Empowering Women in MENA: EBAN’s Commitment Takes Center Stage at UNESCO Regional Forum

Inspiring developments unfolded at the recent UNESCO Regional Forum on “Angel Investing: The Missing Link towards an Innovation Economy in the Arab Region.” EBAN, represented by board member Dr. Nicolas Rouhana, had a chance to enter the discussions that centred on the crucial role of business angel investors and the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in the Arab region and globally.

Key Takeaways from the Forum:

  1. Recognition of Challenges: The forum, opened by Dr. Nuria Sanz of UNESCO Cairo, set the stage for acknowledging the challenges women entrepreneurs face. Dr. Nazar Hassan, Dr. Raghu Surya, and Dr. Nicolas Rouhana led insightful working sessions that identified barriers such as the glass ceiling, cultural norms, and a lack of support for women at the beginning of their entrepreneurial journey.
  1. EBAN’s Strategic Approach: Nicolas Rouhana, a board member of EBAN, outlined EBAN’s strategy for achieving a Gender-Balanced Angel Investing Ecosystem by 2030 as described in our manifesto. This includes the establishment of the EBAN Gender Community, publications, webinars, the SUPERNOVAS course in collaboration with EIT,  and the collaboration with UN Women.
  1. Spotlight on LWAF Success: Nicolas presented the success story of the Lebanese Women Angel Fund (LWAF), demonstrating the positive impact of women-only programs in entrepreneurship. The LWAF model, designed to support women entrepreneurs in Lebanon, serves as a beacon of success and a potential template for similar initiatives.
  1. Launching AWABA: Following two days of collaborative discussions, the Arab Women Association for Business Angels (AWABA) was established. This marks a significant step toward fostering a collaborative regional ecosystem that supports women entrepreneurs in finding financial resources and mentorship.

Looking Ahead:

EBAN is committed to supporting AWABA’s objectives, connecting with stakeholders, providing mentoring and capacity-building programs, raising awareness, and leveraging collective efforts for regional impact. Stay tuned for more updates as we continue our journey toward a future where women entrepreneurs in the MENA region thrive, innovate, and lead.