Saluting Top Emirati Women on Women’s Day

A global hub of trade, the UAE has welcomed entrepreneurs from around the world. Over the years its leaders have created a more supportive environment for even women to set up ventures and by doing so, they’ve broken the barriers for them to realize their full potential. From real estate, aviation to retail, women in leadership roles are shaping the future of business in UAE and affecting positive change.

Busting stereotypes, Emirati women have also demonstrated their enormous potential by establishing business powerhouses. Several support organizations in the UAE have played a key role in nurturing their women to take on leadership roles. As the National Director of CorporateConnections, a premier business networking platform, I credit a few organizations for mentoring young women and pay tribute to leading Emirati women leaders this Women’s Day.

– Dubai Businesswomen Council (DBWC) is an organization that empowers women entrepreneurs and supports them in business development. Their She’s Next, global advocacy programme, offers specialised training, tools and guidance as well as funding to foster economic growth.

– The Sharjah Economic Development Department (SEDD) offers full-fledged support to qualifying women and encourages them to take on opportunities that contribute to a sustainable development.

– Various Emirati entities help businesswomen overcome the obstacles in establishing new enterprises. These include Sharjah Foundation for Supporting Entrepreneurship (RUWAD), Sharjah Entrepreneurship Centre (SHERAA) and Nama Women Advancement Establishment (NAMA) whose initiatives have helped mushroom several promising businesses of today.

– In addition, UAE’s resilient business ecosystem has floated a series of legal, policy and institutional measures to ensure gender parity including easier access to finance. Recent government measures and work reforms have created a level playing ground making the environment more conducive for working women.

On Women’s Day, I profile 3 inspiring Emirati women who are a fusion of talent and passion and from whom budding entrepreneurs can draw inspiration.

Mariam Almheiri

A Graduate in Mechanical Engineering, HE Mariam Almheiri serves as the Minister of Climate Change and Environment in the UAE. She priorly served as the Minister of State for Food Security spearheading smart agricultural solutions to tackle scarcity issues. She is also a driving force behind UAE’s marine conservation efforts.

Najla Al Mifda

An MBA from Stanford University, Najla Al Mifda, is considered a patron for entrepreneurs in the UAE. Serving as the CEO of Sharjah Entrepreneurship Centre (SHERAA), over 100 startups were given a successful launchpad under her leadership. She is also the Vice-Chairman of Young Arab Leaders, founder of Education for Employment UAE, Women Corporate Directors GCC and Khayarat, a career counselling platform for Emiratis.

Suzanne Al Anani

A key figure in Middle East Aviation, Suzanne Al Anani is the CEO of Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects (DAEP). She is credited for steering strategy and plans for iconic projects like Dubai International and Al Maktoum International Airport. Forbes ranked her as one of the most powerful businesswomen in the Middle East for her initiatives that led to the tremendous growth of the aviation sector.