Cooperation project: Empowering women entrepreneurs in the MENA region

Economic independence of women is a crucial step towards equality. Despite the improvement in education and health access in recent years, the employment rate of women in the MENA region still lies below 30% -at the same time, the proportion of women entrepreneurs is growing. A strong women's network is an important foundation to influence these economic structures sustainably.

For this purpose, the Association of German Women Entrepreneurs (VdU) in cooperation with Global Project Partners e.V. (GPP) are leading a partnership project for the cooperation of women entrepreneurs from four countries of the MENA region (Middle East North Africa). The businesswomen associations are of central importance to the promotion of economic participation of women. In the long term, with this project, the network between the individual organizations will be strengthened - an important step, because it is only through strong structures can entrepreneurs succeed economically.

The project has already formed a network between the businesswomen associations from Algeria Egypt, Tunisia, and Lebanon that needs to be strengthened in the coming years. It also supports women leading in fields other than business and thus sets up an important catalyst for local structures. In collaboration with the VdU, the structure of the network of associations is to be strengthened on a long-term basis and the access of women entrepreneurs to economic expertise be simplified.

Topics such as "Women in STEM" and "women on boards and top management" occupy almost all partner associations. To address these issues and to respond to new ones, various working groups have been created. In online seminars, the members of the associations are in constant exchange about innovative developments in their work. International and local experts attend the meeting in an advisory capacity. This gives members access not only to best practices from abroad, but also to the know-how from the member countries.

In addition, international experts are also connected to these seminars in order to improve the organizational set up of the associations. This structural work has created a strong network that allows effective exchange between people and access to a broad expertise. In particular, at the forefront, is the promotion of local expertise - The aim is to establish a permanent exchange of knowledge between the individual entrepreneur associations. Well organized female entrepreneurs in local structures are essential for the empowerment of women in MENA countries.

Alexandria Business Women Association

The Alexandria Business Women Association is the first Businesswomen Association in Alexandria governorate. It was established in 1998 by a number of successful career women, who believed in the role of women in representing one half of the community, not only as housewives and mothers, but also as career personalities. They chose the business field as the launch point towards proving of women capability to concur all types of career fields.
Their mission is to
nurture the capabilities of Egyptian businesswomen, enhance their cultural and social awareness, and enable them to work successfully within their respective markets while changing preconceived notions about working women and their economic roles.

Find more information on their Website and on Facebook.

Business Women of Egypt 21

BWE 21 is a self financed and independent NGO striving to serve its members who come from a wide range of business backgrounds, offering their expertise for the benefit of all members.
Their aims and objectives include, amongst others, to set up an economic environment to upgrade the business woman contribution to the economic development, to work on developing the image of the Egyptian product locally and internationally with the objectives of expanding export,  to adopt educational issues that will help to upgrade the skills of new female graduates to secure significant future contribution of women in the economic development and to encourage successful career woman to develop entrepreneurial skills.

Find more information on their website and on facebook.

Lebanese League for Women in Business

The Lebanese League for Women in Business is a socio-economic association bringing together professional woman by providing them with a platform to share experiences and challenges, to develop competencies and skills and to network and exchange expertise.

Their mission is to "Encourage women in business to “Take the Lead and Succeed”"

Among many other initiates and projects, they have implemented and launched the first Lebanese 'Girls Day' in April 2017. The idea is taken from the German 'Girls Day' and started as a pilot project, however it will be extended nationwide next year.

Find more information on their website and on facebook.

Chambre Nationale de Femmes Chef D'Enterprises

Established in 1990, the National Chamber of Women Entrepreneurs, known under the abbreviated name “CNFCE”, is a structure operating under the aegis of the Tunisian Confederation of Industry; Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA).

Being a horizontal structure; the CNFCE brings together women entrepreneurs in all sectors and branches of economic activity enjoying entrepreneurial skill and willing to combine their energies, cross-fertilize their skills, break their isolation and also the ambition to contribute actively and effectively to the economic and social development of the country and to adhere to all actions aimed at building the Tunisian economy and its valorization at the international level.

Find more information on their website and on facebook.

Savoir et Vouloir Entreprendre – Association de Femmes Chefs d’Entreprise (SEVE)

With currently 120 members, SEVE is an active part of the algerian "Tripartite", an institutionalized three-part-talkround with the state, employers' associations and unions. Issues of relevane for the talks are politico-economic questions and frame conditions, in which SEVE represents the interests of female entrepreneurs and start-ups.

Besides its members, SEVE currently represents over 120 female start-ups from different regions of Algeria.

Founded in 1993, SEVE is part of the international network FCEM. It has its head office in Algiers and several smaller regional offices in other cities.

Find more information on their website and on Facebook.

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