Trade Mission to Saudi Arabia Paves the Way for Women’s Investment Potential in the Region

March 14, 2023

Trade Mission to Saudi Arabia – Key takeaways:

  • Women now make up 37% of the workforce in Saudi Arabia, surpassing the target laid out for Vision 2030.
  • The core of Saudi Arabian culture is now focused on embracing change and fostering acceptance and progression.
  • The Kingdom has recently implemented a number of initiatives aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, presenting opportunities for businesses to tap into a broader pool of talent.
  • Education is a sector that is seeing increased investment and the country aims to be among the top 10 countries in the global Innovation Index by 2030.
  • Digital transformation has been a top priority for the country, with advancements in technology and infrastructure that are driving innovation and growth.

CBD Corporate Services Partner & Deputy Chair of the British Business Group Dubai & Northern Emirates, Helen Barrett, led a two-day trade mission to Saudi Arabia for women in business. The mission, which was designed to focus on investor support for British-led businesses, aimed to encourage foreign direct investment into Saudi Arabia while providing women entrepreneurs with invaluable insights to help them expand their businesses in the region. It also paves the way for increased collaboration and investment between the UK and Saudi Arabia.

During the two-day trade mission, the delegates had the opportunity to interact with government officials and diplomats get an in-depth understanding of the country’s business landscape.

It was organised by CBD Corporate Services in association with the British Business Group Dubai & Northern Emirates & the British Chamber of Commerce Abu Dhabi.

The first day of the trade mission commenced with a cultural briefing, which provided the delegates with an overview of the intricacies of Saudi Arabia’s customs and business practices. The delegates were then taken to the Ministry of Investment (MISA) headquarters to learn about sector opportunities and the investor journey in the Kingdom, led by the ministry’s Executive Director of the Local Offices – Majed Alsaadi, alongside Tahani Alkhayyal, who is the Associate International Office Director – UK, and their team. This was followed by an informative presentation on Saudisation by Arabian Enterprise Incubators (AEI).

Later that evening, the delegates were hosted for a reception at the British Embassy in Riyadh, where they were addressed by Vision 2030 Counsellor Rosie Tapper. Tapper emphasized the importance of the implementation of the vision in empowering women in the Kingdom.

“Saudi Arabia has already reached its target of integrating over 30% women in the workforce well before 2030, which is an attestation to their robust commitment to diversity and inclusion,” she added. Read more about Saudi Arabia’s Evolving Cultural & Business Landscape.

On the second day, the delegates learned about the legal landscape for business owners from STAT Law. The trade mission concluded with a visit to the UNESCO Heritage site of At Turaif, which provided them with a cultural experience and an appreciation of Saudi Arabia’s rich history.

Helen Barrett, who led the trade mission, said: “I am delighted to have spearheaded this trade delegation to Saudi Arabia, a country that is presently undergoing noteworthy economic and social transformations. In view of the diverse prospects available for women entrepreneurs to establish their businesses and contribute to the country’s advancement, the possibilities of this mission. I am confident that the delegates have gained valuable insights and contacts that will help them explore opportunities in the Saudi Arabian market.”

List of delegates:

  • Helen Barrett – Partner at CBD Corporate Services & Deputy Chair of the British Business Group Dubai & Northern Emirates
  • Katy Holmes – General Manager of British Business Group Dubai & Northern Emirates
  • Simone Jucker – General Manager of the British Chamber of Commerce Abu Dhabi
  • Fazeela Gopalani – Head of Middle East at Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
  • Hanady Khalife – Head Of Middle East at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)
  • Lana Dajani – International Markets Manager at The Department for Business & Trade (DBT)
  • Nada AlMarhoon – Managing Director of Elite Talent
  • Thenji Moyo – Legal Director & Head of Employment at Gateley
  • Sue Wright – Managing Director of The Harrogate Group
  • Nita Maru – Managing Partner of TWS Legal Consultants
  • Loretta Ahmed – Founder & CEO Of Houbara Communications
  • Sabrina Devenish – Senior Associate at Clyde & Co
  • Fiona McBride – CEO of Kaplan Middle East
  • Mona Althagafi – KSA Country Manager at Serco Middle East
  • Marina Krasnobrizhaya – General Manager of St. Regis Riyadh
  • Lizzie Daniell – Senior Advisor at Arabian Enterprise Incubators (AEI) & Board Member of The Riyadh Group For British Business (RGBB)
  • Kate Faber – Managing Director of All About Brands
  • Pamela Lilburne Opie – CEO & Founder of Linen Obsession
  • Rukhsana Kausar – Partner at Liquid of Life
  • Vanessa Abernethy – Co-founder of Oryx Consulting
  • Luann Parker – Managing Director of Wordy Affairs
  • Oksana Konyshevska – Director of Impact Real Estate
  • Zahra Fadhul – Human Resources Manager for Impact Real Estate

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