Applications are now open for ‘Championing Women in Business Leadership’ Jusoor’s latest project under the Entrepreneurship program. The project is dedicated to tackling the distinct obstacles encountered by Arab women entrepreneurs during the initial stages of launching their companies in the MENA region. Indeed, data from the literature highlight an intriguing contradiction: on one hand, women-led businesses make up less than 5% of the MENA’s total businesses, compared to a global average of 23% to 26% according to Forbes Middle East; on the other hand, a study of 300 companies showed that companies with at least one woman co-founder outperform all men founder teams by 63%, indicating that women-lead businesses are a better investment. Clearly, there is a gap that needs to be bridged and potential that can be activated.
Women-only interventions occasionally face skepticism. Some are concerned about potentially reinforcing stereotypes of women needing special assistance; others may resist challenging traditional gender norms; and still, others may perceive such programs are necessarily ‘anti-men’. In contrast, Jusoor’s intervention is designed in response to evidence from the literature as well as almost a decade of running incubators and hackathons in the Middle East which simultaneously indicate that Arab women entrepreneurs bring exceptional talent and market performance, but they also face unique barriers to establishing themselves as leaders in the current environment. Furthermore, Jusoor are thrilled to have been part of the evolution of the entrepreneurship ecosystem in the Levant over the last decade -- a space where Arab women are now significantly more engaged in entrepreneurship, however only a small proportion have had the opportunity and support to become full-fledged business leaders in the MENA region, thus we are uniquely positioned to make a difference at this crucial time, particularly for Syrian youth experiencing forced displacement.
By building on women business leaders’ innovative ideas and technical expertise, Jusoor’s intervention will empower a critical decision-making moment for many Syrian women founders when growing from startups to ecosystem leaders. We will help bridge the opportunity and societal support gap by opening key doors to top-tier (1) leadership coaching, (2) business infrastructure experts, (3) role models and mentors, and (4) pre-seed funding.
Over nine months, starting January 2024 online, Syrian women startup founders and co-founders and their startups will receive an in-depth 1:1 needs assessment; 20 hours of tailored 1:1 sessions with business experts and consultants; 16 leadership group coaching sessions; high-value networking with other women founders, and exclusive opportunities to meet and engage with well-known Arab women CEOs and Founders. Selected participants will also submit a business plan for up to $10,000 in pre-seed grant money, to help grow their businesses and secure investments.
Our project’s distinctive trademark is Jusoor's holistic approach and creation of the multiplier effect through peer support. The project’s ultimate goal is to strengthen women’s leadership skills, mindset, and network in business, and in doing so pipeline women-led businesses to the region’s accelerators and sustainable success in the MENA region and beyond.
Eligibility: This cohort targets Syrian women founders or co-founders, aged 24-36 years, working full-time on their tech/tech-enabled start-ups operating in the MENA region.
Application deadline: November 19th, 2023