UAE, Brazilian women focus on changing digital landscape - GulfToday

UAE, Brazilian women focus on changing digital landscape


Officials during the UAE-Brazilian business women webinar.

Business Bureau, Gulf Today

The UAE and Brazil are leading examples of countries where women are building successful businesses that are driving the digital transformation of retail, industry experts said at a recent webinar hosted by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s representative office in Sao Paulo.

The webinar, titled Brazil-UAE Success Cases: the role of women in leading digital transformation in the retail industry, was attended by 178 participants from the UAE, Brazil and other emerging markets, and supported by Dubai Business Women Council, Brazil’s Women Group, ICC Brazil, Brazilian Service of Support for Micro and Small Enterprises (SEBRAE) and the Federation of Sao Paulo State Industries (FIESP).

Several success stories of women-owned businesses in the UAE and Brazil were highlighted during the webinar, including Magazine Luiza, and Shatha Essa. Luiza Helena Trajano, Former CEO of retailer Magazine Luiza, billionaire and Brazil’s richest woman, headlined the event, while other speakers included Emirati fashion designer Shatha Essa; Leena Khalil, co-founder of Dubai-based; Omar Khan, Director of International Offices, Dubai Chamber; and Natalia Sycheva, Manager of Entrepreneurship at Dubai Chamber.

Sessions highlighted the important role women entrepreneurs are playing in reshaping the retail sector in both countries, key industry trends, and best practices for boosting e-commerce growth and social media reach and cross-border collaboration, as well as synergies between Brazilian and UAE-based startups and retailers.

Addressing participants, Omar Khan, Director of International Offices at Dubai Chamber, noted that in the UAE and Brazil, women-led businesses are major players within the fast growing e-commerce and retail markets, and stressed the importance of highlighting success stories in these markets as they can offer valuable insights and lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs.

“In the UAE, women play a major role in government, business and all other segments of society. Dubai is a land of opportunity for women entrepreneurs who are actively contributing to the economy, launching successful businesses and fostering innovation,” said Khan, who revealed that a large percentage of startups registered with Dubai Startup Hub, Dubai Chamber’s entrepreneurship initiative, are owned and run by women.

Khan said there is vast potential for the UAE and Brazil to align their efforts to expand bilateral cooperation in the area of women entrepreneurship and provide women-led businesses access to global opportunities.

In her keynote speech, Luiza Trajano gave an overview of her entrepreneurial journey in building Magazine Luiza into one of Brazil’s largest retail companies and leading Brazil’s Women Group. She shared lessons learned in entrepreneurship, such as the importance of innovation in driving business processes and maintaining connection between offline and online sales.

For her part, Leena Khalil spoke about various consumers trends shaping the retail landscape in the UAE and Middle East, such as growing demand for products designed for families, and explained that was established to fill a market gap for mothers who wanted to compare products and shop online. She noted that the company has been successful in launching global partnerships and added that it is keen on exploring opportunities in the Brazilian market.

Shatha Essa shared her experience starting out as a fashion designer who leveraged social media to grow her business beyond borders, adding that the company has focused its efforts on China, the UK and Brazil.

Natalia Sycheva, Manager of Entrepreneurship at Dubai Chamber, concluded the event with an informative presentation on Dubai Startup Hub, highlighting the benefits and services it provides to startups in Dubai, many of which are led by women. Women entrepreneurs in the UAE are spoilt for choice when it comes to the support available to them in the form of incubators, mentors, accelerators, investors and role models, she explained, adding that retail and e-commerce are sectors that are ripe with opportunity, where startups in the UAE and Brazil can offer cutting-edge solutions.

Established in 1965, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry is a non-profit public entity, whose mission is to represent, support and protect the interests of the business community in Dubai by creating a favourable business environment, supporting the development of business, and by promoting Dubai as an international business hub.

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