Igniting Women’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Saudi Arabia (Ignite), the new business initiative has set a goal to bring together female Saudi entrepreneurs with their American counterparts, including business leaders to bridge connections and create partnership opportunities.
The Ignite program initiated by the US mission to Saudi Arabia, by joining with the Atlantic Council’s empowerME initiative, the American Chamber of Commerce of Saudi Arabia, and Quantum Leaps, an organization for female entrepreneurs will host workshops and networking events during which women in the two countries can share insights and develop businesses.
“Ignite builds on the advances women in Saudi Arabia are making as entrepreneurs, innovators, investors and business leaders,” said Martina Strong, the charge d’affaires to the US Mission in Saudi Arabia.
The program aims to provide women in Saudi Arabia with resources to help them pursue careers as CEOs, investors and startup owners so that they can contribute to job creation and positive economic change.
“Ignite will bring together Saudi women with American entrepreneurs and business leaders in a series of workshops and networking events to build relationships, share knowledge and develop partnership opportunities. Saudi women are indeed reaching for success right now. Saudi women are driving progress under the Vision 2030 reform program. They are joining the Kingdom’s workforce and positions of leadership in unprecedented numbers.”
The plan for the Ignite program began to take shape last year, when Saudi Arabia held the presidency of the G20, during sessions of the forum’s Women 20 engagement group which focused on areas including empowerment, entrepreneurship, economic opportunity, and security.
Women in Saudi Arabia have already participated in business initiatives by US companies like UPS, ExxonMobil and Lockheed Martin. The Ignite program also aims to help US entrepreneurs become involved in Saudi Arabia’s economic transformation as part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
“The opportunity I see in Saudi right now for female founders, for female-led businesses, for female participation across the board, there are no barriers. But women still need access to networks. Networks create opportunities, so (the question is) how can we enable women to break those barriers and enable them to be a part of the business community, ” said Lateefa Alwaalan, managing director of Endeavor Saudi Arabia, an organization that supports entrepreneurs.