Engineer Saed Al Awadi, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Exports
Aiming to empower and encourage more local women business owners to export and expand outside the UAE, Dubai Exports, an agency of the Department of Economic Development (DED) – Government of Dubai, hosted several UAE companies at the inaugural Global Women Vendors Exhibition and Forum (WVEF) at Chongqing, China.
Organised by International Trade Center (ITC), with the support of WEConnect International, WVEF convened around 200 women buyers and sellers from around the world. The UAE’s women business owners were able to interact with government officials looking for women’s trade capacity as well as heard cutting edge neaws on supplier diversity roll-outs.
WVEF focused on sectors such as textiles & apparel; agriculture & coffee; automotive; motorcycles & spare parts; clean & green tech; construction; IT & business process outsourcing; and trade facilitation. Dubai Exports supported local businesswomen from these sectors to explore further export opportunities not only in China’s huge market but also from other markets.
“The UAE Government has been creating business opportunities for women entrepreneurs, and we, at Dubai Exports, are also committed to women’s economic empowerment by providing the necessary tools and facilities to further encourage them to export their products and services outside the UAE,” said Engineer Saed Al Awadi, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Exports.
“Currently, women entrepreneurs in the UAE, who account for 4.5 per cent of the country’s total investors, have invested AED12.5 billion in various sectors including AED2.1 billion in the manufacturing sector, according to the UAE Businesswomen’s Council. With Chongqing as the largest trade hub in South-West China with a population of 32 million, our local businesswomen can take advantage of the growing demand for goods and services not only in this market but as well as other markets in the Far East,” Al Awadi added.
China is an important trade partner of UAE, posting a total of AED468.84 million direct exports and AED1.05 billion re-exports from Dubai in 2010. Meanwhile, Free Zone exports amounted to AED586.02 million in the same year.
Rasha Shehada, Business Development Executive of Diamond Line F.Z.E, who were among the UAE delegates said; “I’m honoured to have the opportunity to represent my family business, Diamond Line Hotel Supplies, in the first meeting of the global platform for action on sourcing from women vendors in Chongqing, China. I would like to thank both the Dubai Exports and ITC for supporting our business, which will hopefully enable us to better contribute to the economic growth of the UAE. Attending this forum helped me set realistic goals and gave me a good understanding of the challenges that we might face in supplying our products to world renowned corporations. Without hearing the participants’ success stories, I wouldn’t have been as optimistic as I am now in trying to reach out to potential buyers across the world. I encourage all Arab businesswomen to participate in this outstanding and important event to help them improve their businesses and reach out to potential customers through reliable sources.”
Nadira Al Zaroni, Chief Executive Officer of Blue Galaxy LLC, one of the four companies under the group of Building Solutions, also added; “China is a very difficult market for our products and services but it was very interesting to meet other woman and see how they run their businesses and to see the different products and different sectors. I was able to establish contacts with participants from some other Asian countries, which were very interested in our Automated Parking System and our newest green technology – the LPG tanks. It’s a great option to bring buyers and sellers together, especially for some specific sectors. The Women Vendors Exhibition and Forum in Chongqing was the first international event in the 10-year plan organised by ITC. It would be great if more participants from more different sectors will join in the coming years.”
Among the companies that participated at WVEF are Middle East Gate, Building Solution Group, Sit Jump Play for Etrading, Diamond Line FZ, Golden Globe Legal Trade, AMS Contracting, Disruptiveplay, Independence Exhibition Organizing, LICCE Fashion Design, and Ashant Enterprises FZE.
The three-day exhibition and forum included sharing of trends by industry and government leaders in purchasing from women vendors, hot sectors and the new frontiers; as well as networking between buyers and sellers during one-on-one focus meetings. There was also site visits to businesses in one of the fastest growing regions in China.
WVEF was also supported by the Chongqing Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Commission, the China Association of Women Entrepreneurs, the International Federation of Business and Professional Women, the International Women’s Coffee Alliance, SPINNA and Quantum Leaps.