Promoting women’s empowerment for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development in the MENA region

About the project: 
Promoting women’s empowerment for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development in the MENA region is a project implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). The project, which is funded by the Italian government and labelled by the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), aims to improve the economic participation of women and to thereby create the conditions for inclusive and sustainable growth in the MENA region, by making use of the strong potential of female entrepreneurs in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia. In this regard, the project is fully in line with the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically, SDG 1: ‘End poverty in all its forms everywhere’, SDG 5: ‘Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’, SDG 8: ‘Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all’, SDG 9: ‘Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation’, and SDG 16: ‘Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels’ 

The Business and Professional Women Association (BPWA) has worked with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) on implementing this project which aimed at nurturing, facilitating and accompanying the policy dialogue between the key stakeholders with the objective to produce a set of recommendations and actions points endorsed by all parties to promote women entrepreneurship in the region, and strengthening the capacities of national business women’s associations in providing better quality and demand-driven services to women entrepreneurs to create and grow their businesses. The project has directly promoted about 200 promising women-led investments in the target countries through training, coaching, identification and facilitation of business partnerships opportunities and access to finance.

Within the framework of this project, and in collaboration with BPWA’s national workforce, BPWA has managed to achieve the following:

  • A trade mission to Milan/Italy was organized in 2015 for BPWA members; it promoted Business To Business (B2B) opportunities to its members with different Italian companies and enabled them to network with regional and international business women and role models.
  • Ongoing Business To Business (B2B) opportunities and linkages are offered for BPWA members with different regional and international enterprises; including partnership opportunities, investment opportunities and business deals.
  • Organized and offered financial and  business creation & growth process counselling for selected women entrepreneurs according to their needs.
  • Jordanian business women have managed to officially establish and register their own companies, others have and are working on expanding their existing businesses.
  • Participated in a research conducted on Women entrepreneurship development in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia. The research’s findings provided an updated set of information on the status of women entrepreneurship development in the target countries, identified the specific challenges, perceptions and expectations of women entrepreneurs in each country when creating and expanding enterprises; provided recommendations to promote a conducive business environment; and  reinforce the dialogue among key public and private stakeholders. In addition, a benchmarking analysis has been carried out with Australia, Italy and Turkey to identify best practices in the area of women entrepreneurship development.

To read more about the project click here for the Arabic version of the technical paper or here for the English version.