Saudi accelerator removes roadblocks for women in business

CountrySaudi Arabia

Despite the constant progress in the Middle East’s startup scene, the region still faces some unique challenges. These include the lowest female labour force participation rate (LFPR) in the world – at 24.6%, it significantly trails the global average of 47.8%.According to a McKinsey report and to Emon Shakoor, CEO of the region’s first female-focused accelerator, Blossom, women’s participation in professional and technical jobs is not on a par with men’s.THE BIRTH OF AN IDEA“As it is, starting a company is pretty difficult, but starting a company as a woman often had additional challenges. Gender biases and cultural beliefs added an extra layer of difficulty for women who wanted to launch their own business,” Shakoor says.In 2017, the then 23-year-old woman sought to start her own venture and build a strong entrepreneurial network in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

However, she found it extra hard to reach out and talk to upper echelons, which is when the idea for more...