More female tech startup entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia than Europe
Are you surprised?
According to latest research the participation rate of women in the sector was at 28 percent in the third quarter of last year, more than 10 percent above the European average rate, which sat at 17.5 percent in the same period.
Saudi Arabia issued 139,754 new commercial licenses to women in 2021, according to the Kingdom’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, a figure that marked one of the largest growth rates globally.
The ministry said the number represented a 112 percent increase in commercial registrations issued for women entrepreneurs compared to 2015, when 65,912 were granted to female-owned businesses.
Seeing women across every Ministry, Govt and non-governmental office in senior leadership positions is the norm despite popular global bias. On arrival to Saudi you may be surprised by the number of women on the immigration desks, this is a society that is empowered, driven and focused on creating the future. Women leading isn’t just a statistic but it’s demonstrative of a country LEAPING FORWARD.
Removed of cultural bias and returning to the rich Islamic history through which we are inspired. A history that began with a successful pioneering business woman, the first woman to Islam, the wife of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him (Khadijah rad).
Why is this important for everyone?
Research shows that gender equality has a strong link to a company's financial performance, in fact, companies with more women in executive roles are 25% more likely to be profitable.
Investments in female-led startups deliver significantly better returns to investors.
Studies also show that female investors are taking the lead in sustainable investment. Research shows that they are less driven by financial incentives, and more so by purpose, willing to accept higher risks or lower return on ESG investments.
Further, when women lead they hire more women and bring a new fresh perspective leading to a more diversified workforce and we all the know the impact of diversity on bottom line.
Statistics also indicate women give more in charity and to the community causing a ripple effect in the country.
It is an honour for the 2bn Muslims around the world to have the country that houses the beginning and the greatest gifts to us, the Holy Kaabah and the resting place of the beloved Prophet (pbuh), the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to be an example to the world of what a woman’s place in the economy should be.
Gender Equality globally
Let's look at Europe first with the IDC - European Women in VC
Whilst 2021 was again a record year for startups and venture capital funds with over $100bn invested into companies in Europe. It was also a record year for VC funds, which raised nearly $20bn. For the first time ever female General Partners were able to raise significant commitments for their VC funds including EUR500m for JEITO (France), EUR250m for Revaia (France), EUR90m for Crowberry (Iceland) and EUR150m for Livonia (Lithuania). Great progress but still far off equal access to capital for female managers. Less than 2% of VC money is still invested in female startups, although great new heights with Chief becoming a unicorn 3 years within founding. 2021 was a record year for female-led exist and IPOs, including bumble, 23 and Me, and Spanx and Darktrace which IPOed at close to EUR2bn in London.
Despite the traction and clear financial benefits, it will take 135.6years to close the gender gap worldwide if the current trajectory in the growth of female entrepreneurship continues according to the Global Gender Gap Report 2021.
We will continue this series with global examples being published. Keep following.