KFED launches SWAN programme to empower female Emirati-led home businesses


Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development (KFED) has launched the SWAN programme, an Emirati women empowerment initiative designed to empower ambitious UAE National women entrepreneurs who successfully run home-based businesses in Abu Dhabi. With a strong emphasis on mental wellbeing, mindfulness, and leadership skills development, SWAN aims to help them harness their strengths and gain the courage and support needed to transition their start-up home businesses into sustainable, licensed commercial
enterprises in the market. Consequently, shift their focus from achieving personal goals to pursuing social contribution goals aimed at the development of Abu Dhabi’s economy.
The initiative builds on the substantial presence UAE National women already have in the business sector. In 2021, 25,000 Emirati women entrepreneurs held 50,000 trade licences, according to a survey by NAMA Women Advancement and UN Women. SWAN is set to further this momentum, enriching the SME ecosystem by amplifying the contributions of Emirati women entrepreneurs and enhancing their impact in the economic landscape.
Over six to eight weeks, 10-15 UAE National women will engage in intensive training encompassing six workshops, with business coaching sessions following the completion of every two workshops. SWAN is crafted to assist the transition of participants’ home-based businesses into sustainable, licensed commercial businesses. The programme starts with the Mental Wellbeing workshop, identified as essential for leading a successful business and achieving work-life balance. Additional workshops cover key areas such as the Business Model Canvas, Business Plan and Financials, Sales Techniques and Marketing Strategies, Customer Value and Loyalty, and Business Sustainability. Upon successful completion of the programme, the women entrepreneurs will be eligible to receive a portion of a AED1 million grant to support their burgeoning businesses as they implement the knowledge gained from the intitiative. Success stories from the programme will be celebrated during Emirati Women’s Day on August 28.
Alia Abdullah Al Mazrouei, CEO of KFED, said: “The launch of the SWAN programme aligns with the National Policy for Empowerment of Emirati Women – 2031, initiated by Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union (GWU), President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF) and Mother of the Nation. This underscores our unwavering commitment to supporting the aspirations of Emirati women in entrepreneurship and investing in them to empower their pivotal role in the entrepreneurial landscape. The programme will refine participants’ personal and business skills, enrich their understanding of entrepreneurial fundamentals, and bolster their potential to confidently establish successful enterprises. This transformative experience will reshape their approach to entrepreneurship, elevating their objectives to include the social responsibility of women entrepreneurs and their active contribution to advancing Abu Dhabi’s economy, alongside their personal ambitions.
“In addition to the comprehensive training programme and financial backing, SWAN will unlock opportunities for participants to access local and global markets, expand their reach, and enhance the visibility of their brands. This support, provided by Khalifa Fund and its strategic partners, who will be offering them post-programme support.”
Additionally, SWAN programme participants will receive comprehensive support from KFED partners, facilitating the establishment of their businesses and market access.
KFED has always supported women’s entrepreneurial journeys. Since its establishment, 371 businesses owned by women entrepreneurs have received up to AED225 million in funding, while 21,189 have benefited from the fund’s workshops and training programmes. KFED has also partnered with leading international and local entities in various initiatives and training programmers to support women entrepreneurship, such as the Facebook initiative She Means Business in the UAE, and the Empowering Female Entrepreneurs initiative in collaboration with the Al Bayt Mitwahid Association.
The application window is currently open for those interested in joining the SWAN programme. Eligible applicants are ambitious Emirati women who have successfully managed a revenue-generating home-based business in Abu Dhabi, and demonstrate a high level of self-readiness, resilience and creativity. Women who meet the specified criteria are invited to complete and submit their applications.

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