Bahrain is hosting the first Women Power Summit on May 6th and 7th, organised by Obai & Hill and featuring 100 international, regional and local influential women speakers before 500 female guests from around the world, at Isa Cultural Hall. Showcasing new opportunities for investment, partnership, and collaborations created by inspiring female entrepreneurs, innovators and investors, the summit aims to connect and form lasting relationships, and highlight entrepreneurship as a means to address some of the most intractable global challenges.
"The time is now, gender equality is a moral priority whether you're in government, business, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or research institutions – it's simply the 'right thing to do’," Obai & Hill's CEO Wafa Obaidat tells Startup Scene ME. "Secondly, women are key managers of natural resources and powerful agents of change. Women also offer different perspectives, concerns and ideas for change."
Obaidat evaluates Bahrain's startup scene as thriving, unlimited opportunity if one is willing to put in the work and time to grow. "However," she reflects, "studies have shown that women-led SMEs make up roughly a third of this market; the majority of which are in developing countries. Despite the growth and contribution of these businesses, there is a tremendous gap in their access to finance, access to mentorship, and access to network: more than 70 percent of women-led SMEs are estimated to be either unserved or underserved financially. Today we need more support in these spaces and the summit hopes to start the conversation about mentorship."
In the Arabian Gulf, there is a variety of opportunities women could leverage on to excel in their career paths, according to Obaidat. In fintech and tech space there is access to mentorship platforms such as Nebula with C5 accelerator, there is also access to co-working spaces, seed startup funds and grants. "There are companies such as Womena
in Dubai that are designed to get women to accelerate in their businesses, as well as Vital Voices which is almost like a mini MBA for businesses founded by women," the CEO continues listing down. "There are also Entrepreneurs Organization accelerators and EO which give you access to scaling specific mentorship and training."
In the Arabian Gulf, there are many opportunities for women, such as Womena, which has just launched their own accelerator.
For a Power Pitch session, the summit is looking for potential female entrepreneurs with bright business ideas that are technology-enabled. Open for beginners and avid entrepreneurs, Power Pitch is an opportunity for female founders to launch their entrepreneurial career, network with investors, refine their pitches and get instant feedback as well as mentors. Prizes include business-class tickets from Cathay Pacific, free co-working space, exclusive meet-ups with investors among others.
You can apply here.
Photography by Women Power Summit.