Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC) inaugurated the first edition of the MENA BWN Forum, the annual gathering of the members of the MENA Businesswomen’s Network (BWN) that will run until April 13, 2012 at the Park Hyatt in Dubai. Held under the patronage of HE Sheikha Lubna Al-Qasimi, UAE Minister of Foreign Trade, the MENA BWN Forum is gathering delegates from all ten MENA BWN member organisations across the Gulf, the Levant and North Africa, as well as participants from the US, Europe, and other parts of the MENA region.

The inaugural MENA BWN Forum is being organised under the theme Unleashing the Economic Potential of Women in the MENA Region. DBWC, a founding member of the MENA BWN and the local host of the forum, has further revealed that representatives from different business organisations and academic institutions, including eight students from Dubai University and six students from Dubai Women’s College, are attending the forum.

Raja Al Gurg, President, Dubai Business Women Council, said: “The enthusiastic response we have received from women leaders underlines the strategic importance of the MENA BWN Forum as a platform that will unite our efforts in providing a wide range of networking, mentoring and skills-building support to women across the region. This is a proud moment for the Dubai Business Women Council and the rest of the members of the MENA BWN as we take a huge step forward towards realising our shared vision of promoting women empowerment in the Arab world. The Forum serves as an important avenue to address key issues and to showcase the achievements of women leaders, particularly businesswomen who have served as role models in the society.”

The MENA BWN Forum serves as a unique peer-to-peer event that builds on the power of the MENA BWN and the shared experiences of its members to provide each participant with the specific, hands-on skills and contacts necessary to transform and grow their business.

DBWC will also facilitate at least 25 workshops throughout the forum covering key topics such as networking, skills-building, branding, business management, women in the corporate world, social media, entrepreneurship, and family businesses among others. There are also interactive sessions, including a series of one-on-one mentoring, business presentations and power networking activities, as well as panel discussions about various topics such as accessing finance in MENA, the latest advances in technology, developing a global/regional strategy, stimulating the bottom line, procurement and supply chain strategies for growth, and working with corporate CSR programs. Several case studies will also be presented to reflect the issues and topics that will be tackled in the forum sessions.

The MENA Businesswomen’s Network is a sustainable, results-oriented, continuously growing regional organisation that is a model for collaboration among businesswomen and other stakeholders. It is recognised for providing value to its members and society, and the combined power of this committed group of women business leaders, entrepreneurs and professionals is growing every day.

Founded in 2002, DBWC motivates women to be productive members of the society, while encouraging role models to rise up from the ranks and inspire other women around the world, especially in the Arab region, to discover their true potential. DBWC organises the high-profile monthly event Majlis Business to provide information about the latest knowledge, skills and best practices for women entrepreneurs and leaders.