Creating an Inclusive Future for Women Entrepreneurs in the MENA Region

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MicroMentor is proud of our work in the MENA region in collaboration with Mastercard's Center for Inclusive Growth as we reinforce women’s abilities to create economic opportunities for themselves and their communities. Our easy-to-use business mentoring platform provides access to the resources they need to launch and grow their businesses.

With the support of this initiative, women entrepreneurs are projected to create or retain approximately 15,000 jobs globally -- 1,500 of those in the MENA region this year as a result of the mentoring received through our global community.* [*These numbers are projected using the global female outcomes. They likely vary to some degree for female MENA entrepreneurs.]

Read below about how Reem and Hamsa are building successful businesses in the Middle East with the support of MicroMentor.

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Bringing Change for Women in Lebanon

Reem Daher, a women-rights advocate, is passionate about supporting other women. Two years ago, Reem decided to take action against the harassment of vulnerable women in Lebanon: “After so many incidents and many more disappointments, I decided to take the lead and change our reality.”

She began Khutwa, Arabic for step; an initiative that would provide a safe environment for students to learn and prevent sexual harassment through an online platform by giving access to podcasts, advocacy content, and a hotline for reporting harassment in Tripoli, Lebanon.

Reem joined MicroMentor as a way to access business expertise that could strengthen Khutwa. She found support in mentors from Tunisia and India who helped develop a business model canvas, SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis, budgeting, and goal setting.

The MicroMentor community became Reem’s primary channel for acquiring business resources, and at the same time exposed her to a new career path while maintaining a full-time job. She is still active on the site, carrying on her dream to see women receive the support they need.

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Supporting Small Artisans and Artists in Jordan

When Hamsa had her first child, working long hours as an IT developer became stressful as her family responsibilities increased. She jumped at the opportunity to start her own company – in hope of finding a better work-life balance – and left her career after fourteen successful years.

Hamsa began the process of developing Youniche Shop. She hoped to create an online platform where she could offer personalized and locally produced handicrafts. It would also double as a space for small artists and artisans to share and sell their work.

Although Hamsa could envision her venture, she didn’t know how or what she needed to get Youniche Shop off the ground. She was scrolling through Facebook when she stumbled on a MicroMentor post. She thought, “Wow, this is what I need right now.”

She connected with Ahmad Ebriwish, a Jordanian mentor who provided helpful advice on how to best understand and manage competitors. Their first call lasted nearly an hour and just one week later, Hamsa officially registered Youniche Shop with the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Hamsa took advantage of the mentoring community and connected with Sana Hammad, a second mentor. Sana taught Hamsa about the life cycles of a new business and the challenges each stage may bring. As a result, Hamsa established a vision and became more practical and realistic.

Today, Youniche Shop is a working ecommerce site. Hamsa would like to pay forward her mentoring experience: “I see myself as a mentor on the platform soon. I feel it's time to share knowledge I learned over the previous two and a half years with folks who need guidance and support.”

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