NAWF concludes in Beirut
- Lebanon: Monday, March 04 - 2013 at 10:18
- PRESS RELEASE
The 6th edition of 'The New Arab Woman Forum' - NAWF was concluded in Beirut. The two-day forum, organized by Al-Iktissad Wal-Aamal Group and Al Hasnaa Magazine, in collaboration with l'Institut Français du Liban, comprised six comprehensive sessions under the theme 'Unlocking the Potential of Arab Women Entrepreneurs'.
During today's difficult economic, political and social conditions that the Arab world is facing, NAWF establishes itself as an ideal platform for enforcing the substantial role of Arab women, in hopes that all these initiatives will lead to the birth of a new and promising era for the entire region.
The forum addressed several key issues related to the concerns and interests of Arab women, shedding light on the role of women entrepreneurs as an imperative force in the economic growth of the Arab region, in addition to presenting the current status and environment of Arab women entrepreneurs.
The panelists explored and discussed the opportunities that stimulate entrepreneurship among Arab women, as well as the development of an ecosystem that unlocks innovation. They also highlighted the role of stakeholders in encouraging and intensifying the spirit of entrepreneurship in Arab women.
Another session addressed the 'making' of an entrepreneur and the personal characteristics required in order to build a successful business, as well as the importance of education in this area and increasing the opportunities for university students to attain the right entrepreneurial skills and tools through trainings and mentoring.
Subsequently, the panelists shed light on the role of large companies in supporting women initiatives and projects of a developmental nature, as well as the challenges of funding startups and SMEs; the panelists discussed the role of investors in creating a complete support system for microfinance and entrepreneurship opportunities targeting women, and the role of the government in providing loans and support.
Lastly, the first day was concluded by the anticipated satellite intervention of Mr. Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan-Renault Alliance, where he addressed new ways to empower women in the Arab world based on his personal experience in the automotive industry.
He highlighted the prestigious level of women's achievements in Lebanon, reaching a 54% in higher education and 25% in the total workforce, while Lebanese women represent only 8% of the total leadership power in the country.
Based on his strong belief in the talent of women in bringing success to enterprises, Mr. Ghosn adopted a quota at Nissan Renault Alliance where 40% of the workforce is contributed by women.
He also stated, "The decision makers in the automotive industry do not encourage the employment of women in the sector due to cultural restrictions; however, Mr. Ghosn strongly believes that talent is measured by skills and courage in handling challenging situations, irrespective of the gender."
The second day of the forum started with a focus on success stories through experiences of women pioneers in the field of business, and was attended by successful women who have achieved their utmost business goals. The panelists also discussed best practices to learn from in regards to regional and international initiatives and programmes that support women entrepreneurs, in addition to the key ingredients of successful national policies to help women entrepreneurs, as well as the role of the private sector.
Later, the panelists presented an overview of some international experiences in developing policies and programmes for promoting entrepreneurship in advanced economies and their applicability in the Arab world, and the effectiveness of incubators in helping women entrepreneurs realize their potential.
Finally, during the wrap up session of the forum under the theme 'Social Entrepreneurship: Innovation, the Road to Social Change Making', the panelists discussed topics such as the partnership between the public and private sectors acting as a catalyst for social entrepreneurship.
The second day of the forum featured a range of activities, which included the signing of the books: Rahalat Wālidati wa Baqiyat Umi (My Mother is Gone, My Mom is Left) by Dr. Elham Mansour, Taht El Arishi 'Sous la tonnelle' (Under the Arbor) by Ms. Hyam Yared's, and Miftah li-Najwa (A Key for Najwa) by Dr. Faten El Murr.
The activities also included the announcement of the winners of the WOW Awards (listed below), as well as the winners of the NAWF Women Entrepreneurs Competition that was organized in partnership with Blackberry.
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