ABHA: NADIA AL-FAWAZ
Published — Thursday 26 June 2014
Last update 26 June 2014 1:06 am
A Saudi businesswoman who chose to invest in a non-traditional field of business has broken new ground in a male-dominated industry, distinguishing herself as the first Saudi female to invest in improved asphalt products.
Nawal Al-Hadi has converted the Women’s Business Center in the Eastern Province into a mobile workshop between the various industrial countries of the world.
“Saudi women entrepreneurs generally distance themselves from investing in industrial projects compared with other investments fields,” he said. “However, they have proved themselves to be distinct and competitive in the commercial and services sectors in local markets.”
She pointed out that the productive families’ projects that many Saudi women take part in are mostly classified under small enterprises.
“We do not have the exact figures on the proportion of Saudi men and women who invest in the industrial sectors across the Kingdom,” she said. “Nonetheless, it is very clear that the gap is wide, mainly in the giant industrial projects.”
She argued that Saudi businesswomen and entrepreneurs are mostly present in industrial family companies as partners or have a seat on the board of directors, but do not work independently.
“My personal experience in the industry has proven to be successful,” she said. “I am a member on the board of directors of the Sanad Plant for Bitumen Products (Sinopec Technology). I entered into this field with full conviction, while my husband, Ibrahim Badawi, chairman of the Yanbu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, supported and encouraged me. I had the chance to get to know and participate in the meetings that brought together many partners from outside the Kingdom. All this gave me the experience I needed to succeed in my work.”
“The most important form of encouragement came from Madinah Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman during his last visit to the chamber, where he was the patron and inaugurated the project’s developmental projects and the opening of the women’s project exhibition,” she said.
This visit, she explained, was the main reason behind the increasing number of women projects in the region, which all complied with Islamic laws and values.
“Most of our products focus on the byproducts of petroleum and petrochemicals. Such projects enjoy high comparative advantages in Yanbu and the region itself has developed industrial infrastructure, which gives it an economic comparative edge.”
She said industry nowadays is the pillar of every country’s economy and the reason for its renaissance. “In addition to its geographic location on the Red Sea, our Kingdom has all the factors that guarantee success in every field.”
“We look forward to building a prestigious investment entity that is capable of managing, maintaining and operating the various industrial projects, in addition to the tourism industry, of course, where Saudi women can excel, especially after the completion of the seafront project in Yanbu,” said Hadi.
Saudi businesswomen in the Eastern Province and other regions, where industrial cities are established, are very fortunate because the existing industrial environment is excellent for the growth of industries, she pointed out. “A Saudi woman can choose to invest and work in any industry that matches her abilities and characteristics,” she said.
“Among the many industries that women can choose to invest in are cosmetics, small and medium-sized plastic industries, home appliances and packaging. Such industries have high success rates and are relatively immune to the risks and pitfalls of the market. They also enjoy high marketing opportunities inside and outside the Kingdom.”