This week's Entrepreneur of the Week is Saudi entrepreneur Khalid AlKhudair, who founded online platform Glowork last June 2011 as a job recruitment site that helps link women to employers in Saudi Arabia.
Here AlKhudair explains how he pioneered a solution that allows women to work from home, providing them with connections to jobs and an online platform that makes it easy for women to work while obeying segregation laws.
"60% of women that have PhDs are unemployed," he says.
Within 6 months of its launch last year, 160 organizations posted 2,200 jobs on the site, after Glowork convinced companies to open their positions to women. To date, over 13,000 women have uploaded their CVs on the website, and thanks to a new partnership with the Ministry of Labor, Glowork now has access to around 1.6 million CVs from women in Saudi looking for positions.
AlKhudair explains why Glowork was initially controversial, why it won over the Saudi public, and why it's a great resource for small businesses looking to expand into the Saudi market.
"The Saudi public, even the males, are very supportive of our initiative, because we've created something that's hassle free," he says. When it comes to companies increasing number of Saudi employees, hiring women is beneficial, he notes: hiring one women counts as two Saudi male employees, and one women with disabilities counts as four men. Companies like Aramex have jumped on board to support the initiative and hire from Glowork for their call center.
From a woman's perspective, it's a welcome portal, says Glowork board member Muna AbuSulayman, former Secretary General of the Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation. "30-35% of women who have three kids want to work part-time, yet a lot of women who want to enter the workforce feel intimidated. They face psychological barriers and logistical barriers. Glowork reduces those barriers as much as possible. I wish Glowork had been available a few years back," she points out.
The company was recently recognized by the United Nations and the International Labor Organization, through the Youth Empowerment Network as the most innovative solution globally in job creation, and were recognized at the World Economic Forum for best practice in gender equality in the workplace, AlKhudair mentioned.