UAE | Education

Family support is key to Emirati businesswomen’s success

University study finds families to be a positive influence

  • By Iman Sherif, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 21:00 August 11, 2012
  • Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Family support is fundamental to the increase in female Emirati entrepreneurs, recent research by Abu Dhabi University (ADU) and Qatar University has found. The study was conducted on more than 200 Emirati businesswomen.

While some of the entrepreneurs came from families of business owners, the majority of businesses — 73 per cent — were started by the women entrepreneurs themselves. Only about two per cent were inherited businesses.

“This implies that female Emirati entrepreneurs establish their businesses with the prime motivation of proving themselves and being self-sufficient,” Dr Fawzia Jabeen, Assistant Professor of Management at ADU, told Gulf News.

The study showed that family support and encouragement positively influences the success of Emirati women entrepreneurs and is a major contributor to their success.

“My father was a businessman and he motivated me to succeed,” Amani Al Omran said. “He believed in my abilities and encouraged me to open my own business, which I did and later my husband was very supportive too.”

Amani now has two successful businesses — a store for branded scarves and a training management consultancy firm. “I couldn’t have done it without my father’s support.”

Aisha Yousuf too, was supported by her family to launch the Photographya Studio.

“My family was always supportive and trusted my knowledge and capabilities to launch a successful business, especially my mother, brother and sisters,” she said. “They’d regularly follow up with me on my project developments and ideas.”

Renowned jewellery designer, Azza Al Qubaisi is also grateful to her family.

“They trusted me enough to give me the time to establish my business without being demanding and released me from some family restrictions,” she said.

Planting seeds of success

The positive support the Emirati businesswomen extended to support through seed money, which was a major contributing factor to their success.

“The success of Emirati families in the international business arena has created generations of business-savvy people, historically mainly among the male population,” said Dr Fawzia. “This level of talent is a source Emirati women have leveraged well in regards to learning from their male role models in the family.”

In seeking advice or finance for their business ideas, Emirati women also tend to first look within their family before tapping other sources such as banks, she added.

“My father supported me financially, I actually didn’t need to turn to banks for 15 years,” Amani said.

“My family supported me financially. No bank would have accepted to support an art related business,” said Azza.

“My start-up capital was a small amount of money that I had and I didn’t need any financial support,” Aisha added.

Starting a business is demanding as Emirati women have maintained the traditional role of caring for their children. Therefore the support of female family members remains an essential part of an Emirati woman entrepreneur’s success given the demands of both her venture and children.

“After marriage, my husband shared the house responsibilities with me, especially during my pregnancy. Otherwise, it would have been difficult to sustain the business,” said Azza.

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