Research Shows There Are More Female Emirati Entrepreneurs Than Ever Before

Lindsay Judge   |   25-12-2022

A survey conducted by NAMA Women Advancement in partnership with the UN Women had revealed that 25,000 Emirati women entrepreneurs own 50,000 trade licences valued at AED 60 billion in (2021).


The survey also concluded that 77.6% of women-owned businesses (WOB) in the UAE are led by those under the age of 40. Of the 1,000 female business owners who took part in the survey,  48.8% are CEOs and 61.4% are sole proprietors, a clear indicator that Emirati entrepreneurs, particularly young women, are making significant contributions to the GDP in emerging economic sectors.


The survey was part of the report ‘Women-Owned Businesses in the United Arab Emirates: A Golden Opportunity’, published by NAMA Women Advancement in partnership with The Economic Empowerment Section of the UN Women, which addressed the realities and prospects of Emirati women’s contributions to the UAE’s comprehensive development, enhancing the sustainability of economic sectors and diversifying sources of national income.



Highlighting the successes of women in the UAE the report also highlighted the UAE’s sustainable and resilient entrepreneurial ecosystem,  pointing out the massive strides the UAE has undertaken to ensure gender parity through a series of legal, policy and institutional measures over the past decade, including the simplification of access to finance. The UAE was ranked top in the world in the 2021/2022 Global Entrepreneurship Mentorship (GEM) report in terms of countries that allow for better ease of doing business.


It revealed that the number of female entrepreneurs is rising significantly, with 25,000 Emirati women entrepreneurs owning 50,000 trade licences valued at AED 60 billion in 2021 compared to 23,000 Emirati women running businesses worth AED 50 billion in 2019 and 11,000 Emirati businesswomen running businesses worth AED 12 billion in 2010.


HE Reem BinKaram, Director of NAMA


Commenting on the report and study, HE Reem BinKaram, Director of NAMA, said: “This report represents an unquestionable proof of women’s role as a major component of development in the UAE. We are working to form a comprehensive ecosystem that nurtures women’s great results that contribute to the national economy, which is a pillar on which institutions under NAMA were established under the directive of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of the SCFA. We seek to create an environment that cares for women, and provides them with opportunities to engage in comprehensive development, whether she is an at-home mother or grandmother taking care of her children, or an entrepreneur or  a business owner that provides opportunities for advancing the local economy, and strengthen women’s status as a key player in bolstering the UAE’s standing.”


Dr. Moza Al Khayal, Director of the UN Women-UAE Liaison Office for the GCC,


Dr. Moza Al Khayal, Director of the UN Women-UAE Liaison Office for the GCC, added: “Despite the challenges facing women entrepreneurs, the continuous governmental support has provided opportunities to gain extensive expertise through training initiatives organised around the country that helped establish a comprehensive ecosystem that guides women towards a bright future and accomplishments that the report has highlighted.”


Information provided by NAMA Women Advancement.