Visa, DBWC and DIFC hive discuss opportunities and challenges facing female owned start-ups at 'Women in tech' forum

Forum is part of a series of initiatives to champion diversity and inclusion as part of Visa's collaboration with the Dubai Business Women Council

Visa, DBWC and DIFC hive discuss opportunities and challenges facing female owned start-ups at 'Women in tech' forum

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: As part of continued efforts to advance diversity and inclusion, Visa, the world’s leader in digital payments, partnered with the Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC) to co-host their Women in Tech Forum.  Held virtually for the first time, the forum featured inspiring industry experts who came together to discuss what female entrepreneurs need for their businesses to survive and thrive in today’s evolving tech ecosystem.

The panel shared both their professional advice on their experience with mentoring and working with startups and larger organizations, and shared personal experiences and insights that have helped them shape their successful careers in the tech industry.

Visa's Vice President, Fintech & Ventures, CEMEA, Otto Williams delved into the future of payments and innovation, the increased opportunities to take part in digital transformation agendas, various funding and investment avenues available to entrepreneurs and shed light on Visa’s Fast Track program and the latest Visa Everywhere Initiative that is targeted at supporting start-ups. One of the MENA region’s most influential women in technology, Raja Al Mazrouei, EVP, DIFC Fintech Hive, detailed the Hive’s different partnership and accelerator programs and the opportunities it provides for female entrepreneurs to accelerate their careers and lead new tech businesses. Building on the support available for founders, Malak Alsaffar, Country Manager – Bahrain, Visa, shared her perspective of the local and regional fintech ecosystem and her own experience in taking up the challenge of a mid-career move.

H.E Dr. Raja Al Gurg, President of the Dubai Business Women Council delivered her welcome address. She highlighted how partnerships and mentorship opportunities with digital payments leaders like Visa can drive, scale and foster a more diverse and inclusive tech ecosystem for women to launch and grow their careers and businesses.

Shahebaz Khan, Visa’s General Manager for UAE, said: “It's no secret that women still face more challenges than male entrepreneurs, including getting equal access to capital and connecting with a network of other entrepreneurs and mentors for support. At Visa, we take this imbalance very seriously and are always looking for ways to empower women-owned businesses and women in the workplace to advance diversity and inclusion around the world. We are delighted to expand our efforts here in the UAE and the wider MENA region by working with like-minded partners such as DBWC as we help female tech founders develop and grow their entrepreneurial visions “

Visa signed a strategic partnership with Dubai Business Women Council earlier this year to champion the advancement and support the growth of female entrepreneurs in the UAE.  Visa will also support DBWC’s flagship mentorship program where 12 experienced mentors from Visa will offer insight, advice, and ideas over a five-month period.

“In today’s world, technology has become a crucial factor in enhancing business competitiveness and the main catalyst to get the most out of the available investment opportunities,” said H.E Dr. Raja Al Gurg, President of the Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC), stressing that businesswomen and female entrepreneurs in the Dubai can harness technology in the service of their career objectives and produce tangible results. “Our partnership with Visa comes as part of our painstaking efforts to provide businesswomen and female-owned start-ups with the best expertise and experiences available in the international arena and the new tech that can help them advance their businesses,” added Al Gurg.

Stressing the importance of the forum as a perfect platform for supporting women with meaningful solutions, tools, and initiatives helping them take their businesses to new heights, Al Gurg pointed to the DBWC’s keenness to conclude strategic partnerships with major companies to help support Dubai’s development process and empower women in all workplaces.

These programs support Visa’s continual efforts to support small businesses – with a strong focus on women entrepreneurship, through its various platforms including She’s Next empowered by Visa, Where You Shop Matters and the Visa Everywhere Initiative.


About Visa Everywhere Initiative

The Visa Everywhere Initiative is a global, open innovation program that tasks start-ups and fintechs to solve payment and commerce challenges of tomorrow, further enhance their own product propositions and provide visionary solutions for Visa’s vast network of partners. The program first launched in the U.S. in 2015 and quickly expanded into a global program with more than 7,000 participating startups. To date, startups have collectively raised over $2.5 billion in funding, and the program has been activated on six continents—touching more than 100 countries. 

For more details, please visit

About Dubai Business Women Council

Established in 2002, under the umbrella of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Dubai Business Women Council is the UAE’s leading platform for the personal and professional development of business women in the Emirate of Dubai.

Since its establishment, the Council has dedicated its efforts to enhancing gender parity in society and encouraging women to play an active role in building the country and stimulating sustainable development. Providing education, training and networking opportunities to aid in achieving holistic development and meeting career aspirations of UAE-based business women is at the heart of the DBWC’s mission, in addition to inspiring and encouraging women to play their role in society and the economy. For more information, visit About DBWC , @dbwc and @dbwc_uae

About Visa Inc.
Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network - enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of digital commerce on any device for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information, visit About Visa, Visa MENA Blog and  @VisaMiddleEast. 

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asda’a bcw, Dubai, UAE
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