Is Female Entrepreneurship Growing in the Middle East?

Photo source: RawPixel

Pakistani filmmaker, Farheen Pasha said she witnessed many women in her circle running their own businesses as she was growing up. Financial independence was often non-negotiable for some women, making the path to entrepreneurship an inevitable one. Hera Hub founder, Felena Hanson, sat down to discuss whether the climate of the Middle East and South Asia would cozy up to a concept like Hera Hub.

When asked about her thoughts on a Hera Hub concept in the Middle East, Farheen was visibly excited. When women are only considered for certain types of roles, finding work or navigating career growth can become challenging, and many are often pushed out of the career ladder or are left behind.

Entrepreneurship has become a unifying factor for women across the globe. Click To Tweet

Gender roles are often predetermined based on the patriarchal values embedded in the region’s culture and religions. With there already being a natural separation of the sexes and men dominating the work culture, a scenario that is unfortunately far too common, a concept like Hera Hub would surely thrive.

Husbands would feel comfortable supporting their wives and daughters in a space geared towards women. Seeing their loved ones thrive in an environment like that would make a Hera Hub concept a prime location to support entrepreneurial growth and community.

The Middle East has seen an uptick in entrepreneurial activity in the last five years. According to MAGNiTT, the startup ecosystem in 2016 saw almost $1 billion in venture funding. The investment capital was up from $200 million in the previous year.

The Center for International Private Enterprise, an organization in South Asia, focused on strengthening democracy through private enterprise and market-oriented reform said, “Women’s full economic participation, control over their financial circumstances, and greater decision-making power are essential to building gender-equitable political and economic systems.”

Organizer of the 2017 RiseUp Entrepreneurship Summit, “The culture is changing. There used to be a stigma in not working for a big company or a bank. Now, having your own startup is seen as a lot more attractive. The Summit, which happened toward the end of last year in Cairo, hosted over 5,000 attendees with the goal to connect startups to the most relevant resources worldwide.

One thing is clear. Entrepreneurship is uniting women across the world, and it’s part of the mission of Hera Hub to not only support entrepreneurship and gender equality in the United States but in every corner of the world.


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