I attended this forum at AUS, which was lovely and connected with old friends and met new friends. The session, of women in SME empowerment, was the most amazing one, and it touched my heart, because all the researchers in the world as well as organizations like UNDP, Worldbank and many others all reach to the same conclusion, that is:
Lack of finance
This is of course applicable to MENA region, but the researchers think that it's could be applicable to women in the world.
Anyway, I took few important notes from the panel, here they are:
1- Dr Caroline freund
The larger are the firms, the more jobs they will create.
There are few firms per capita, low entry rates, and old firms stay
There is high unemployment rate for female who are available for work and are educated
Women employment in female owned jobs is lower than men employment
But in firms managed (not owned) by women, they hire more women
If women own or run jobs then we could have:
Dynamic private sector
Create more jobs
Create better jobs
2-Dr Shaikha Almaskari, Almaskari group, Tricon group UAE (I researched her, she owns a large group of company in many fields like education, oil fields, health, security etc)
Three things are important for women
1 take stock of what you have
Study the competition
She also advised as to:
Be proud of being a woman.
Enjoy the joy of life
She created a micro credit financing in a city in turkey, now 40000 successful businesses in turkey benefit from this project. Also she established an airport security Institute and a paramedic institute.
Another advise is to have more babies otherwise we are giving our husbands a reason to cheat (she means that men can marry more than wife so if one wants fewer kids, he can legally marry another one)
Overall the most interesting panel speaker.
3- Mrs Nicola Ehllermann-Cache
She works at OECD investment programme(of course I researched this to find out whom do they give lend to? But of course if you go to the website, you will be able to find a big NOTHING, makes me wonder the validity of all UN organizations) she talked about the usual, that is low finance for women's projects, and low success rates etc etc.
A point was raised about child care and also the women do not want to work because if the marriage dissolves she gets nothing except the prenuptial agreement. Women are not asked to spend on the household, so can she save that money and use it for financing her project? Not sure
Children can also prevent women from working.
Wars made women work? is this true?
Well to me, none of the above satisfies the reality of life. I think men and women can succeed if they want to succeed. We all may lack finance, encouragement, self confidence, drive, positivity, perseverance, and many other qualities that are required by entrepreneurs, however the idea itself can be worth millions, so, being men or women it doesn't matter, if we can work that idea, then we will succeed. If we don't get finance, then let's borrow from the three F's ( family, friends and fools).
A word of caution, don't borrow money from a bank, they are there to screw everybody, so it's best to find people who believe in your idea to invest and partner with you, otherwise you will either cut your profits to a quarter or will make you a wanted victim waiting to go to prison.
If you want advise and tips on establishing a business, call me.