The UfM-UNIDO Women Business Forum 2023 will take place on 11-12 October in Tunis, Tunisia and will provide the opportunity to explore the thematic of empowering Women in Industry and Innovation, by specifically analysing the impacts of Industry 4.0 on female workers and entrepreneurs within the manufacturing sector. Participants will discuss which models and good practices should be disseminated to ensure women are empowered to achieve a strong leadership role in innovation sectors, including as entrepreneurs, and fostering a change of behaviour towards women in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).
Building on 7 years’ of experience in dialogue with women entrepreneurs, national women business organisations, international leading organisations and business support schemes from the Euro-Mediterranean region, the UfM Women Business Forum (WBF) is an annual regional platform that offers female entrepreneurs and women-led businesses a unique opportunity to grow their business to the next level by learning from successful and innovative business models, and building business relations and professional networks. In its last editions, the UfM Women Business Forum has benefited from a successful cooperation with UNIDO.
While the Industry 4.0 revolution is creating opportunities for new and greener productive models, women entrepreneurs in the MENA region seem to be little aware of those offered by new technologies. According to a UNIDO survey conducted among 1418 women entrepreneurs in the manufacturing sector in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, State of Palestine, and Tunisia in 2019-2020, the respondents demonstrated a very limited knowledge of Industry 4.0 (62% indicating little or no familiarity) and related concepts. The same survey indicated that only one quarter of surveyed women entrepreneurs utilize digital technologies at some stage in the product design, manufacturing and selling processes of their businesses. Yet, access to technology tends to foster entrepreneurship. Today, successful entrepreneurship requires digital skills along with the drive for innovation and sustainability.
The first day will be open to a limited number of participants who will be engaged in a brainstorming activity on the needs and innovative solutions for women entrepreneurs in Industry 4.0, followed by a women-led company visit, whereas the second full day conference on June 7th will host experts and stakeholders within the framework of an Inspiring Talks’ panel, technical panels, a Pitching Contest and Awards Ceremony.
Moreover, the event will provide networking opportunities by leveraging the Business Country Desk (BCD) B2B matchmaking platform, which represents a dynamic online portal, initiated by BUSINESSMED in the framework of the EU-funded project EBSOMED, to boost regional economic development in the southern Mediterranean Neighborhood. It will provide the women business community (companies, SMEs, start-ups, etc.) with a unique opportunity to undertake sustainable business partnerships with their peers across the Euro Mediterranean and MENA region.