Complex Made Simple

SBWC’s Jeel initiative completes first phase for budding entrepreneurs

The ideation workshop trains participants in basics of establishing their own business

Sharjah Business Women Council (SBWC)’s Jeel initiative, which seeks to develop entrepreneurship across the emirate, has completed the three-day Jeel Business Ideation Workshop in Dibba Al Hisn. The workshop is designed to train participants in the art of idea generation, entrepreneurship and customer driven innovation.

This is the first phase of the Jeel initiative launched by SBWC in collaboration with Education For Employment (EFE), which offers intensive training in innovation and entrepreneurship paired with business coaching and incubator support for women in Dibba Al Hisn to aid in the economic development of the emirate. Participants learned to improve their creative capacity, find inspiration, identify problems and build ideas into tangible concepts, prototypes and ventures that can be developed.

Seventy two young women and men from Dibba Al Hisn registered for the Business Ideation Workshop, which is currently based in Souk Anwan and will be rolled out across the emirate at a later date.

H.E. Ameera BinKaram, SWBC Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment said “Falling under the umbrella of NAMA and under the directives of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of the Ruler of Sharjah and Honorary Chairperson of Sharjah Business Women Council, SBWC always seeks to improve the prospects of women economically and professionally, young unemployed people and graduates in the UAE and in Sharjah particularly.

“We are delighted with the outcome of this workshop, with a high number of 60 females signing up to develop their creative ideas. Participants were fully committed to attending the workshop and were eager to learn new skills. We hope many will move on to the second phase of the Jeel Program, which will be delivered in February next year. This is an intensive three month Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Business Plan Development Program. Male graduates from Dibba Al Hisn were encouraged to gain as much from the initiative as possible so that the effects of their knowledge reaches the residents of Dibba Al Hisn and also future entrepreneurs.” She added.

BinKaram added that the female participation rate of 83% reflects SWBC’s aim to empower and inspire potential and accomplished professional and entrepreneurial women in the UAE to establish themselves and realize their ambitions. Half of the participants were between the ages of 20-30 years old and 25% were between 30 and 40 years old. Sixty percent were university graduates and 68% were unemployed.

“Clearly these statistics show that Jeel is on track to achieve its goals of creating a generation of female entrepreneurs, with a focus on providing unemployed youth and women with an opportunity to develop their skills, utilise their talents and create a productive and positive future for themselves and their community. We aim to provide support, encouragement and motivation for young graduates to become business owners. The overall aim is to encourage a spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship so that youth and women can become self-employed and do not need to relocate from their home or village,” added BinKaram.

The Business Ideation Workshop is based on best-in-class approaches to innovation and ideation. It is based on the world-renowned Intel® Youth Enterprise Ideation Camp curriculum and is delivered by EFE Master Trainer Raed Rajab along with two additional trainers.

In teams of four or six people, participants learn how to focus on solving real world challenges and seize tangible entrepreneurial opportunities, while developing fundamental innovative thinking processes and skills. The process is highly interactive and covers the four steps of the ideation camp: understanding the user, technology, ideation pitching, and implementation. Organisers say that encouraging a competitive spirit helps to ensure a high level of participation and engagement all through the workshop.

According to BinKaram the workshop is unique as it sets out to develop the participants’ creativity and inspire them to become great entrepreneurs. She said, “Jeel will be instrumental in providing new jobs and business opportunities, contributing positively to improving the economic and social conditions of women, the family and the community. Participants learned how to identify problems, to look at these problems as opportunities, and gain the confidence to become innovators of tomorrow. The goal will be to assist potential entrepreneurs to develop their business ideas into functioning enterprises and comprises two distinct phases. These are the testing and development of the business idea followed by devising a formal business plan that details how the idea can be converted to an operating enterprise.”

Established in 2002, the Sharjah Business Women’s Council (SBWC) aims to create and enhance the work environment for women as well as train and prepare them to enter the private sector and enhance their participation in social and economic development. To achieve this aim, the SBWC carries out a range programs and activities including conferences, seminars, workshops and research. It also forges partnerships with government, private organisations and foundations in the UAE and beyond.

Education For Employment (EFE) is a network of locally-run non-profit organizations that creates economic opportunity for unemployed youth in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) by providing world-class professional and technical training that leads directly to jobs and entrepreneurship support. The EFE Network has forged partnerships with over 2000 companies and institutions to create job opportunities in the region.