Ashoka Arab World has launched a new program to give social entrepreneurs in the UAE and the Gulf region a helping hand.
The project, unveiled at a launch event in Dubai, is called the Arab World Social Entrepreneurship Program (ASEP), and will help social entrepreneurs in the areas of healthcare, women participation for inclusive growth, and environment scale up their operations.
The idea is to connect social entrepreneurs with business entrepreneurs. A group of business entrepreneurs from the region has already been enlisted to participate in this initiative. Under the ASEP, social entrepreneurs will benefit from strategy and operation analysis, feedback, and business plan evaluation and implementation.
There’s a reason for the ASEP’s focus on healthcare, women, and the environment. For a region with a dry climate and temperatures hovering around 40 °C most of the year, water is an important resource. Each person in the UAE consumes 550 litres of water per day, more than any other country. Yet it remains scarce. At the launch event for the ASEP, discussions touched upon addressing water scarcity through innovative business models.
Obesity is another problem. For example, the World Health Organization estimates that nearly 40 percent of children between the ages of 13 and 15 in the Gulf region are obese, and health problems associated with obesity are also estimated to cost the region $60 billion by 2025.
Currently, about 30 percent of small- and medium-sized enterprises in the UAE are owned or run by women, who are thought to be crucial for inclusive and sustainable regional economic growth.
“Social entrepreneurship, which addresses issues ranging from job creation to women economic empowerment and sustainable development, has tremendous potential to transform the socio-economic landscape of the Arab World,” said Badr Jafar, who spearheaded the ASEP and is Managing Director of Crescent Group.
Hat tip: Zawya
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