Ford to host entrepreneurship workshop for women in Saudi

Ford is celebrating this year’s International Women’s Day with some of the brightest female minds in Saudi Arabia by hosting the first women-only Henry Ford Entrepreneurship Academy workshop with Effat University in Jeddah from March 7 to 9.

International Women’s Day is not only an opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate women’s contributions to the global workforce, but a chance to call on the masses to help forge a better, more inclusive, gender equal working world.

President of Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services Jim Vella, along with Simonetta Verdi, director, government and community relations for Ford Middle East and Africa, last week met with President of Effat University Dr Haifa Jamal Al-Lail; dean of graduate studies and research Dr Malak Al Nory; director of the Business Innovation Centre Dr Muhammad Khan; and executive director of international affairs Lisa Zuppe, to discuss the impact women have in business in Saudi Arabia, and the importance of supplying women in the kingdom with the necessary tools to continue to make their mark in the local economy.

Effat University is the first private institution of higher education for women in Saudi Arabia. Its mission is to qualify tomorrow’s competitive leaders with a world-class education by providing an interdisciplinary environment conducive to research, community service, and life-long learning.

“Highly-educated women in Saudi Arabia have proven to be a leading force in the kingdom’s business world and promising female entrepreneurs have become a growing public presence,” said Verdi. “The Henry Ford Entrepreneurship Academy workshops are designed to complement the work undertaken by the Saudi government, which has recently created programmes to encourage more female business owners to join the workforce.”

More than 60 per cent of Saudi women have at least a graduate degree, but still most of them are unemployed, while around 63 per cent of Saudi women have unregistered yet successful businesses, and rely on mobile phones and personal computers to do business.

These are the women the HFEA hopes to instill with a range of vital new skills, tools and the entrepreneurial mind-set needed to nurture creative ideas, assessing the feasibility of their plans, and to help the budding entrepreneurs launch and grow new ventures, said a statement.

“We are excited to collaborate with Henry Ford Entrepreneurship Academy to provide entrepreneurs in our community with useful programmes, and give them tools to lead their businesses to success,” said Dr Al Nory. “Effat University takes pride in standing behind empowering women in Saudi Arabia ever since the university was established, and it is truly an honour to be part of this initiative.”

Confirming a desire to showcase the talents aspiring businesswomen in the kingdom possess, more than 200 have enrolled for the first women-only HFEA workshop, and will be celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8 with like-minded empowered individuals with Ford and Effat University in Jeddah.

The workshop’s participants will receive cutting-edge training from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and Effat University professors and insights from local entrepreneurs on the steps and activities for creating and sustaining the new ventures.

Ford Motor Company and Ford Fund are providing an increasing number of opportunities around the world that assist women in reaching their full education, economic and social potential, the statement said.

Source: Trade Arabia