Saudi Arabia – Effat University and Henry Ford Entrepreneurship Academy (HEFA) launched an entrepreneurship boot camp to train future Saudi businesswomen at Effat University from 12–16 March 2017.
Following the event, in April, Effat University signed an agreement with Henry Ford Entrepreneurship Academy to provide women-only entrepreneurial workshops. These workshops aim to train Saudi women on a range of vital new skills and tools to enhance the entrepreneurial mind-set needed to nurture their creative ideas and assess the feasibility of their plans, thus helping these budding entrepreneurs launch and grow new ventures.
In the first of its kind women-only workshops, and over the course of two days, 215 participants in the Effat University- HEFA boot camp were whittled down to 50. The top 10 winning teams, who secured a place in the academy’s following three-day workshop, received cutting-edge training from Effat University and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) professors and insights from local entrepreneurs on the steps and activities for creating and sustaining their new ventures.
“We are excited to collaborate with Henry Ford Entrepreneurship Academy to provide women entrepreneurs in our community with useful programmes and give them tools to lead their businesses to success. Effat University takes pride in standing behind empowering women in Saudi Arabia ever since the university was established, and it is truly an honour to be part of this initiative as it also helps us contribute to the Saudi Vision 2030 by supporting women entrepreneurs,” Said Dr Haifa Jamal Allail, president of Effat University.
Participants of the Effat University-HEFA three-day workshop learned lessons on raising funds for start-ups in Saudi Arabia, working in groups on the business canvas, setting brief outline plans for their projects, and making a three-minute practice presentation to judges and mentors. “The great interest and participation level in the first ever women-only Henry Ford Entrepreneurship Academy, highlights the important role women have to play and their desire to be involved in the future business landscape of the Kingdom,” said Simonetta Verdi, director of government and community relations, Ford Middle East and Africa.
Through the HFEA model, the 50 women – 60% of whom are business industry students at Effat University – with the other 40% comprised of aspiring businesswomen from Jeddah, gained a unique perspective into how to combine the theory and practice of entrepreneurship.
The applied learning technique in the workshop empowers women to gain a better understanding of their unique value contribution as future entrepreneurs and business leaders in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.