15 November 2018

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“When Women Lean in, Economies Win”

Finance in Motion at the German-Arab Women Business Leaders Summit 2018


For some, it may come as a surprise to learn that only 15 of the world’s 500 largest companies are led by a female CEO.

Elvira Lefting, however, can confirm this through her own experience. The Managing Director and co-founder of Finance in Motion has often found herself the only female business leader in a room full of peers. In her native Germany, for example, no major listed company has so far managed to meet the minimum requirement of 30% female representation on their boards set down in 2016. And in the Middle East and North Africa, where only 6% of firms are led by a woman, female entrepreneurs face a combination of socio-economic variables that create opportunity gaps and constrain access to financing and networking.

That is why Elvira was asked to contribute her leadership expertise to the German-Arab Women Business Leaders’ Summit on October 15, 2018, in Munich. The conference, entitled “When Women Lean in, Economies Win,” gathered 200 attendees from Germany and the Arab world to promote women’s professional and economic empowerment and to facilitate knowledge exchange and networking for businesswomen. Finance in Motion and the SANAD Fund for MSME were official partners of the event.

Elvira gave an inspiring keynote speech on the importance of supporting female entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa, drawing upon her experience with SANAD’s mission to promote prosperity and employment in the region. She then contributed to the associated panel on “Boosting Women's Success: Financing and Capacity Building” together with key sector players, including representatives from the Central Bank of Egypt.

“It is crucial to foster a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem that promotes inclusive finance,” stressed Elvira. “There is immense potential for female entrepreneurs to drive economic growth in the region. By focusing on women’s training and education – a major topic of the SANAD Entrepreneurship Academy – and by weaving local and regional networks, we can help women surmount the barriers to reaching their full professional potential. And we can invest directly in women’s success: For example, the SANAD Equity Sub-Fund has invested over 30% of its commitments into partner institutions that specifically aim to expand financing and support to female business owners.”

The German-Arab Women Business Leaders’ Summit was an impressive gathering of dynamic female business leaders and inspirational personalities. For more information on the conference, visit: www.gawbl-summit.com