By Raji Unnikrishnan
Gulf Daily News, Manama, Bahrain.
WOMEN entrepreneurs from across the globe will gather in Bahrain this week to engage with each other at an international conference.
The 63rd World Congress of Femmes Chefs d’Entreprises Mondiales (FCEM), held under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, wife of His Majesty the King and Supreme Council for Women (SCW) president, will open at the Gulf Hotel tomorrow.
More than 300 delegates from 22 Arab nations and 18 other countries will be taking part in the high-level networking event, which is being held under the theme ‘Our Bridges to the World’ and is organised by the Bahrain Business and Professional Women International Federation (BPW) in co-operation with the Council of Arab Business Women (CABW).
‘We are looking at 12 sectors ranging from oil and gas to small and medium enterprises, to be promoted,’ said BPW president Shaikha Hind bint Salman Al Khalifa at a media briefing yesterday in the Sheraton Hotel. ‘Specifically for Bahrain we will be focusing on entrepreneurs and small businesses, which is also our aim at the BPW. ‘The last two days of the programme are dedicated to field trips across Bahrain’s historical landmarks, which aims to promote tourism.’
FCEM, founded in France in 1945 at the end of the Second World War by Yvonne Foinant, is a pioneering association aimed at uniting women business owners from around the world. Bahrain will be the first GCC member state and second Arab nation to host the conference.
FCEM president Laura Frati Gucci stressed the significance of business opportunities for women in the Middle East. ‘It is very important to promote a country like Bahrain as such a small nation needs to be more visible,’ she told the GDN. ‘Our association has more than half a million members and hosting this congress in Bahrain will give enormous opportunity for the country.’
The event is designed to serve as a platform for encouraging networking and for the creation of new business partnerships.
The keynote speaker on the opening day of the congress will be the UAE’s International Co-operation and Development Minister Shaikha Lubna bint Khaled Al Qassimi, while Transportation and Telecommunications Minister Kamal Ahmed is billed as being among a panel of experts debating ‘Our Economy on the International Map’. In addition to meetings at the Gulf Hotel and Sheraton Hotel, delegates will tour the island on the second day of the conference, stopping off at the King Fahad Causeway, SCW headquarters in Riffa, Riffa Fort and Bahrain International Circuit, among other locations.
Meanwhile, the final day’s schedule includes visits to Bahrain National Museum, Hidd Industrial Area and Bab Al Bahrain. [email protected]