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9 Arab Women Entrepreneurs Who Make the World Better

On International Women's Day, Inc. Arabia celebrates inspiring Arab women founders and innovators from around the MENA region.

By Inc.Arabia Staff
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On International Women's Day, we celebrate powerful Arab entrepreneurs and business leaders that challenge stereotypes and make the world a better place. 

Sarah Abu Rishah

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The Jordanian entrepreneur, Sarah Abu Rishah, set her goal to fulfill the dreams of others. Before graduating from high school, she volunteered with the Jordan Microfund to provide financing for entrepreneurial projects in Tanzania. She also contributed to improving the educational system there through various projects in collaboration with local residents.

Abu Rishah, who holds a Bachelor's degree in Financial Commerce from McGill University in Canada in 2011, began her professional life in London within a training program focusing on analyzing sales trends, opportunities, and database research.

She worked with several important companies, such as Wamda Capital, culminating in her experience and work establishing Nuwa Capital in 2020. This company supports startups with funding and consulting in all fields, helping them transform into giant companies.

Noor Shamma: The Voice of Artistic Jewelry

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The Emirati artistic jewelry designer, Noor Shamma, was prevented from pursuing her desire to study architectural engineering. However, she managed to enter the world she loves through jewelry designs inspired by architectural designs from various cultures.

Born in Abu Dhabi, Shamma progressed in her career until she successfully launched her own brand in jewelry design, choosing to launch it in New York City. She spends her time moving between Abu Dhabi, where her family resides, and New York City, where her brand is located.

Rula Fayyad: Learning from Failure to Achieve Success

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The Jordanian entrepreneur, Rula Fayyad, turned the failure of her first project into the driving force behind the success of her second project. She launched the Via Vii platform for unique and unconventional tourism experiences, allowing tourists to participate in preparing and consuming Jordanian heritage food, bringing joy to tourists and benefiting the local community.

She has a bachelor's degree in business administration and hospitality from Cambridge College, and a diploma in international business administration and marketing from the same college. She gained over 15 years of experience in startups, aviation, and travel, discovering her true passion lies in supporting sustainable tourism and digitizing eco-friendly travel systems.

Zainab Salbi: Helping Over 400,000 Women in Conflict Areas

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The Iraqi activist and writer,Zainab Salbi, grew up in a violent environment; her father was the personal pilot of the late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. She suffered greatly until she escaped her country to establish a new life in the US.

Zainab not only built her own life but also helped establish the lives of over 400,000 women in eight conflict and war zones through the organization "Women for Women International," which she founded at the age of 23.

The organization provided financial and moral support to women survivors of war in conflict areas, helping them find employment, which also had a positive impact on their families.

Zainab, who dedicated herself and her life to helping women, was classified as one of the 25 women who changed the world by People magazine, and among the top 100 global thinkers in Foreign Policy magazine. She was also ranked as one of the top 100 creative individuals in business in 2018.

Noor Al-Hassan: Succeeding with Her Bet on Women

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The unique and inspiring experience of Jordanian entrepreneur Noor Al-Hassan tells us that no one supports women like fellow women. She contributed to breaking the stereotypical notion that women are each other's enemies, a notion instilled by male-dominated societies through biased upbringing.

Noor Al-Hassan, who holds a bachelor's degree in law from Amman National University in Jordan in 2001, and a certificate in law and a training course in artificial intelligence from Mohamed bin Zayed University for Artificial Intelligence, founded a translation company in Jordan in 2008 before moving to Abu Dhabi later on.

Her translation company was launched to meet the needs of clients in translation between different languages as well as the needs of women seeking employment. She found that many women in her community couldn't work due to the necessity of staying at home and caring for children. Thus, the translation company, where 90% of its employees are women, came into being, allowing them to work remotely without the need to leave their homes.

Al-Hassan attached great importance to the development and empowerment of women, providing them with job opportunities, causing a significant impact on their lives and the lives of their families.

Fatima Al Shiraawi 2b162ab64f0927a87cb2dd670658d73c2f01faf0 070324071241

 

Emirati entrepreneur Fatima Al Shiraawi founded the first company specializing in providing guidance in the field of color psychology in the Arab Gulf. Through her company, The Gracious F, she has transformed workplaces and homes into vibrant, happy, and mentally comforting spaces, boasting a strong clientele base in the region.

The company, which specializes in color psychology, aims to reduce stress, increase self-confidence, help clients choose suitable colors, and create balance in their daily lives.

Al Shiraawi's unique company idea stemmed from her childhood passion for colors. She leveraged her studies in sociology, marketing, and psychology from George Washington University, USA, to delve into the psychology of colors before furthering her studies in fashion design in London.

Lina Khalifa Teaches Women Self-Defense

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Jordanian Entrepreneur Lina Khalifa turned violence against women into motivation and founded She Fighter

Academy, the first of its kind in the region, teaching women self-defense.

The idea of the academy originated in 2010 when Khalifa's friend at the university suffered abuse from her brother and father. In 2012, Khalifa launched her academy, specializing in teaching women martial arts for self-defense against violence.

Lina Khalifa, who holds a degree in French literature from the University of Jordan, utilized her experience in Taekwondo, which she started learning at the age of 5, achieving a black belt and winning several medals with her country's team.

She Fighter Academy gained widespread recognition worldwide, leading Khalifa to win first place in the United Nations Women's Business Award. She was also chosen as one of the 100 most influential women in the world in 2017.

Leila Aql Helps Individuals and Companies Attain Security

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Palestinian entrepreneur Leila Aql invested in her conflict-ridden environment to come up with a successful project idea that provided security for companies and individuals.

Leila's journey began with studying theater in Tunisia, followed by obtaining a degree in applied sciences from Cedar Valley College, USA. She then founded the Red Crow application, which offers solutions to mitigate security risks in conflict and war zones, for individuals as well as organizations and institutions in Palestine.

What distinguishes Leila's experience is not only her creation of a highly important application but also her successful embodiment of the principle of stepping out of one's comfort zone to achieve a goal. She abandoned her job and ventured into a project whose success was initially uncertain.

Leila's experience teaches us that courage and strength are keys to success, achieving goals, and self-satisfaction.

Huda Al Luwati Ends Male Dominance in the Stock Market83567b79d015173c97f5981f762253ec08491bd5 070324071241

 

Huda Al Luwati, an entrepreneur from Oman, founded Aliph Capital in 2021, making it the first woman-founded private stock company in the Middle East. 

With over 20 years of experience in private equity and investments in emerging markets, Huda holds bachelor's degrees in economics and neuroscience from Brown University, USA.

After working for two years as an accountant at an oil company in Muscat, she realized her potential was much greater than just an ordinary job. She moved to Dubai to start a new phase of her life by founding Alif Capital.

Huda founded Aliph Capital, which focuses on investing in high-growth startups as well as medium-sized businesses in Gulf nations. Aliph Capital offers strategic, operational, and financial support to businesses that can also take advantage of Alif Capital's extensive experience in the region.

Forbes magazine ranked Omani entrepreneur Huda Al Luwati as one of the top 100 businesswomen in the Middle East in 2023.

Happy International Women's Day!

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