NEW SKILLSETS: The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector, J.P. Morgan and the Nafisa Shams Academy and incubator are launching a training and incubator program for the fashion sector in Saudi Arabia.
Titled “The Program,” the initiative is focused on female entrepreneurs who are intent on developing their business skills, including managerial ones. A total of 105 start-ups led by female entrepreneurs are expected to benefit from the training. On average, each company employs three workers.
Last year Saudi Arabia officials announced major plans to develop its fashion industry. Part of that fortification includes the kingdom’s culture sector aiming to create 100,000 jobs and add $23 billion to the Saudi economy before 2032. Saudi Arabia’s Fashion Commission is being led by a digital-minded experienced executive, Burak Cakmak, who previously served as dean of Fashion at Parsons School of Design.
Women account for nearly 21 percent of Saudi Arabia’s total labor force, according to World Bank data.
For decades, Saudi Arabia had one of the lowest female labor force participation rates in the world. In recent years, reforms such as allowing women to drive cars, changes in the guardianship law, the labor law and family law have made it easier for women to work, according to research by the Brookings Institution. Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 program is looking to bolster the female labor force participation rate to more than 30 percent.
With financial support from its principal partner, J.P. Morgan, the ICD is teaming up with the Nafisa Shams Academy to roll out the Program. Female start-ups will hone their technical and managerial skills, financial accounting and reporting on the individual and institutional levels.
The ICD’s chief executive officer Ayman Sejiny said in a statement that the organization “always supports and participates” in programs that are designed to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, such as those related to reducing inequality, promoting equal opportunities and financial inclusion, women’s empowerment and innovation.