Sharjah Business Women Council's 2020 programming builds a future skills framework for UAE businesswomen

SBWC was quick to adapt its agenda to Covid-19 induced challenges

  
Sharjah Business Women Council's 2020 programming builds a future skills framework for UAE businesswomen

The year 2020 saw Sharjah Business Women Council (SBWC) – a NAMA Women Advancement Establishment (NAMA) affiliate – navigating challenges imposed by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic with agility, guiding its membership of 2,000-plus businesswomen to hold their ground and continue to grow in their respective market sectors.

Responding to the rapid changes in the global economy and shifting consumer behavior, SBWC also deployed digital transformation strategies to ensure business continuity and advancement of its members. 

SBWC Tour becomes #SBWCVirtualTours

Launched in November 2019, 'SBWC Tours' was an awareness campaign intended to introduce businesswomen and entrepreneurs who want to advance their projects, to the related services and offerings of the SBWC. It also sought to connect with businesswomen in local communities who have started their own businesses in Sharjah. Last year, this campaign turned virtual and offered business counselling to its members to help them adapt to the new business conditions. Throughout 2020, SBWC organised a total of 14 on-ground and virtual tours. 

Three virtual initiatives and five online workshops

Following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, SBWC launched three virtual initiatives on social media platforms, namely, #SBWCEntrepreneursTips, #SBWCReads, and #SBWCDictionary.

While the inaugural sessions of #SBWCEntrepreneursTips sought to provide remedial solutions and imparted timely insights and practical knowledge to its members on varied aspects of conducting business from home and maintaining work-life balance, #SBWCReads provided weekly book recommendations on a wide range of business- and management-related topics.

In a bid to enable entrepreneurs expand on their business vocabulary, and subsequently, their business confidence, the entity also launched the #SBWCDictionary, a glossary of the commonly used business phrases and terminology, updated with a business term and its meaning every week. 

In 2020, SBWC also organised five virtual workshops for its members spanning diverse interests and sectors, including effective remote selling strategies, digital productivity tools, E-commerce and digital marketing. The unconventional topic of colour psychology and ways to use primary colours to balance personal energy was the subject of one of the sessions. 

Four sessions of 'SBWC Talks' 

Launched in May 2019, 'SBWC Talks' was organised to establish an exclusive platform for its members to share knowledge, explore best practices, and learn from successful business professionals. In 2020, the council held four sessions, three of which were held remotely. 

The virtual sessions were titled 'The Future of F&B Industries', 'The Rise of Sustainable Fashion', and 'Beauty & Jewellery Trends: The Future Outlook.' SBWC hosted its fourth session as a live event in December, where Nawal Al Nuaimi, CEO & Founder of Paper Fig Café & Dessert Shop, shared her journey of growth in the F&B sector. She also highlighted ways to advance the industry’s skillsets at a time of major upheavals in the local and global economic markets.

Expertise exchange with Egyptian entrepreneurs

In January 2020, SBWC hosted a delegation of entrepreneurs from the Egyptian Business Women Council (EBWC), introducing them to the investment opportunities in Sharjah as well as the business incentives offered by the emirate. Partnership agreements aimed at bolstering expertise exchange and collaboration between SBWC and EBWC were also signed. 

Success stories

As part of its diverse programming in 2020, SBWC launched 'Students Today, Entrepreneurs Tomorrow', an outreach campaign targeting skilled students from select universities into becoming part of the SBWC community. This will allow students to avail some of the council's prominent services and programmes, which will help them kickstart their careers.

To mark the UAE’s 49th National Day, SBWC launched 'Women of Sharjah', a month-long campaign to highlight the achievements of top female entrepreneurs in the emirate, and emphasize their contributions to the development journey of the country. Prominent women celebrated in the campaign included Aisha Al Souqi, founder of Sweetopia; Fatema Showaiter, founder of The Ark Coffee; Shaikha Mughawer, founder of Tibru Wedding; and Shatha Allay Al Naqbi, founder of Shatha Beauty Spa.

SBWC members participated in ‘The Women in Technology Forum’ held on February 18 in Sharjah. The event included five discussion panels, hosted 25 speakers, and emphasized women’s roles in scientific fields while also discussing the challenges they face in entering the technology and innovation sector.

2020 also saw SBWC revamp its website to include a comprehensive overview of its programmes, services, and initiatives.

HE Sheikha Hind bint Majid Al Qassimi, Chairperson of SBWC, pointed out that the Council’s members successfully coped with challenges of the new business environment by applying the knowledge and expertise they continually gained through the year via the various workshops, training sessions and specialized consultations SBWC offered.

Noting that SBWC quickly adapted its agenda to Covid-19 induced challenges by digitizing most of its services in 2020, she emphasized that the initiatives launched last year were aligned with the organization’s vision to continually upskill businesswomen and entrepreneurs in Sharjah, and help them achieve their goals.

Al Qassimi further stated the need to learn from lessons and experiences of 2020 and leverage this understanding for setting out business strategies for 2021 and the future. The tumultuous events of the past year have demonstrated the need to be agile to overcome challenges of any type of crisis, she added.

Al Qassimi pointed out that SBWC's strategies for 2021 are focused on enhancing the business landscape for its members in line with the decisive changes sweeping across the global economy and the entrepreneurial sector.

Since its inception in 2002, Sharjah Business Women Council (SBWC) has dedicated its efforts to drive full integration of businesswomen in the economy and promote a culture of sustainable female entrepreneurship in Sharjah.

SBWC's holistic approach to supporting female-owned and led businesses include assisting businesswomen in the process of setting up their businesses in Sharjah, forging partnerships with government and private organizations in the UAE and abroad, and offering them exposure at various local and international business, economic and professional events.

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