Saturday 25 June 2022 - 8:06:51 am

UAE’s focus on female empowerment, innovation will have long-term positive outcomes: CEO, CIO of Ark Invest

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By Amjad Saleh

ABU DHABI, 8th March, 2022 (WAM) -- The UAE leadership’s focus on the right areas, including equal opportunities for women, and [investing in] female leadership and potential, will really make long-term positive impacts, according to Cathie Wood, Founder, CEO and CIO of Ark Invest, a global asset management firm.

In an interview with the Emirates News Agency (WAM) on the sidelines of the Forbes 30/50 Summit, currently taking place at Louvre Abu Dhabi to celebrate female leadership on International Women’s Day, Wood said, "I am really happy for the women in Abu Dhabi and the UAE to be receiving such focus."

Asked about the UAE’s female empowerment model and efforts, she commended the warm welcome female leaders continue to receive in the UAE, adding that "these efforts stem from the top. It is the leadership that is making this happen and this why it is happening and will continue happening."

Speaking about the investment climate and innovation-focused approach in Abu Dhabi and the UAE, Wood said, "We are very impressed with Abu Dhabi’s appetite for innovation. The leaders of the UAE are trying to make Abu Dhabi, and the UAE in general, the innovation centre, maybe not only in the Middle East, but the entire EMEA [Europe, the Middle East and Africa] region.

"And I think they have a shot, because of their focus that they are placing on innovation, trying to understand how the world is going to change, and being at the centre of it."

The top executive continued, "I think the factor that drives anyone’s success, from an entrepreneurial point of view, is seeing a huge unmet need and filling it," Wood remarked on the keys to entrepreneurial success.

"What we saw and have seen since the tech and telecom bust and then the 2008-2009 meltdown, is a move away from innovation in the public equity markets, and towards it in the private equity markets.

"[However], if innovation is going to scale dramatically the way we believe it is, it has to take place in the public market."

Elaborating on ARK Invest’s business model, she said, "I think we’re doing a service for the investing public, as we have democratised investing in innovation so that any individual can have access to it. We are the closest you can find in the public equity market to a venture capital fund, giving people opportunities to scale their investments over the next 5 to 10 years."

With over 40 years of experience in identifying and investing in innovation, Wood founded ARK to focus solely on disruptive innovation while adding new dimensions to research. She is a bold thinker whose bullish sentiments on Tesla and Bitcoin came long before they reached their current high prices. With Ark Invest, Wood manages over US$42 billion.


WAM/Binsal AbdulKader/Lina ibrahim