Despite the many challenges Female entrepreneurs are still facing in the Middle East, there’s a good number of striving female entrepreneurs that are determined towards sustaining their businesses.
We met some of those great female entrepreneurs during their participation in the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) activities, which was held last month in India. GES is a US-sponsored annual entrepreneurship summit that gathers entrepreneurs, investors, and supporters in a different country annually. The GES 2017 hosted a number of sessions in different sectors including tech, healthcare, education, sustainability, women empowerment, environment, AI and smart cities.
We at Startup MGZN had the pleasure of meeting some of the inspiring and influential women at GES, where they shared with us their insights and experiences of how’s it like being a female entrepreneur.
Curious about who those women are and what they had to say? Keep reading.
- Dina El Mofty: She’s the founder and CEO of Injaz. “It is such a wonderful opportunity to connect with a global network from so many countries,” she says about GES. Being one of the key and early enablers for Egypt’s entrepreneurship ecosystem, Dina founded Injaz Egypt in 2003, and impacted 600,000 students with her entrepreneurial and work readiness programs.
Dina adds that despite how long the journey was, she still managed to reach out to over 300 schools, over 20 universities with the help of over 4,000 corporate mentors and volunteers from 40 companies who exchanged their experiences with the students.
- Mariam Keriakos: Egyptian entrepreneur, majoring in IT at the American University in Cairo. She told us how important it is to embed technology into education. “I am passionate about education, technology and I believe in their power as game changers,” says Keriakos.
In addition, Mariam told Startup MGZN that she is trying to create a social impact on children and youth through tech. She adds: “I founded Crafista craftista.me, a non-profit program that aims at empowering female artisans, crafters and help to turn their skills to a sustainable source of revenue by targeting international market.”
- Nassreen Al-Amri: A Bahraini businesswoman, and the founder of MAZ Business Development, a business hub for entrepreneurs and startups in Bahrain. She talked about the changes Bahrain has undergone with regards to entrepreneurship. “What was uncommon long years ago in Bahrain was now a successful hub for many startups in my country,” Mariam said.
According to Al-Amri, she was the first woman in Bahrain to open a business incubator in 2008. Despite all the difficulties she faced since she begun, Al-Amri says that her participation at the GES is a proof of her success. Al-Amri adds: “My business incubator is open to every startup eyeing the Gulf region.”
- Shireen Allan: She’s the founder of Anata Culture Heritage, a non-profit startup that was launched in 2008 in Palestinian. Allan told Startup MGZN that her startup works on preserving the Palestinian heritage through conducting workshops for women in marginalized areas. During those workshops, they get to learn how to make some handmade Palestinian items.
We already got funds from some institution, but still our main challenge is to continue marketing our cause, Allan adds.
- Zeena Altalib: An entrepreneur and founder of primomoda.com, an online store for modest and modern female clothes. “My aim is to bridge a gap in the clothing sector between fashion and modesty for women all over the world.” Zeena says.
According to Zeena, being in GES enabled her to share her ideas, attend more workshops and stay updated with recent innovations from all over the world.
This year GES was raising the slogan “Women First, Prosperity for All”. According to experts, women still need more opportunities and funding to boost their businesses.
Governments must keep an eye on empowering more women to start their businesses and be part of the economic growth, as well as help each female entrepreneur get rid of the obstacles and challenges facing her from the society.