entities and more.

Business owners must submit their trade licenses annually to Female Fusion to initiate the verification process and to confirm that they are licensed, the company said.