Women entrepreneurs’ access to investment funding may get easier thanks in large part to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The UAE has pledged, along with Saudi Arabia, to donate 100 million dollars to a fund devoted to helping women start and run businesses. The donation will be part of a projected one-billion-dollar fund operated by the World Bank that will be formally announced in July. Named the Women Entrepreneurs Fund, it will assist women in the Middle East access markets, obtain financing, and engage in networking crucial to building a successful business.
The creation of the Women Entrepreneurs Fund represents international recognition of the importance of women in leadership positions in business. Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba (https://www.facebook.com/Yousef-Al-Otaiba-162542037255423/), the UAE ambassador to the United States, issued a statement calling the donation a reflection of the positive, widespread influence of women in UAE society.
The Fund was suggested by Ivanka Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The UAE donation was announced in Saudi Arabia during President Donald Trump’s first presidential foreign trip. During the trip, Ivanka Trump visited with Saudi women to discuss the unique challenges women face in finding economic opportunities. They also talked about ways to overcome those challenges. Even though the fund was her idea, Ivanka Trump will not be involved with the fund’s operation or participate in any fundraising. Instead, complete responsibility for the fund remains with the World Bank.
World Bank president Jim Young Kim touted the fund as an outstanding idea. He credits Ivanka Trump’s leadership in bringing attention to the needs of women entrepreneurs as an important component of the fund’s establishment. He also expressed surprise at how fast the fund has already grown in recognition. The UAE donation provides a crucial boost to the fund that Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba calls further proof of the UAE’s dedication to ensuring that women have the power to make their own economic choices benefiting themselves and society.