Mastercard has launched a new research in a series of workshops for the Middle East and Africa’s female entrepreneurs at the 2020 Dubai Expo.

Held at Expo 2020 Dubai’s Women’s Pavilion in collaboration with Cartier, the sessions focused on the power of the digital economy in enabling women-owned businesses to go online.

In a study conducted by Mastercard among Female Fusion’s network of more than 20,000 members across the region, it was revealed that 95% of women SMEs in the region identify social media channels as the top tool for their business ventures. Other channels include their own e-commerce websites at 72% as well as messaging services such as Facebook and WhatsApp at 50%.

In addition, 72% women-owned businesses stated that they rely on word of mouth to market their products and services. The workshop identified how SMEs can strengthen their online footprint to better connect with their consumers in the digital economy.

Speakers at the workshops included the following.

  • Ngozi Megwa – Senior Vice President, Digital Partnerships MEA at Mastercard.
  • Sarah Beydoun – Founder and Creative Director of social impact fashion business Sarah’s Bag in Lebanon.
  • Ioanna Angelidaki – co-founder of Instashop.
  • Maureen Hall – Founder and CEO of COÉGA Sunwear.

The recent unveiling of the annual Mastercard MEA SME Confidence Index also revealed that in terms of a digital footprint of women entrepreneurs in the region, social media leads the way at 71%, followed by a company website by 57%.

“The findings from the study indicate a clear need for further education and empowerment. Mastercard has long pushed for the success and growth of women as we break gender barriers around the world. Digital tools and technologies are the greatest equalizer for businesses and as the shift towards e-commerce becomes increasingly permanent, we are committed to helping women businesses go digital and grow digital as they pursue their entrepreneurial passions,” said Ngozi Megwa, Senior Vice President, Digital Partnerships MEA, Mastercard.

“We are proud of the successful launch of our workshop series in partnership with Mastercard. As a growing community of ambitious women leaders, Female Fusion Network looks to support our members with access to platforms that offer simple yet effective takeaways for them to grow their business. We look forward to having more of these impactful sessions during Expo 2020 Dubai,” said Jennifer Blandos, Managing Partner, Female Fusion Network.