Events Ascame/ February 2, 2024/ Featured, Institutional

ASCAME was so well represented at MID of MED Mediterranean Business Summit, that toke place in the city of Izmir (Turkey) on the 29th and 30th of January. The event, which was organized by the Association of Businesswomen of Izmir, got together more than a thousand business world organisations, international companies, enterprises and venture capital, public representatives and academicians with the aim of promoting investment in Izmir and the Mediterranean region. All of them shared insights on the three main topics covered in the panel discussions: business environment and investment opportunities in Izmir, the potential of economic cooperation in the Mediterranean region and business and economic stability within Euro-Mediterranean countries.


The summit counted with the special intervention of Mr. Ahmed El Wakil, President of ASCAME, who highlighted “the event’s commitment to the economic integration in a new regional order with key pillars such as equality, balancing success with sustainability and the rise of geoeconomics, in addition to the commitment to innovation, digital transformation and education.”

To Mr. El Wakil, “the Mediterranean region needs more integration, development and interconnection”. ASCAME’s President added: “Our region is located at a point where the continents of Asia, Europe and Africa are very close to each other, which makes it not only a neighbor for the nearby regions but also for the world. For instance, the destiny of Europe and Africa is linked, and the Mediterranean is the natural space for its axis. We must unite our wills, defend convergent interests and commit to a better cooperation between Europe and its Southern flank.”

Apart from this, Mr. El Wakil reflected on the diversity of the region, “which should be a great stimulus for growth and integration, for the economy, the creation of new companies and internationalization.” In his opinion, “Mediterranean talent without borders creates values, an inclusive and adaptable style that cultivates the ability to bring out the best in a diverse environment.”

On the other hand, Dr. Alaa Ezz, Board Member of ASCAME and Secretary General of the Confederation of Egyptian European Business Associations (CEEBA) and the Federation of Egyptian Chambers, was one of the panelist who participated in the session ‘Creating a roadmap to a nature-positive economy for the Mediterranean’. One of the main conclusions of the session was the need to build a coalition of governments and organisations to support an equitable transition to a nature positive economy, alongside the net zero transition. According to Mr. Ezz, “it is crucial to address the transition to a nature positive economy altogether, by uniting all the countries of the Mediterranean in finding common solutions to face risks caused by the continued degradation of nature.” Besides, ASCAME’s Board Member insisted on empowering the youth and women entrepreneurs in shaping a more prosperous and inclusive Mediterranean in the future.

In addition, Ms. Rim Siam, Board Member of ICC World Chambers Federation General Council and President of Economic Businesswomen Council / Egyptian Chambers of Commerce, participated at the panel discussion ‘Seeking business and economic stability within Euro-Mediterranean countries’.

Insights from women entrepreneurs

The MID of MED Mediterranean Business Summit also counted with the intervention of Ms. Maria Helena de Felipe Lehtonen, President of AFAEMME -the Federation of Mediterranean Businesswomen Organizations-, partner of ASCAME that co-organized a few months ago the 15th Mediterranean Women Entrepreneurs Forum, in the framework of MedaWeek Barcelona 2023.

These are some of the main takeaways from Mª Helena’ speech at the summit:

  • There is the need to talk about “women entrepreneurs” as specificity, because pre-conditions might be different depending on the person’s gender. Women entrepreneurs are an important untapped source of economic growth. They create new jobs for themselves and others, and they also provide society with different solutions to management, organisations and business problems as well as to exploitation of entrepreneurial opportunities.
  • Women are faced with specific obstacles that have to overcome in order to give them access to the same opportunities as men. There are 5 main obstacles: lack of experience -the majority of unskilled or less skilled women entrepreneurs lack the ability to prepare their companies for survival and growth-, lack of role models -by having less women entrepreneurs than men there are automatically less successful women entrepreneurs than men-, lack of capital -women’s position in society has led a lack of financial assets which are a prerequisite for starting a firm-, lack of time -due to domestic responsibilities, women do not have enough time to develop their entrepreneurial skills or to develop an existing business- and lack of relevant networks -women are less present in professional networks than men-.


  • A natural solution for changing this situation is therefore a mixture of different policies and a change of attitude. Affordable childcare and equal treatment at workplace have to be guaranteed, in addition to educating society about the value of women’s entrepreneurship.
  • The good news is the increasing examples of women entrepreneurs in recent years: Several women-owned enterprises are well-positioned to enhance- national prosperity and to contribute to economic growth and a better future. Women usually reinvest a much higher part of their earnings in their families and communities than men (in emerging markets women reinvest 90% of their earnings in their families and communities), spreading wealth and creating a positive impact on future development.

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