Watch out for the Queen’s Gambit in the startup world


Watch out for the Queen’s Gambit in the startup world

Saudi employees serve customers at a hypermarket run by a team of women in Jeddah. (AFP file)

At the G-20 ministerial meeting on women’s empowerment last month, Saudi Arabia said that an increase in women’s participation in the labor market could not be achieved without the empowerment of women in the digital and financial sphere.

Supporting women founders is a crucial focus of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, a transformative economic and social reform project that opens the Kingdom to the world.

According to Visa’s 2022 study of women’s entrepreneurship in the Kingdom, 82% of women said their current business was their first, reflecting growing confidence in the government’s efforts to enable a gender-neutral business environment.

Boston Consulting Group analysis shows that if women and men participated equally as business owners, global gross domestic product could increase by around 3-6%, boosting the global economy by $2.5 trillion to $5 trillion.

BCG research also found that every dollar of funding given to startups founded by women brought in an average of 78 cents, while startups founded by men generated 31 cents — and women did so with significantly less funding.

These facts cannot be ignored and must compel transformative and thoughtful action. As more and more women put their businesses in the spotlight, they will need support to overcome the obstacles to success.

We believe that providing women entrepreneurs with better access to finance, the right learning opportunities on how to set better profitability goals, develop stronger strategies and survive the lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 19 can not only increase their chances of success, but also increase the likelihood of women founding unicorns in our area.

I also say this, in particular, because 65% of female business owners in Saudi Arabia have special business training and 96% already have the support of friends and family.

More specifically, their mission is to learn and accelerate their trajectory.

Visa’s survey results in the Kingdom show that women entrepreneurs are looking for help in finding the right business development and management tools. Two in five women said they were looking for programs and platforms to help them grow their business, and others said they wanted advice on building a good team of employees and staying ahead over their competitors.

Meanwhile, 54% said they would like to hear from other entrepreneurs how they solved business challenges and grew online sales.

With seven in ten Saudi women already saying they currently accept cash and cashless payments from their customers, we are incredibly optimistic about the potential for their participation in not just the regional but global digital economy.

Nearly 45% of female entrepreneurs said they would use the additional funding to invest in advertising and marketing, indicating their vision to expand and expand their customer base.

Access to digital payments is a critical determinant of economic success. With the Kingdom’s belief in the importance of investing in the capabilities of women, there is no doubt that the Women Founders will step forward to make significant contributions to the nation’s economic and social development.

Hala Al-Tuwaijri, secretary general of the Family Affairs Council of Saudi Arabia, told the G-20 that the digital economy is a “key enabler for a vibrant society, effective government and a thriving economy” – and efforts ongoing collectives to economically uplift women entrepreneurs will undoubtedly pave the way for progress and prosperity.

Investors are paying close attention: Saudi female founders are playing to win in the startup world.

Ali Bailoun is Visa’s Regional General Manager for the GCC Cluster – Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the authors in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Arab News


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