Business Bureau, Gulf Today
SBWC has enabled its members to devise innovative strategies and adapt new business models to cope with the post-crisis realities.
Sharjah Business Women Council (SBWC), an affiliate of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment (NAMA), has concluded its series of capacity-building discussion sessions scheduled for July, aimed at rebuilding and strengthening the UAE’s female-led business and entrepreneurial ecosystem in response to COVID-19 disruptions. Through a range of development resources targeting various sectors, SBWC has enabled its members devise innovative strategies and adapt new business models to cope with the post-crisis realities.
SBWC’s third and concluding talk for July titled ‘The Rise of Sustainable Fashion’, was hosted on July 28, where experts highlighted the growing trend of ethical and sustainable fashion and the far-reaching impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the apparel and fashion industry.
Shatha Alaay, Member of the Federal National Council, Founder of Dar Al Shatha and Shatha Beauty Spa; and Amna Al Shara, Department Manager Retail Sales Dept Northern Emirates steered the conversation on lessons learnt in the pandemic and highlighted unique approaches to design and manufacture in a more sustainable manner to keep pace with the new shifts in consumer behaviour.
Alaay and Al Shara shared their entrepreneurship journey in the sustainable fashion sector. They pointed out that the sector adopted sustainable manufacturing practices and aimed at lowering the carbon footprint by using eco-friendly material and reducing consumption of natural resources.
The entrepreneurs said they had overcome challenges by evaluating market requirements, creating new designs, and focusing on product quality. They also noted that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had motivated entrepreneurs to take their businesses online and focus on e-marketing.
Several participants shared their experiences in adapting their business to the present situation, and how they benefited from the measures taken by the government to protect and support SMEs. They also lauded the virtual initiatives launched by SBWC aimed at helping members navigate the crisis.
At SBWC’s talk titled ‘Beauty & Jewelry Trends: The Future Outlook’, Shurooq Al Midfa, Founder of Shurooq Al Midfa Jewelry, and Olympia Tabash, Partner at Anfasic Dokhoon, highlighted the strong influence of social media in shaping consumer behaviour, pointing out that collaborations with influencers could boost brand awareness and expose the brand to new and large audience segments.
The entrepreneurs also drew attention to the in-store vs online shopping debate, emphasising that as e-commerce was the way forward, businesses should strike a balance between the retail and online approach to ensure business continuity. They further advised SBWC members to refrain from comparing their business growth with that of their competitors and to focus instead on bolstering the brand through effective marketing strategies.
At ‘The Future of F&B Industries’ session hosted by SBWC in July, Nawal Al Nuaimi, CEO & Founder of Paper Fig Café & Dessert Shop, said well-researched marketing plans that take into account shifting trends in consumer behaviour were vital for effective decision-making to optimise production and reduce food wastage.
With the increased impact of technology on the service industry, she urged for greater focus on delivery systems to offer improved levels of comfort, convenience, and control for the customers. Securing logistics capacity would further ensure timely supply and availability of essential items, she added. SBWC organise an ongoing activities and events to continue upskilling its members.
Doubling its member base to 2,246 in just a span of five years, the Sharjah Business Women Council (SBWC), an affiliate of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment, has charted an impressive story of development and growth, achieving major milestones in recent years.
Staying true to its vision of creating a nurturing and stimulating environment for businesswomen and entrepreneurs, the organisation has taken the lead in conducting workshops, exhibitions, conferences, trade missions and business trips, in addition to active participation in several economic activities at the local, regional and international levels.
This slew of diverse support programmes has helped nurture an entrepreneurship culture and led to a spurt in sustainable women-led projects in Sharjah.
SBWC’s overarching vision to be an effective partner in the comprehensive economic development of the country has seen the council provide technical assistance to women keen on launching their businesses, and opportunities to participate in local and international conferences and exhibitions.