University of Iowa, EFE Will Train Saudi Women on Entrepreneurship
As part of a partnership with the United States Consulate General in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the University of Iowa and Education For Employment (EFE) have launched a one-year project to train Saudi women from the western region on entrepreneurship skills in emerging sectors like information technology, real estate, and e-commerce. This project will focus on fast-growing sectors in Saudi Arabia, in line with Vision 2030 goals to support economic growth in Saudi Arabia.
The project will provide 50 women with professional training and connections to local and international mentors that are necessary to start their businesses. The project is an initiative that provides demand-driven training linked to mentorship by successful Saudi and U.S. businesswomen as a key tool for reducing unemployment and expanding economic opportunities for Saudi women.
The Western Saudi Arabia Venture School for Women project is designed to “put new entrepreneurial tools into the hands of Saudi women,” said Dimy Doresca, director of the Institute for International Business at the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business. “With the guidance of Iowa professionals, we will train aspiring innovators of business and social enterprise, through the startup process using methods that reduce risk and encourage ongoing innovation. We will nurture and empower women in Saudi Arabia to become examples of social and economic success in their communities.”
The women will participate in Venture School International, an entrepreneurial educational program that guides students through the startup process by teaching them how to identify a market need and build a business to meet it. The university is partnering with the nonprofit Education For Employment (EFE) to teach the Venture School International training, which will be complemented by contacts at local financing organizations, government officials, and business support services. Doresca says Iowa women entrepreneurs will work with the Saudi women as mentors, providing support and encouragement while serving as role models. He says they will be recruited from the institute’s existing networks of women entrepreneurs in Iowa. As part of the program, university faculty and Iowa entrepreneurs will travel to Saudi Arabia to provide training and help develop mentor relationships.
“We are pleased to partner with the University of Iowa and the U.S. Consulate to enable young Saudi women to reach their potential by empowering them with cutting-edge skills to compete in growing sectors, especially in the digital economy,” said Abdullah Al Ghamdi, EFE in Saudi CEO. “The skills that these women will acquire are based on a proven model that has enabled EFE in Saudi Arabia to connect more than 5,000 people to the world of work, 52% who are young Saudi women. We look forward to a continuous partnership between EFE-Saudi, the University of Iowa, and the U.S. Consulate General in Jeddah.”
Said Amr Abdallah, director of Gulf Programs, EFE-Global:
“EFE is excited to see the new partnership with the U.S. Consulate General in Jeddah and the University of Iowa continue and expand in Saudi Arabia. The need to address youth employment challenges has never been greater, and I am pleased by the emphasis on supporting young women in Saudi Arabia. Together with the support of the U.S. Consulate General in Jeddah, we will see the positive impact that preparing youth for success and starting their business can have on these youth and their families. With a focus on entrepreneurship, we hope to not only impact those gaining the training, but open the doors for other young women to follow in their footsteps.”
The partnership and project in Saudi Arabia with the U.S. Consulate General in Jeddah, the University of Iowa, and EFE represents a leap forward in realizing the underrepresented potential of Arab women in diverse spaces, and linking them to business startup support and mentoring opportunities.
About the University of Iowa Institute for International Business (IIB)
The Institute for International Business (IIB) is the international business and entrepreneurship arm of the Tippie College of Business and John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) at the University of Iowa. The IIB plays a key role in the Tippie mission to engage students, staff, and faculty to act constructively and inclusively in a global business environment. The IIB promotes international entrepreneurship as a tool to empower people in developing countries and frontier markets while at the same time providing Iowa students with cross-cultural and international business skills.
About Education For Employment (EFE)
Education for Employment (EFE) is the leading youth employment organization in the Middle East and North Africa that transforms the future with youth through the dignity of work. Since 2006, locally-run EFE Affiliates in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, and support hubs in the United States, Europe, and the United Arab Emirates, have partnered to link more than128,000 youth to the world of work while supporting more than 3,617 businesses to obtain the entry-level talent they need to grow. More than 58% of EFE’s graduates are young women, reflecting EFE’s special focus on supporting women’s entry into the workforce.