The remarkable educational achievements of women in the Mena region lay a strong foundation for the rise of women-led businesses, especially among GCC countries, according to Unicorn Media CEO and co-founder Silvina Moschini.
Speaking to Gulf Times on the sidelines of the Qatar Economic Forum (QEF) 2024, Powered by Bloomberg, she said: “Women here in Qatar, in the Emirates, (and) in Saudi Arabia are highly educated so that sets a ground for building entrepreneurs”.
“Here, it’s a perfect combination of factors: high level of education, the access to resources, the market opportunities opening up, hunger for disruption and bringing new technologies and outstanding talent out there,” Moschini said.
Beyond her role as CEO of Unicorn Media, she is recognised as a pioneer in the tech and investment sector and a prominent advocate for women’s economic empowerment. Her accolades include being named “Woman of the Year in Disruptive Technologies” by UN Women.
The CEO pointed out that the transformation in attitudes and opportunities for women in the Middle East has been swift and substantial, particularly in the past five years.
She contrasts this rapid progress with the pace of change in North America, asserting that the Middle East witnessed more significant advancements in women’s economic empowerment within a shorter timeframe.
Moschini underscored the remarkable strides made in gender equality and women’s participation in the workforce in the region, who are now actively involved in innovation and business leadership roles. “They are innovating, building companies, and women entrepreneurs are taking control of their financial future as well,” she said. “Apart from being able to manage their own money, they also have an inheritance that they can decide whatever they want to do”.
Besides high levels of education, Moschini attributes the conducive environment for female entrepreneurship in Qatar and the Middle East to a combination of factors such as access to resources, expanding market opportunities, and a growing appetite for innovation. She highlighted the importance of initiatives to support and scale up women-led businesses, particularly in the technology and investment sectors.
As part of her commitment to promoting women’s economic empowerment, Moschini said they signed an agreement with the Qatar Financial Centre Authority (QFCA) to develop a framework aimed at strengthening Qatar’s innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem. This, she said, also seeks to identify and support female entrepreneurs in Qatar and beyond, noting the global potential of businesses originating from Qatar and citing the ability to scale internationally despite being a relatively small market.
“Qatar is small but a very powerful market and size doesn’t represent impact because you don’t need to limit yourself to the local market. You can create a company from here and take it to the world,” stressed the Unicorn Media CEO.
Moschini signed a memorandum of understanding with the Qatar Financial Centre Authority CEO Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida at the Qatar Economic Forum 2024. The partnership aims to develop a framework that will further strengthen Qatar’s innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem.
She draws attention to the proven financial benefits of women-led businesses, citing data suggesting they deliver a 28% better return on investment than their male counterparts. This statistic underscores the importance of fostering an environment conducive to female entrepreneurship and leadership in the region, said Moschini.