The Department of Economic Development in Abu Dhabi in cooperation with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ,) the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) organized a workshop entitled Prospective Businesswomen ... Overcoming Obstacles” at the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research(ECSSR) in participation of about 50 students from colleges and universities in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.The workshop reviewed the new opportunities and incentives that will increase participation of women in business sector and encourage them to take further responsibility in contribution to the economic and social development in the state, through the exploitation of the potential and the support provided to them by the government of the UAE, and especially the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.The workshop focused on highlighting the best practices on how to establish and manage projects. The first of two groups formed by the workshop, dealt with providing practical examples of means to prepare financial plans and how access official legal procedures, which are essential for establishing any small or medium enterprise or company. The second group concentrated on clarifying the scientific methods to create a communication network for the promotion of business; and ways to study the market and its requirements.Her Excellency Dr. Maitha Al Shamsi, Minister of State, in her speech at the opening of the workshop which was attended by HE Nicole Levon Hoev the Ambassador of Federal Republic of Germany, said that the Government of the UAE attaches great importance to promote the private sector and create strategic partnerships, to boost this sector and enable it to be a key partner in national development.HE Dr. Maitha, pointed out that business women in the State are considered as one of the most important national segments on which the UAE government depends in the development of the national economy. The minister explained that the trend is to open up wider horizons for women businesses and investments, by providing facilities and incentives for them to enable them to achieve success for their enterprises.The State Minister Dr. Maitha Al Shamsi addressed the universities and colleges female students and provided them with guidelines and advice to assist them to achieve success in their career, pointing to her own experience and the stations that she passed through, in her career, and caused her to achieve success on the practical level and working life.Shorooq Abdullah Al Zaabi, the Head of the Economic Development Indicators Section, in turn, gave a speech on behalf of the Department of Economic Development in which she emphasized the essence of the efforts of all stakeholders in raising awareness of the important role of UAE women in economic development, which has seen tremendous growth in recent years.Shorooq indicated that during the past three decades, UAE women have made considerable progress in the field of work, pointing out that the level of employment of female citizens in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is the highest in the GCC countries.Ms Shorooq reported that, according to the latest data, females accounted for 32% of the total population in Abu Dhabi during the period (2005-2010), and that 47% of total graduates from private colleges are females, while the share of female citizens in the national work force amounted to 20.3% in mid 2010.Shorooq Al Zaabi said that the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi continues in its commitment to provide more support and empowerment of women, as evidently appears in Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, which confirmed in Goal 5 the supporting and increasing of women participation in the workforce, particularly in rural areas, and the need to provide financial support for home businesses and encourage working from home.Al Zaabi extended thanks and appreciation on behalf of the Department of Economic Development to Her Excellency the State Minister Dr. Maitha Al Shamsi, for sponsoring workshop, and to the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research(ECSSR)for hosting this event and commended the level of partnership and cooperation between the Department of Economic Development, the GIZ, the Conrad Adenauer Establishment( KAS) and the representatives of universities and colleges participating in this event.
The workshop included a review by the Economic Development Department of the results of a survey conducted on a group of universities and college students in Abu Dhabi, to detect their future perspectives and vision. In answer to a question about their preferred field of work after graduation, 82.2% expressed their wish to get a job in the field of their studies, while 11.1% expressed their wish to establish their own private work, and 6.7% expressed their desire to complete their education in higher studies. .The poll results showed that 57% of the students have relatives who run private business. As for whether they would consider establishing their own businesses at any stage of their careers, 81.5% said “yes”, and the rest refrained.Those who answered “Yes”, were asked to determine the best time as to when they would prefer to start their businesses. About 82.1% said they will start their businesses after securing jobs and gaining the necessary experience, while 18% expressed their desire to start their business after graduation.In answer to whether they prefer to set up private business in the field of academic specialization, 82% of said that it should not necessarily be so.As for the sectors most preferred by students for setting their private business, 58% of preferred the services sector, 24% went for the commercial sector, and the remainder opted for the industrial sector. Regarding type of activity, 39% preferred to start health clubs, around 17% favored garments activity and 13% went for restaurants and coffee shops.70% of female students preferred sole ownership private business, and the rest expressed their desire in jointly-owned projects. In response to a question about the source of finance needed to start their projects, 71% expressed a desire to obtain finance from citizen supporting entities, while 21% opted for private or family sources, 8% expressed desire to obtain finance from banks.In answer to a question about knowledge of procedures necessary for starting and registering a private business, 24% responded that they were adequately acquainted with the procedure, 47% revealed that to some extent they have sufficient knowledge, while 29% of them said that their knowledge is inadequate. Upon asking female students about their knowledge of citizens supportive and encouraging entities, 85% of them said yes they know, 15% said they don’t know about such entities. In response to a question about their sources of knowledge about these entities, 79% of students answered that their knowledge came from awareness raising campaigns, and 12 % gained knowledge from private sources.As for requirements needed to start and manage a special project, 55% of female students answered that they need training, 42% expressed that they need financing and 3% indicated that they need encouragement and support from other businesswomen the ladies.Concerning the means needed for strengthening the orientation of women to start and manage their own private projects, 28% of female students expressed their willingness to listen and learn from the experiences of businesswomen, 26% revealed their desire that citizens supporting entities provide programs campaigns to encourage them to start private businesses. 24% of female students expressed their need to be supplied with information on the services provided by some entities such as banks to encourage private business, 22% asserted the need to take into account educational curriculum to encourage students to engage in private business.In response to a question about the most important obstacles which face private business, 39% of female students indicated the existence of family related obstacles, 27% pointed to fear of failure in management of a private project, 18% referred to difficulty in obtaining finance, and 12% specified the need have support and encouragement.The results of the survey concluded that female students are not in favor of the stereotype model of view that sees them just as housewives, in addition to the lack of a clear vision or standards among students when choosing their education specializations and that most of the female students have good knowledge of business registration procedures.The results of the survey also stated that training and funding are among the most important obstacles that may face prospective businesswomen. It revealed the craving of female students to learn more about the experiences of established businesswomen in the State.