Crescent Enterprises and Cherie Blair Foundation for Women Unite to Spur Female Entrepreneurship in Middle East

Sharjah, UAE; April 23, 2014: UAE-based conglomerate Crescent Enterprises has partnered with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women to empower, mentor and support female entrepreneurs in a number of countries across the Middle East. As part of the cooperation agreement, select senior female employees of Crescent Enterprises will provide their professional expertise and guidance to the Foundations Mentoring Women in Business programme for one year beginning in May via a unique online mentoring platform.

According to World Bank figures, women make up half of university attendees in the MENA region, but only 21 per cent of the workforce, and control only 22 per cent of its wealth. Crescent Enterprises is seeking to raise this figure through its work with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women by providing sustainable solutions to the challenges female entrepreneurs face, and through mentorship helping to accelerate the strides these women are making.

We are proud to share the Cherie Blair Foundations vision of a world where women have equal opportunities to succeed in business, which means proper access to the resources, mentorship and guidance necessary for long-term sustainable success, said Badr Jafar, Chief Executive Officer of Crescent Enterprises. We will continue to offer our time and expertise to a programme like this one that empowers female entrepreneurs, where the direct benefits will extend to their families and communities.

Drawing from the 6,000-strong workforce of Crescent Enterprises and its subsidiary companies, which include Gulftainer, URUK Engineering, Gama Aviation, and Clinical Pathology Services, between five and 15 female Arabic-speaking mentors will be selected. Following the initial training phase, mentors will interact on a one-to-one virtual basis with mentees for a number of hours each month, providing advice and guidance on various business aspects from marketing, communications and technology to accounting, finance and human resources. Crescent Enterprises will also contribute to the development of the mentoring platform, to facilitate in the roll-out the programme across other parts of the world.

Cherie Blair stated: Through the Cherie Blair Foundations Mentoring Women in Business programme, we are breaking barriers with technology, making it possible to exchange knowledge on a global scale and create opportunity where otherwise it might not have been possible. And it is only through cooperation that the foundation is truly able to achieve its objectives, which is why I am delighted that the foundation is partnering with Crescent Enterprises, a firm that truly believes in providing direct support to aspiring female entrepreneurs in the Middle East as they translate their ideas not only into employment opportunities but thriving, sustainable businesses.

The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women was established in 2008, to ensure that women entrepreneurs in developing and emerging markets are not held back by lack of access to business skills, technology, networks and finance. Through its Mentoring Women in Business programme, the Foundation has pioneered a new way of supporting women entrepreneurs achieve key business goals by combining mentoring with technology, offering cross-border support worldwide.

Alongside its mentoring work, which has supported approximately 1,000 entrepreneurs globally to date, the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women also runs programmes that deliver tailored business training, assist with business registration and enhance access to capital and markets on a global scale. To date, the Foundation has reached over 100,000 women entrepreneurs in more than 70 countries.

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