Join the WIn Fellowship, part of the Atlantic Council’s empowerME initiative, for an insightful closing event of this cohort, titled “The potential of AI-business driven solutions on the SME industry in the UAE” scheduled for February 21st.

Driven by government initiatives and ever-growing foreign investments, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is rapidly transforming into a global hub for AI. Th UAE’s commitment to AI spans many years and billions of dollars, spawning a minister dedicated to AI, an upcoming state-backed AI company, and a National AI Strategy. The results speaks for themselves: the country outpaces others in the region in annual AI-contributed GDP growth, and some forecasts expect close to 14 percent of its GDP to stem from AI by 2030.

In parallel, the UAE’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are experiencing a boom of their own in UAE thanks to similar levels of government support. SMEs now account for approximately 63.5 percent of the UAE’s non-oil GDP, and the government aims to host 1 million such enterprises by 2030. AI innovations are providing these SMEs with a competitive advantage, enabling ambitious professionals to scale their businesses or disrupt their industries.

However, there’s a growing concern that the widespread adoption of AI might disproportionately impact women. This situation underscores an urgent need for women in the UAE, particularly women entrepreneurs, to develop AI-related knowledge and skills. Given the rising involvement of women in the UAE’s SME sector over recent years, they stand to gain significantly from embracing this technological progress.

This event will provide insight into how leveraging AI innovations in customer service, data analytics, marketing, and other forms of automation could supercharge SME growth and women entrepreneurship in the UAE.


Abir Habbal
Managing Director of Data and AI

Mohammed Wassim Khayata
Founder & CEO
Al Maryah Community Bank

Salim Chemlal
Director of Product

Amnah Ajmel
Executive Vice President, Market Development, EEMEA

Sarah Saddouk
Director of Innovation
Entrepreneur Middle East IMPACT (Moderator)

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empowerME at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East is shaping solutions to empower entrepreneurs, women, and youth and building coalitions of public and private partnerships to drive regional economic integration, prosperity, and job creation.

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