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Sharjah: Sharjah-based NAMA Women Advancement Establishment (NAMA) is calling on women entrepreneurs to send in their applications to qualify for its ‘Opportunity to Grow’ start-up pitch session, which will be held on December 11 during the two-day Women’s Economic Empowerment Global Summit (WEEGS 2019).

Up to seven selected finalists will have the opportunity to present their start-up businesses to a jury comprising industry experts, influential mentors and potential Venture Capital and angel investors.

The organisation is receiving applications online at until November 21.

By presenting an opportunity like this, NAMA seeks to address the challenges women entrepreneurs face in growing their businesses. The initiative also aligns with one of the four discussion pillars identified for WEEGS 2019: Access to Finance.

Eligibility criteria

In order to qualify for the selection process, the start-up must be founded or co-founded by a woman who is also on the management team. The enterprise should be based in the UAE, already operational and looking for visibility and scale up opportunities. Applicants must have a trade license and a ready business plan (pitch deck) including financial projections.

To apply, businesses need to send a 1-minute video pitch, a pitch deck, and the company’s financial projections including an introduction to the team’s members and an explanation about what makes their business competitive, their potential for viability, sustainability, actualisation and profitability.

In addition to exposure, potential investment and networking opportunities, the top three businesses will receive recognition from WEEGS, organised by NAMA in collaboration with UN Women, at Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre, Sharjah, from December 10 to 11.

Reem BinKaram, director of NAMA, said WEEGS seeks to further consolidate women’s position in the economy.

“A significant way of doing this is by strengthening access to finance for women-owned SMEs by connecting investors and venture capitalists to women-led enterprises, so they can scale up operations and continue to grow in the marketplace. This is the essence of the ‘Opportunity to Grow’ session we have designed to take place during WEEGS… The first edition of this pitch session was hugely successful in bringing some remarkable women-led start-ups to the notice of potential investors in 2017.”

BinKaram added: “This unique event has a dual advantage. For those pitching their business, this is a platform to hear from top experts and investors, benefit from the exposure their enterprises will get and attract the funding they need to grow and scale up. For the jury on the other hand, it is an opportunity to learn about the amazing innovations women are bringing to the SME sector – arguably the regional economy’s backbone – building a case for why more efforts need to be made to expand the ability of women entrepreneurs to pursue economic opportunities, invest additional capital, hire more employees, and grow their businesses.”