NAMA-UN Women promotes 16,000 Female-Owned SMEs, upskills 6,000 Entrepreneurs

NAMA, UAE Embassy in South Africa, UN Women and Stakeholders representatives during the mission (Photo: AETOSWire)

NAMA Women Advancement (NAMA), a renowned organization for women’s empowerment with its headquarters in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, has achieved a new milestone by successfully integrating 16,000 women-owned businesses into South Africa’s value chains.

The historic accomplishment comes after four years of strategic work under the “Stimulating Equal Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs” Flagship Programme Initiative (FPI), which NAMA launched in South Africa and the UAE in partnership with UN-Women in 2018 to eliminate structural barriers to gender equality and promote women’s economic empowerment.

Projects initiated under FPI were implemented in collaboration with UN-Women, governments, the private sector, investors, civil society, women entrepreneurs, and women’s enterprise associations.

They also led high-level advocacy and dialogue to position gender-responsive procurement as a strategic lever for advancing women’s enterprise development. More than 16,000 women-owned businesses now have improved capacities to participate in various value chains.

A total of 6,452 women entrepreneurs have benefited from skills and capacity development programmes, enhancing their participation in procurement processes and increasing their access to business opportunities, income, and growth.

NAMA, UN-Women, officials from the South African government, and private sector signatories of Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) discussed the results of the ongoing programme over a series of roundtables conducted during NAMA’s five-day field visit to South Africa.

Based on the South African experience, these conversations evaluated the program’s progress, areas for improvement, and new potential to expand FPI’s footprints in supporting women entrepreneurs worldwide.

HE Mahash Saeed Al Hameli, the UAE Ambassador to South Africa, and Fatima Yousuf Al Suwaidi, the First Secretary at the UAE Embassy in South Africa, joined the NAMA delegation on their field trips, which were led by HE Reem BinKaram, Director of NAMA.

Positive, tangible outcomes for women across South Africa

Leveraging the technology of Buyfromwomen, an innovative e-commerce platform, the project has connected Women Owned Enterprises (WOEs) in Energy, Transport, Agriculture and General Entrepreneurship to improved access to markets.

With x7 modules, the Learning Management System (LMS) assisted women in assessing online self-paced training during Covid-19. Of the 3,693 women who were profiled, 1,264 enrolled on the LMS.

UN-Women’s advocacy efforts further delivered results when the President of South Africa earmarked 40 percent of public procurement projects for women-owned enterprises.


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