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The National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) Organizes Investment Session For Women Entrepreneurs
(30 June 2013)


The National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), the Number One Bank in the UAE, organized the third Fusati Event that offered women entrepreneurs insight into wealth management across asset classes and using offshore trusts to preserve wealth.

The theme of the session was titled “Though markets change, good investing advice is timeless.” NBAD’s Velvet- Private Banking for women organized the session as part of its regular Fursati Economic Empowerment program (Fursati means “my opportunity”).

The session, which was held in Dubai’s The Address hotel, offered several banker speakers as well as a panel discussion with three women entrepreneurs who shared their experiences in investment decisions they made.

“The UAE’s dynamic market and progressive culture has led to expanding opportunities for women. The goal of Fursati is to enhance women entrepreneurs and investors to utilize these opportunities,” said Mariah Khan, the Head of NBAD’s Velvet- Private Banking for Women. “The Fursati program is an example of the unique initiatives NBAD designs to ensure ongoing development of communities.”

Dr. Khan, who was one of the speakers at the event, spoke about Wealth Management and basic Asset Classes. Other speakers were Helen Tatham, Head of Residential at Knight Frank, who spoke about real estate in UAE and London; Janine Bensouda, Founder and Owner of Bensouda Consulting, whose speech was titled “Turning an idea into a real business;” and Samira Zakour, the Chief Marketing Officer of NBAD Trust Company, who spoke about Trust solutions to preserve wealth and business for future generations.

The highly engaging panel comprised Raja Al Gurg, Managing Director of the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group (ESAG) and Head of Dubai Business Women Council; Seema Shetty, Founder and Owner of Bite Rite and Zari Zardozi Restaurant; and Roberta Calarese, Chief Legal officer and Secretary to Board of Directors-DIFC.

Summary of the points that emerged during the panel discussion:
1. Importance of being dedicated and focused towards your goal.
2. Irrespective of your family background, do not be afraid to start small, work hard and ask questions.
3. Have people around you who have the knowledge and experience who can guide you through all situations either by way of knowledge or sheer experience.
4. Many times it’s the gut feel that counts- don’t ignore your instincts.
5. Importance of reading and keeping up to date with knowledge and trends.
6. Importance of family and the support that they provide on various occasions.

Ms. Al Gurg, President of Dubai Business Women Council, said: “Investment skills and knowledge are very important tools that open new avenues for women to become more productive and successful members of the society. Dubai Business Women Council was therefore keen to support the recent NBAD Fursati session, as it strongly complements our ongoing educational and career development initiatives. The session offered important insights about sound investment practices and various investment opportunities in the UAE, UK and other markets. It also provided an opportunity for DBWC members to share their successful experiences as investors and entrepreneurs. Dubai Business Women Council will continue to support similar initiatives that sustain the economic empowerment of women in the society.”

Helen Tatham from Knight Frank added: “It was a pleasure and great experience to take part in this worthwhile Fursati event. I met so many motivated and intelligent women who independently make important decisions about property investment. The panel of high profile ladies who presented the final session was not only extremely interesting but moving to hear about their families and experiences. Knight Frank is particularly keen to work with women who want to make their own investments, whether it be in real estate in the UAE or overseas, we are well placed to give balanced and comprehensive advice.”

NBAD launched the Fursati Economic Empowerment Program in November 2012. It includes educational seminars for women and aligning NBAD products and services to meet the needs of women in business. NBAD’s Velvet and NBAD Academy designed and implemented Fursati, which includes customizing beneficial and suitable programs to equip women with essential skills in today’s challenging financial environment.

The Fursati launch was in collaboration with the Dubai Business Women’s Council (DBWC) and there are plans to expand to Abu Dhabi and Al Ain organizations in the future. The first program launched on 18th November was “The Venture Tool Box,” a foundation exercise/ course for business owners and managers who wanted to gain further understanding of some of the fundamental principles associated with owning and operating a start-up or established business.

“The Fursati is part of NBAD’s strategy of building relationships with clients, investment in our communities and promoting long-lasting, enduring interactions with people,” said Ms. Khan. “Erudite women and children are crucial to a nation’s economic vitality and we would like to further empower them with skills and entrepreneurial thought, which is an investment in our business and the future of our economy. By conducting such programs, NBAD remains in touch with the needs of its clients, and contributes in a tangible manner to their continuous professional development.”

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