UNIDO activities to support Women Business Associations in the MENA region


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The project “Promoting Women’s Empowerment for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development” (PWE), is now in its second phase and seeks to further strengthen women associations in the MENA region so that they can continue to respond to the needs of women entrepreneurs, particularly in these troubled times.

However, in what is no doubt a familiar story, our PWE II operations in the past year have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic? Faced with these challenges, we focused on catalyzing support through the virtual Women in Industry and Innovation Conference as well as completing various studies that help us to better understand the immediate and long-term needs of women entrepreneurs in the MENA region.

In 2021, we would like to take the wealth of data and knowledge as well as emerging opportunities to reinvigorate our work with you. Here are three initiatives :

  1. They are working in partnership with Female Factor, which is holding the global Limitless Conference on 5 May 2021. The Female Factor is a female leader’s development initiative that supports women with capacity-building opportunities by connecting them with mentors, skills, brands and professionals in order to close the leadership gap. In addition to panels, masterclasses and a facilitated discussion with the leadership of women’s networks and associations, the conference will provide 1-to-1 match-making between participants and we are working with female factor to organise three networking spaces specifically for the MENA region. They think that this might be a valuable opportunity for BWE21 network and members and would be keen to explore this further with you.
  2. They have also developed a catalogue of online trainings that they are rolling out in the MENA region. The catalogue includes trainings targeting both institutions, SMEs, associations and women entrepreneurs that they can rapidly deploy in various languages (English, French and Arabic). In addition to the topics already included.
  3. They have developed in partnership with Bridge for Billions, a digital incubation tool -IDEA app– and aim at working with women’s associations to create virtual incubation hubs in the various PWE II countries. They plan to launch a test run among women entrepreneurs in the MENA region and would like to explore whether this would be something of interest for our association (enrolling members in the programme but also receiving training on becoming an incubation hub manager using the IDEA approach).