Womenpreneur Digital Hub to promote entrepreneurship, digital skills, and financial literacy for women in MENA
Womenpreneur Initiative and SANAD Entrepreneurship Academy team up to counteract disproportionate economic burden on women of COVID-19 crisis
Frankfurt and Brussels, March 1, 2021 – The Entrepreneurship Academy of the SANAD Fund for MSME and Womenpreneur Initiative have once again teamed up to champion women’s economic equality in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). In March 2021, the partners launched the Womenpreneur Digital Hub, an online knowledge and resource-sharing platform that aims to expand women’s access to skills-building tools in a time when lockdowns and economic contraction have disproportionately impacted female employment in the region.
The coronavirus crisis has forced many women out of the workplace through a constellation of factors: Economically, it has taken a particularly heavy toll on sectors where women are overrepresented, such as retail, care, and food service. School and daycare closures have added further pressure, with many households placing the responsibility for at-home schooling and childcare solely upon women. As a result, although women in MENA comprise only a quarter of the region’s total workforce, they account for over half of COVID-related job losses.
The Womenpreneur Digital Hub aims to help women regain their economic footing through a three-fold approach. First, online training will be offered free of charge for hub members to hone skills that empower them on the job market, such as financial knowledge, digital literacy, and business management. High-profile speakers will provide insights into current industry trends and tips on accessing career opportunities. Second, the hub will connect users for mutual information and support, experience exchange, and valuable network-building. In this way, the platform intends to accelerate the third factor, which is to open up potential employment paths for those whose careers have been upended by the crisis.
Ines Ebrecht, Chairperson of the SANAD Technical Assistance Facility which runs the SANAD Entrepreneurship Academy, said: “Women’s employment is not only a social justice issue, it is also an economic one. Women’s ability to participate in the workforce not only provides them with financial stability and freedom on an individual level, it also enables an economy to fully open the tap on creativity, entrepreneurship, productivity, and income generation. The SANAD Entrepreneurship Academy is glad to once again join with Womenpreneur Initiative to advance gender parity as a key to prosperity in the Middle East and North Africa.”
Womenpreneur CEO and founder Sana Afouaiz said: “The pandemic provoked a major setback in gender equality and threatens to walk back decades of progress. Yet we can also pivot to grasp the opportunities. As the world entered into lockdown, the transition to online work has created a growing demand for digital jobs. The Womenpreneur Digital Hub is targeted toward equipping women to future-proof their skills and give them valuable knowledge for the employment market. Our aim is to ensure that every woman and girl in MENA has access to the tools that will help her realize her full economic potential.”
Sign up for the hub at: www.womenpreneur-digital.com
The SANAD Fund for MSME finances micro, small, and medium enterprises and low-income households in the Middle East and North Africa via qualified local lenders. SANAD thereby fosters economic development and job creation – including youth employment – agriculture, affordable housing, and innovations in finance and financial technologies. SANAD strives to meet these goals by providing debt and equity financing to its local partners.
The SANAD Technical Assistance Facility (SANAD TAF) multiplies the fund’s impact and outreach through capacity-building with partner institutions, developing financial infrastructures according to the principles of responsible finance and conducting much required research and development. The SANAD Entrepreneurship Academy, an initiative of the SANAD TAF, encompasses a range of programs to support business owners throughout SANAD’s target region. By working together with local organizations that drive incubation and acceleration projects, the Entrepreneurship Academy provides entrepreneurs with guidance, resources, mentoring, networking opportunities, the chance to receive financial backing, and other means necessary to turn good ideas into successful enterprises.
An impact investment fund advised by Finance in Motion, SANAD’s investors include the KfW Development Bank, which initiated the fund; the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ); the European Union; Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO); OeEB, the Development Bank of Austria; Germany’s GLS Bank and GLS Treuhand; the Dutch development bank FMO; and Calvert Impact Capital.
For more information on the SANAD Fund for MSME, please visit: www.sanad.lu
For more information on Finance in Motion, please visit: www.finance-in-motion.com
About Womenpreneur Initiative
Womenpreneur-Initiative is a Brussels based organization. Our activities and initiatives are focused on Belgium and the MENA (the Middle East & North Africa) region. Since 2016, we have reached and supported more than 10,000 women. Our aim is to advance women’s place in the entrepreneurial scene, technology, innovation & society. We pursue this through a variety of innovative experiences, entrepreneurial activities, mentorship sessions, leadership programs, technology education, networking events, and opportunities.
Check out our website: www.womenpreneur-initiative.com
Media contact – SANAD
Senior Officer, Marketing & Communications
Phone: +49 (0)69 271 035-470
Media contact – Womenpreneur Initiative
Teresa De Vivo
Phone: +32 2 737 01 05