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Female entrepreneurs thriving in the Middle East

Following the Arab Spring, more women in Middle Eastern countries are becoming entrepreneurs and attracting venture capital firms.

Starting a business in the midst of the Arab Spring might sound crazy, but for women entrepreneurs that time of turmoil became a catalysts for new businesses.

The screenshot above comes from First Bazaar, an online shopping site created by Jordanian sisters Hanan and Linda Hallaq last March. But their decision to become entrepreneurs isn't unique, Public Radio International reports:

The wave of revolutions that swept the Middle East has brought with it uncertainty — even fear — of what might happen on the streets. So people are increasingly shopping online. And women entrepreneurs are taking advantage of this — venture capital firms are noticing the trend too.

Usama Fayyad, who runs Oasis 500, a startup incubator in Jordan, says that women are proving to be twice as successful as their male peers in attracting his company’s investment.

The combination of seeing women protesting alongside men and gaining confidence from the self-expression used on social media sites has encouraged women to look to the Internet to start their own businesses, PRI reports.

That's not to say women there aren't facing a multitude of challenges in the region. Jordan alone has one of the widest gender gaps in the world, according to new data out today from the World Economic Forum. But will more women in the Middle Eastern business world help to close that gap?

Arab Spring presents opportunities for Middle Eastern women entrepreneurs [Public Radio International]

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com