Dubai: One of the biggest challenges facing women entrepreneurs in the Mena region is lack of funding, according to experts at the Women Entrepreneurs in Mena conference yesterday.

Alongside increasing funds for women, law makers “need to make micro financing options more transparent, so we need to look at improving laws and regulations,” said Mounira Jamjoom, Senior Research Specialist at Booz and Company. Many women entrepreneurs are not aware of the funding options that are available to them, she added.

For Emirati women entrepreneurs in the UAE, there is a lack of financing from the private sector, said Halah Al Sokari, advisor to the CEO of Khalifa Fund.

“There must be an increase in funds from angel investors that focus on entrepreneurs that are not well-known, and banks,” Al Sokari said.

However, for government organisations in the UAE, funding is not an issue, she said.

The Khalifa Fund has funded Dh640 million to local businesses in the past five and a half years — 30 per cent of which were for ventures by women, she added.

“Women participate mostly in the service related industries, but they should move to the more high tech [sectors],” she said.