JEDDAH: An increasing number of women in Saudi Arabia have begun to achieve tremendous success in the entrepreneurial field, tackling big businesses and male-dominated industries to make their unique mark on the economy.
In light of recent increases in female-friendly business opportunities, several female entrepreneurs have shown that they are both willing and able to step out of the box to find creative jobs that ignite their passions and challenge them.
Abeer Mohammed is one such inspiring woman: “Starting a handmade jewellery business with the help of social media while bringing up two children was not an easy task at first. But with my gradual increase in customers and the setting of a schedule for myself, I can now manage both of these tasks confidently. Several local accessories businesses even want to collaborate with me these days,” she said. Continuing, she noted that “the traditional attitudes toward females starting their own businesses have changed for the better, and society is becoming very welcoming to us now.”
Many local businesswomen have expressed that to start up a business, they had to go through several challenges such as official work delays, high expenses or cultural norm questions. Haya Sohail, an interior designer, said, “When I told my family members that I wanted to start a business they were all against for several reasons like the fact that the job requires meeting strangers. They questioned why I would want to do such work for the sake of money. But gradually people understood that the reason behind the idea was so that I could take my hobbies and excellent skills to the next level.”
Similarly, a young Saudi fashion designer, Safiah Alaquil, now holds a prominent name in the fashion industry. Regarding recent economic and social shifts in society, she said that “things have changed now for women in the Kingdom. They are given the chance to be at the forefront in every sector. Besides, the idea of entrepreneurship has grasped the attention of everyone and is catching on like a fever!”
According to statistics from the Al-Sayedah Khadijah Bint Khuwailid Businesswomen’s Center, 63 percent of Saudi women have unregistered yet successful businesses, and rely on mobile phones and personal computers to do business.
Noor Khaled, a business consultant, said: “Saudi businesswomen rely on personal savings to fund their businesses and do not seek external financing to start and manage their endeavours, which shows that it’s not only about deploying money alone but about taking an interest in nurturing a business with efficient management.”
Today, female-owned businesses in Saudi Arabia are operating in a wide variety of fields such as fashion, jewelry, interior design, photography, and beauty, as well as professional services such as consulting, marketing, public relations, event management and education.
The participation of women is not only restricted to entrepreneurial activity; indeed, women have now stepped up in the municipal election campaigns for the first time in Kingdom’s history. Being able to not only vote, but also to run as candidates has come as a welcome change for women across the Kingdom.
Maha Zahrani, a social researcher, remarked: “This shows an excellent level of progress for Saudi women, and this decision will eventually make women even more confident and strong. We recognize that the political participation of women will pose several challenges to resistant strains of society, but with increased awareness programs to promote female representation, women can truly begin to make a difference.”
The country has made an incredible progress in the last few years, with a number of girls setting an astonishing example in several fields including economics and culture. Zahrani added that the new opportunities at the government level will showcase the enthusiasm and capability of Saudi women to contribute to and lead their country, thus changing the often-stagnant views within Saudi society.
Source : www.arabnews.com