Sheikha Jawaher opens "Souq Anwan" in Dibba Al Hisn, "Jeel" business incubators for women entrepreneurs

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SHARJAH, 9th December 2015 (WAM) --- Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and Honorary Chairperson of the Sharjah Business Women Council (SBWC), on Tuesday opened the "Souq Anwan" and inaugurated business incubators under "Jeel" initiative. The initiative is launched by SBWC in collaboration with Education For Employment (EFE) to support women entrepreneurs.

During the opening ceremony, Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi said the development projects undertaken by Sharjah are in line with the vision and aspirations of H.H. Sheikh Ruler of Sharjah in order to consolidate the emirate's economic and social positions and provide support for citizens to develop their potential and lead the way for a better future.

Expressing confidence in young Emiratis and in their ability to excel in various fields, specifically in the business sector, Sheikha Jawaher said, "The UAE attracts creative people and entrepreneurs, and is a centre for creativity and innovation due to its strong economic, geographic and peaceful foundations, thus occupying a prestigious position on the global map. We also have young talents in the women and men who started their journey into the world of business with small projects that went on to become international successes, thanks to their faith and confidence in themselves, their ideas and hard work, as well as the support the UAE leadership."

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It is important, she added, to provide all necessary means to empower women to produce successful businesses. "We want young men and women in Dibba Al Hisn, which is referred to as "The Utopian City" by H.H. Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi to rely on themselves to establish an epicenter for entrepreneurship and excellence in their city. I am pleased to be here today in Dibba Al Hisn to open "Souq Anwan", and I am extremely proud of every young man and woman who has invested in one of the new market stores. I am confident that if they work hard, with passion and devotion they will grow, expand and innovate in their respective sectors and competencies."

"Dibba Al Hisn is a utopian city, due to its people and civilization. We want the present generation to preserve its gains and achievements, develop its future, and contribute to launching innovative projects that help to speed up the process of economic and social empowerment by turning the city into a destination for innovative and successful male and female entrepreneurs who are looking to go beyond the boundaries of the emirate and the UAE and expand internationally."

Sheikha Jawaher said, "Science and knowledge are important to the success of any project, along with support and encouragement. We will seek through "Souq Anwan" to provide all means of support to young men and women in Dibba Al Hisn, whether through stores in the market, or through "Jeel" enterprise initiative. We will offer all the necessary training and advice to male and female entrepreneurs through the business incubators which will act as a platform for them to excel and lead."

Following the opening ceremony, Sheikha Jawaher visited the Souq and met with women who benefit from the stores and listened to the briefs about their enterprises. She expressed pride in the role played by young Emirati men and women in economic life and their desire to provide products that meet the needs of the country.

During her tour, Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi visited the SBWC’s "Bidwa" centre, which opened its first training centre in Souq Anwan, and was briefed about the training provided to Emirati women learning ‘Talli’ craft. At the "Bidwa" centre were Emirati women participating in the project and students from the Italian Academy who are visiting Sharjah as part of the collaboration between the academy and SBWC.

After the opening, Sheikha Jawaher inaugurated the business incubators in Souq Anwan, which will be home to "Jeel" initiative launched by the SWBC recently. She was briefed about the services provided by the incubators and met with women benefiting from the project.

The opening ceremony was attended by Ameera BinKaram, Chairperson of the Board of SBWC, Ron Bruder, founder of Education for Employment (EFE), Sara Bern, Programme Specialist at UN Women, Noura Al Noman, Director-General the Executive Office of Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, and representatives of government bodies and private organisations.

During her visit, Sheikh Jawaher Al Qasimi witnessed the signing of cooperation agreement of Jeel initiative, that was launched by SBWC. The co-operation agreement was signed by Sharjah Business Women Council and Education for Employment. In the same context, sbe was briefed by EFE about their plans for female entrepreneurs in Sharjah as part of the partnership between them and SBWC and received special honour from EFE in recognition of her effort to support young men and women in the business sector.

She thanked Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) for their support and contribution to the establishment of Souq Anwan and its Incubators and extended her appreciation to all public and private entities in Sharjah for their co-operation with Souq Anwan’s management and Jeel initiative, in achieving their goal and encouraging the younger generation to excel in entrepreneurship and excellence.

Souq Anwan offers outstanding opportunities for young men and women in Dibba Al Hisn to establish a footing in the business world with 15 stores within the business incubators. The pioneering initiative "Jeel" includes various training packages, such as workshops, group and individual training courses, professional and financial consulting, and studies and surveys to monitor the market needs according regions and cities.

The initiative will operate in various cities across Sharjah and men from Dibba Al Hisn will be allowed to take part as an exception in order to encourage their wives, daughters and sisters to set up their own business.

The SBWC seeks, through this initiative, to support and develop entrepreneurial ideas among Emirati girls and women in Sharjah to start businesses that contribute to the economic development and empowerment of the emirate. The initiative aims to create a generation of professional women capable of innovating, managing and developing businesses in a professional and creative manner.

On November 23, 2015, Education For Employment and partners Bayt.com and YouGov launched the research initiative First Jobs for Young Women in the Middle East & North Africa: Expectations and Reality.

With over a quarter of the region’s young people locked out of the workforce, there are few issues in MENA that have proven as intractable as youth unemployment. The situation is particularly bleak for young women: in some MENA countries, over 40% are unemployed. Yet if women’s employment equaled that of men’s, the region could see a 47% rise in GDP over the next decade, according to a recent report. On a personal level, women’s employment can foster the dignity and financial independence that transform individuals and families.

The First Jobs for Young Women in the Middle East & North Africa: Expectations and Reality focused specifically on young women in MENA to understand where their expectations around recruitment and workplace benefits might diverge from those of employers, and how the attitudes of each group might influence women’s participation in the workforce.

The research points to concrete actions that employers, NGOs, governments and young women themselves can adopt to help more young women enter and stay at work.

1. First, we need to build better pathways into the working world.

2. Equipping job seekers with the right skills, information and expectations is equally important.

3. If we want to encourage more women to enter the workforce, the benefits and policies that employers implement should focus on what really matters to young women.

4. Finally, it is important to raise awareness of the current demand for women employees in the workplace, and further increase this demand.

There are tangible steps that governments, NGOs, employers and young women themselves can undertake to increase women’s participation in the workforce. If they succeed, the impact of women on economies and societies across MENA could be profound. You can read the full white paper findings hereand read a blog with recommendations for employers and the development community featured by the Concordia Summit.

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On November 4th at the WISE Summit in Qatar, EuropEFE CEO Salvatore Nigro presented EFE’s work in a private CEO roundtable discussion on “Closing the Skills Gap, the Role of Employers.” The discussion addressed how employers and higher education institutions can best coordinate their investment in education and learning, as well as ensure that students are job-ready and that their talent and skills are sustained and developed throughout their professional life.

The goal of the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) Summit is to bring decision makers, influential experts and practitioners together to explore groundbreaking innovations and take concrete steps to make significant improvements to worldwide education. The annual WISE Summit is the premier international platform dedicated to innovation and creative action in education where top decision-makers share insights with on-the-ground practitioners and collaborate to rethink education.

For more on the roundtable and the summit, Click Here.

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On October 27th at the Emirates Foundation Youth Philanthropy Summit in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Education For Employment’s Vice President of Programs and Affiliate Services represented EFE’s Youth Philanthropy Stream on “The Coming Jobs Challenge: Employee Engagement and Enterprise.” Alongside leaders such as Maysa Jalbout, CEO of the Al Ghurair Education Foundation and Bathylle Missika, Head of Policy Dialogue of OECD NetFWD, Taleb addressed the role that the business community can play in increasing employment opportunities for youth in the Arab world.

The Emirates Foundation is an independent philanthropic organization set up by the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi to facilitate public-private funded initiatives to improve the welfare of people across the UAE. Over the past seven years they have helped over 28,000 young people make positive contributions to their communities.

For a review of what took place at the summit, check out this short video.

For information on the summit and its speakers, click here.

emirates foundation summit

From October 6-8 in Washington D.C, Education For Employment (EFE) Vice President, Programs & Affiliate Services Taleb Salhab and Accenture Global Director of Corporate Citizenship Lisa Neuberger-Fernandez discussed their experience and strategic recommendations for scaling youth workforce development programming in the MENA region. Drawing on key findings and recommendations gained through program evaluations and consultancies on EFE’s work in Morocco, they presented best practices and challenges related to scaling youth employment programs.

The summit focused on engaging global development stakeholders with a platform and facilitating the exchange of information and raising the bar for how to increase economic opportunities for young people worldwide.

To read more about the summit and its participants, Click Here

To watch what participants have to say about the summit, check out the video overview