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Gender debate: Why is only 14% of funding going to female-owned start-ups?

According to a recent industry report, only around one in seven investments in new start-ups in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) were in companies founded by women. Why is this, and how can the gender imbalance be addressed?

This issue will be the key debate at this year’s Arabian Business Startup Forum, which will take place at the Waldorf Astoria The Palm hotel on Sunday, November 24th.

Kicking off the event off will be a keynote address by Nayla Al Khaja, the UAE’s first female film director, who will describe the gender divide within the film industry, her own entrepreneurial journey and how she is expanding her horizons and going global in a bid to win funding for ‘The Shadow’, her new Hollywood-style feature film project.

Also on the panel to discuss the challenges and opportunities for female entrepreneurs and start-ups in the region will be Briar Prestidge, founder of Dubai-based public relations firm Briar Prestidge International. Briar is the organiser of live monthly talk show event series Deals in High Heels and was a participant in a recent Amazon Prime global TV series on entrepreneurship.

“From being in the start-up space myself and from running my monthly live talk show event, I have met many other female founders over the years, but often find the start-up ecosystem in Dubai to be a mainly male dominated world,” she said in a recent article for Arabian Business.

Joining Nayla and Briar on the panel will be Lucy Chow, Director of the Women’s Angel Investor Network (WAIN), who can give her take on the investment issues facing women and what WAIN is doing to help address the imbalance. More speakers will be announced in the coming days.



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