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Prince Amir Al Saud

Top Arab Women Entrepreneurs

Top Arab Women Entrepreneurs

Women entrepreneurs are making their mark in the Arab World. There are now hundreds of these female achievers from different countries in the Middle East.

It only shows how Arab women have been as competitive as their counterparts in the Western World.

Here are the top 10 who can serve as models for their fellow Arab women:

• Raja Easa Al Gurg is a popular entrepreneur in the Middle East and managing director for ESAG or Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group. This business leader is known for her effective insights which have contributed meaningfully to her company’s expansion. She is a philanthropist and president of the Dubai’s Business Council for Women as well as regular speaker in different global business conferences.

• Lubna Olayan stands as the CEO of the Olayan Financing Company and vice chairperson of the Olayan Group in Riyadh. She is described as one of the most creative businesswoman of Saudi Arabia. This conglomerate is composed of 50 companies and 15, 000 workers with operations that range from manufacturing to distribution. Olayan is the first female entrepreneur from KSA to talk at a major conference in Saudi Arabia. She is an acting international adviser for CITIGROUP and Rolls Royce.

• Mona Almoayyed comes from one of the most prominent entrepreneurial clans in Bahrain. She manages YK Almoayyed and Sons with 100 different brands consisting of household electronics, luxury merchandise, medical equipment, and heavy machineries. Mona is the first woman from this country to become part of the publicly traded firm (Maritime and Mercantile International).

• Fatima Jawad is an executive director of the Jawad Business Group in Bahrain. The enterprise is a prime-mover in the retail, consumer and hospitality industries. The company’s portfolio includes fashion and footwear shops, restaurants, and convenience stores. Along with 16 other women, she established the Businesswomen’s Society of Bahrain in the year 2000.

• Heather Henyon is founder and managing partner of Balthazar Capital, a micro-investment corporation in the Middle East. She also established the WAIN or Women’s Angel Investment Network which is the first such group that provides support to female entrepreneurs by way of a special cooperative investment process. Henyon contributed to the formation and success of the social business entity called Grameen Jameel which founded micro-finance units in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Syria, and Tunisia.

• Muna Abu Sulayman is known globally as very influential voice of Arab women in the entire Middle East. She is co-host of MBC’s extremely popular TV program, “Kalam Nawaem or Speech of the Soft. Muna also used to direct Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation. She was appointed Goodwill Ambassador by the United Nations and Young Leader by the World Economic Forum because of her efforts to bridge the gap between the East and West.

• Esra’a Al Shafei was included by Forbes in the Top 30 Entrepreneurs under 30 years old. She is a civil rights activist, founder/executive director of the Mideast Youth, and blogger. Esra’a underscores the voices of dissension in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region using her web-based forum. Mid East Youth manages CrowdVoice.org which is an open source service that exhibits images, video clips, information, and reports on mass protest actions.

• Zala Hadid founded Zara Hadid Architects which garnered the Nobel Prize in Architecture called Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004. She is the first woman to have achieved this feat. Zala is from Baghdad but she took up a course in Mathematics at the American University of Beirut. Then, she moved to London and enrolled at the celebrated Architectural Association School of Architecture. Her projects in the Middle East and African are located in Algeria, Abu Dhabi, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and Central Bank of Iraq.

• Doctor Aisha Almana is Director of the Almana General Hospital as well as board member of Ebrahim M. Almana and Brothers. She became the first woman from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to obtain a doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Colorado in the USA. She has been at the top of Almana’s management team for almost three decades now. Doctor Aisha is responsible for transforming this hospital into one of the finest medical providers in the Kingdom and operates in four Saudi cities.

• Deemah Sukhtian is managing director if the Munir Sukhtian Group in Jordan. It is a diversified holding firm that operates across the Middle East, North America and Europe. The sectors include agriculture, chemicals, medicine, pharmaceutical, and Internet communications technology. Sukhtian has extensive experience across 17 industries in this group for over 20 years. She is also the CEO of Amana Tourism Services. Deemah finished a BS Degree in Mathematics BSC (Geological Environment) at the University of Boston.

There are many other Arab women who have earned this distinction and are being looked up by their peers for outstanding accomplishments.   

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