Women are making significant strides in the workforce. Yet, challenges remain. Start-ups with all-female teams still receive only a fraction of venture capital funding, highlighting a gap in opportunity. - GulfToday

Women-owned businesses record a staggering 114% growth in past two decades


Photo used for illustrative purpose.

Inayat-ur-Rahman, Business Editor

Women are making significant strides in the workforce. Women-owned businesses have grown a staggering 114% in the past two decades, and women now lead one-third of businesses worldwide. Yet, challenges remain. Start-ups with all-female teams still receive only a fraction of venture capital funding, highlighting a gap in opportunity.

Tushar Singhvi, Deputy CEO and Head of Investments, Crescent Enterprises, said: Global progress towards gender equality remains uneven, with only a quarter of countries having equal rights for women and men. We are fortunate to be headquartered in the UAE, whose leadership is spearheading efforts in the region to enhance female presence in the workforce. At Crescent Enterprises, we share this vision, and our investment choices are based on merit and innovative ideas, not gender. By ensuring we have strong female leadership across our verticals, we can provide a more comprehensive assessment of investment opportunities. We encourage more private organisation to pledge their commitment to SDG 5 and join us in creating a more equitable future and lasting change.”

Crescent Enterprises is a leading multinational company that grows diversified, global businesses that are sustainable, scalable, and profitable.  It is committed to empowering women in business. Headquartered in the United Arab Emirates with a presence in 15 countries, it champions its value system of corporate governance, inclusive growth, and responsible business practices across its four enterprise platforms: CE-Operates, CE-Invests, CE-Ventures, and CE-Creates.

These platforms span diverse and traditionally male-dominated sectors, including ports and logistics, power and engineering, food & beverage, business aviation, and across verticals such as private equity, venture capital, and business incubation.

Gulf Today spoke to few inspiring female leaders at Crescent Enterprises who have carved their own paths in fields like logistics, finance, and law. Their stories offer valuable insights for women aspiring to succeed in business.

Charupriya M Chahal, CFA, Director CE-Operates, said: People often wonder how I ended up in the unique realm of investment for transport and logistics. It all traces back to my upbringing, where my father, a military man, and my mother, a nurturing home enabler, fostered a spirit of exploration and independence. Their approach was simple – present options, let us choose our own paths. This instilled in me a love for learning and the importance of intrinsic motivation. From my days as a junior national swimmer and sailor to pursuing Engineering and joining the Global Leadership Programme at Maersk Group, my journey has been diverse. It was the world of international finance, particularly in M&A, that I found my true passion. Throughout my professional journey, I have crossed paths with incredible leaders who taught me the power of combining hard work, determination and discipline. I would add to that self-advocacy and continuous learning. Being your own champion and approaching goals with genuine intention and unwavering perseverance are the cornerstones of success.”

Emma Dickie, Director, CE-Legal, said: "I have worked in various industries, including law firms, waste management, environmental services, tech, crypto, and investment banking. My parents and teachers taught me to be brave and to try various things, even if I felt I wasn’t good at them. New experiences enrich our lives and reveal hidden capabilities. From what I have seen, a lot of limitations we perceive are self-imposed. My passion for adventure led me on various cycling adventures, including cycling across the Himalayas and from China to Turkey – the distance seemed initially unimaginable but when broken down was very achievable. Pursue what ignites your curiosity, and approach challenges with an open mind instead of apprehension. Remember, with a positive mindset and hard work, anyone can accomplish remarkable things.”

Ghada Abdelkader, CFA, Senior Vice President CE-Invests, said: "We all have a part to play in shaping a global workforce that offers equal opportunity. When I first joined Crescent Enterprises, I was the first Arab woman in the investment department. I felt a responsibility to excel, not just for myself but to help open doors for others and to embody a role model my children can aspire to. Our actions and voices matter, every achievement dismantles unconscious bias and can be a source of inspiration for someone else, especially the younger generation who are the architects of tomorrow. Real change starts with each of us setting a positive example be it at work or at home. By instilling the right values in the future generations, we can accelerate progress towards a more equitable world.”

Yasmine Hawwa, Head of Communications, Crescent Enterprises, said: "The communications field is often seen as a female-dominated industry. However, true equality goes beyond gender ratios. One of my earliest memories that shaped my perspective on equality comes from accompanying my mother to a human rights conference at just six years old. After the event, I overheard two men jokingly foreseeing the need for 'men's rights' in the future. This incident, though light-hearted at the time, stayed with me. As I've grown and entered the workforce, I've come to believe that true progress lies in fostering a culture of fairness and equity, but also of mutual respect and understanding. We each have different experiences, challenges and even aspirations - regardless of our gender. It’s by respecting individual choices and treating each other with compassion that we can create an environment where everyone can feel valued and thrive."


Related articles