Seventeen UAE-based female entrepreneurs have graduated from the Badiri Education andDevelopment Academy (Badiri) – the education and capacity development arm of NAMA WomenAdvancement Establishment (NAMA) based in Sharjah – to embark on 16 unique journeys of creating social change through their purpose-driven start-ups. These up-and-coming entrepreneurs were trained at the second edition of the academy’s Badiri SocialEntrepreneurship Programme (BSEP), an intensive 10-month course, held in collaboration with UK-basedSchool for Social Enterprises (SSE).
BSEP aims to further the UAE’s vision to empower the nation’s entrepreneurs with the tools and global expertise needed to make their businesses socially impactful along with being commercially successful. At the graduation ceremony held on January 28 at the Executive Office of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaherbint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of NAMA, KhadijaAl Jabri, creator of PlayMaker, described how the idea of setting up a consultancy firm that aims to change society’s perceptions on topics considered a stigma, came about during field visits to India and the UK, organised as part of BSEP’s specialised action-learning curriculum.“I have met phenomenally inspiring people in the last 10 months and changemakers from three corners of the globe who are actively making an impact through their businesses and solving major social challenges in their own communities.
Their work has helped me understand the potential of my project,”she said.“It has been an incredible journey to be a part of NAMA’s social entrepreneurship programme this year. It has brought to life an idea that has been brewing in my mind for the last three years,” she added. Khadija Al Jabri also thanked her alma mater for “believing in my ridiculously ambitious project, for guiding me in the right direction and for helping me find my ‘why’.”Another graduate, Muna Alnahdi, is the creator of The Eduvation Project, an affordable learning platform to connect educators and learners. Through digital and offline tools, it provides active, fun, and affordable learning and educational activities aiming at bringing creativity and innovation into the learning process. Another BSEP participant, Abeer Mohamed’s passion for pursuing mindful living has led to the launch of LYTE Wellness studio to transform the lives of mothers who often struggle to adjust to a new identity and are particularly vulnerable to stress. The aesthetic and soothing environs of LYTE Wellness also features an excellent childcare support system.
Maryam Al Shaikh, Membership and Services Manager at the Sharjah Business Women Council (SBWC)– another NAMA affiliate – educated the graduates on how they can take the next steps in journey of learning and skills development as business women in the real world with SBWC’s guidance and support.“Whether you need a role model to look up to for inspiration, or economic support to showcase your product or service to new markets in the region and globally, SBWC is well-equipped to empower you with these.”“We are committed to opening doors to bright, career-focused, fearless women entrepreneurs like yourself who want to make a real difference,” Al Shaikh added. Alistair Phillips-Davies, Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director at SSE was also at the graduation and said: “It is wonderful to see women leading the social enterprise movement in the UAE. These women are pioneers of the future; they were thrilled that they were joining our lovely fellowship.”Speaking on the occasion, Reem BinKaram, Director of NAMA, said: “By challenging the status quo and embracing social entrepreneurship as a profession, our 16 graduates are taking their commitment and passion to a new level. I believe that the intense, practical learning experience you acquired at the UK and India branches of SSE have fully equipped you to align your business interests with a social purpose.”Your valuable contributions to the economy and society will contribute to NAMA and Badiri’s efforts to realise the vision of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of NAMA, to empower women in the UAE and the wider Arab region, socially and economically,” BinKaram added.
At the graduation ceremony, Dr. Mona Al Ali, Manager of Badiri, expressed her “heartfelt gratitude toNAMA for looking upon women as an indispensable human resource”, and thanked SSE for their practical,action-based and engaging learning approach in building the capacity of women entrepreneurs. Congratulating the graduates, she said, “Young social entrepreneurs like you have the power to change the lives of millions of people. I look at you today and I see so much hope for you and our collective future.”Each of the 16 participants presented their business projects to the gathering while a video capturing the education journey of the participants was also screened at the event.The BSEP curriculum enables participants to develop specific skill sets in business and leadership, and assists them in turning their ideas into successful projects and start-ups that are innovative, profitable and beneficial to the community. The debut edition of BSEP trained 13 UAE-based women entrepreneurs.
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