Why Should Women Entrepreneurs Consider the UAE To Start a Business?

Women constitute about 70% of the UAE’s university graduates and 44% of the total workforce. These statistics explain why women are key to the UAE’s economic future. With a surge in women entrepreneur support groups and increased funding for new businesses, there have never been better entrepreneurial opportunities for women to start businesses in the UAE than now. Listed below are the top 5 reasons women entrepreneurs should consider the UAE to achieve their entrepreneurial dreams.

1. Business Environment That Supports Gender Equality

  • The UAE business environment is committed to driving equality in the business world.It recognizes greater gender equality than any other country in the MENA region.
  • The UAE government is driving initiatives to address gender equality in the workforce directly. It pledged $50m to the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative fund in 2017, leading to the closure of 64% of the overall gender gap in the UAE workforce.
  • Gender equality is one of the UAE government’s declared sustainable development goals so that it becomes one of the top 25 countries in the world for gender equality by 2021.

2. Various Government Initiatives

  • A plethora of opportunities are now available to female entrepreneurs in the UAE, regardless of where they come from.
  • The UAE government has started several initiatives to help female entrepreneurs succeed in their businesses. These initiatives include:
    • The Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC), a non-profit organization that provides education, training, and funding opportunities to aid the entrepreneurial aspirations of the UAE-based businesswomen. 
    • The Abu Dhabi Business Women Council (ADBWC)’s Integrated and Innovative Business Incubator for women that caters to new business ideas. This incubator helps women identify their latent creative potential and translate ideas into productive projects. It offers technical support, advice and guidance, and even some funding. 
    • The Dubai Women Establishment (DWE), a longstanding initiative that hosts an annual Women Leadership Exchange Programme to provide guidance on sustainable leadership practices and offers great networking opportunities.

3. Support Through Private Company Partnerships:

  • Private companies regularly form partnerships with UAE government agencies and charities to provide in-depth training and increased capital to women entrepreneurs. 
  • The Women Entrepreneurship Summit MENA is a strategic platform aimed at women entrepreneurs across the Middle East and North Africa region.
  • ‘Womena,’ a media company that produces content focused on female founders, also functions as an accelerator and network for women entrepreneurs. In March 2018, Womena launched Womentum, its early-stage accelerator program for female-founded start-ups. 
  • The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, in partnership with JPMorgan Chase Foundation, offers business training to UAE women.
  • ME, a Dubai-based development consultancy, runs an annual entrepreneurship program called Women-able to empower women-led SMEs. It focuses on developing entrepreneurial and practical business skills and building confidence.
  • The social media giant Facebook, with support from Emirates Foundation and Sheera Sharjah, has launched #SheMeansBusiness (SMBs) to train and facilitate thousands of UAE women entrepreneurs on establishing their own online businesses.
  • The Khalifa Fund focuses on aiding UAE women entrepreneurs by securing funds and providing legal support and other procedural assistance. Women can apply for funds through its various programs catering to different financing needs. 

4. Business Setup Packages Exclusively for Women:

  • Free zones are a perfect place to start a business in the UAE.
  • Free zones offer streamlined setup processes, customizable offices/Flexi workstations, and one-stop resources for government services. 

5. Return-to-Work Options For Women After Childbirth:

  • Companies in the UAE are developing technology-based solutions to make the return-to-work process easy for women after childbirth. For example, the Dubai-based recruitment company Hopscotch has an online platform through which women are offered training and skills sessions. The company also provides opportunities to women at all stages of their careers through its network and initiatives.
  • Creating an inclusive work environment that accommodates everyone, regardless of life commitments, has bolstered the UAE’s economy and encouraged more women to start businesses.


With easy access to financing options, coaching opportunities, and business networks, more and more women are now looking to the UAE to set up their businesses across a variety of industries.

Sharjah Media City (Shams) free zone offers a wide range of options and a great deal of support to both Emirati and expat women entrepreneurs. That is why many women choose Shams over other free zones to set up their businesses.

If you are a women entrepreneur looking to set up your business in Shams, then contact Shams free zone authorities today! Call 800 (Shams) 74267 or visit www.shams.ae for more information.


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