Seminar on Women in Private Equity: New Frontiers for the MENA Region, 23 May 2011, Paris, France

 

Insufficient entrepreneurial finance is a key obstacle for enterprise creation and development in many countries. In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, this is due in part to the absence of well developed capital, venture capital and business angel markets, as well as the under-development of credit bureaus and restrictive lending practices by traditional financial institutions. The equity gap reportedly affects women entrepreneurs more than their male counterparts. In addition to supply-side problems, lack of financial literacy to effectively pitch for finance only raises the barrier for women and young entrepreneurs who are seeking funding.

 

There is growing evidence that improving the gender balance of management boards and staff within financial institutions can increase the propensity that these firms will lend to women entrepreneurs. Supporting women’s increased participation in the private equity industry can therefore be a part of broader strategies to increase women entrepreneurs’ access to capital for business creation and growth.

 

The seminar on Women in Private Equity: New Frontiers for the MENA Region was held with a view to exploring the launch of an OECD-MENA Women in Private Equity Initiative, which would aim to increase women’s participation in the private equity industry in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

 

It was organised by the United States Mission to the OECD and Venture Catalyst Private Equity Partners, with the support of the MENA-OECD Investment Programme, the OECD-MENA Women’s Business Forum and the U.S. International Trade Administration. It was hosted by Jones Day. Distinguished speakers included:

  • H.E. Ms. Dina Kawar, Ambassador of Jordan to France, Co-chair of the OECD-MENA Women’s Business Forum
  • H.E. Ms. Karen Kornbluh, Ambassador of the United States to the OECD, Co-chair of the OECD-MENA Women’s Business Forum
  • Ms. Nicola Ehlermann-Cache, Senior Policy Analyst, MENA-OECD Investment Programme, France
  • Mr. Randy Mitchell, Senior Strategist for Venture Capital & Private Equity, U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, United States
  • Ms. Anu Bhardwaj, Founder & Managing Director, Venture Catalyst Private Equity Partners, United States
  • Ms. Serena Romano, Member, OECD-MENA Women’s Business Forum, Italy
  • Prof. Claudia Zeisberger, Academic Co-Director, Global Private Equity Initiative (GPEI), INSEAD, France
  • Ms. Marina Niforos, American Chamber of Commerce, France
  • Ms. Jaleh Tehari, Women for Sustainable Growth, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Lund University, Sweden
  • Ms. Audra Shallal, Managing Director, Boss Consulting and Member, OECD-MENA Women’s Business Forum, France
  • Ms. Chiara Corazza, Managing Director, Greater Paris Investment Agency and Member, OECD-MENA Women’s Business Forum, France
  • Ms. Geetha Balavannanathan, Huloul Swiss Advisory FZ LLE, United Arab Emirates
  • Ms. Hoda Abou-Jamra, Managing Partner, TVM Capital MENA SHEFA Healthcare Fund, United Arab Emirates
  • Ms. Trang Minh Le, Strategic Consultant, Codebenders, France
  • Mr. Waddick Doyle, Director of Global Communications, American University of Paris
  • Mr. Karem Bouzouita, Consultant to the United Nations, PhD Candidate, The University of Paris VIII, Tunisia
  • Ms. Linda A. Hesse, Partner, Paris Office, Jones Day
  • Ms. Muna Abu Sulayman, Secretary General, Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation, Saudi Arabia
  • Sheikh Khalid Al-Khalifa, Founder and President, University College Bahrain, Bahrain
  • Ms. Kim E. Al-Sahhaf, Head of Education Sector, Investment Affairs, Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), Saudi Arabia

Event documentation

Agenda

Conclusions (EnglishFrenchArabic)

Thank you letter from Women’s Business Forum Co-chairs H.E. Dina Kawar (Jordanian Ambassador to France) and H.E. Karen Kornbluh (U.S. Ambassador to the OECD) (English, French, Arabic)

Other useful documentation

Private Equity in the Middle East: A Rising Contender in Emerging Markets, Global Private Equity Initiative, INSEAD
Case Studies and Publications Related to Private Equity, Global Private Equity Initiative, INSEAD

Media Coverage