Visa, MCIT, Monsha’at, ANB announce winners of second KSA edition of She's Next program
- She’s Next winner and audience favorite were announced at awards ceremony held at Princess Noura bint Abdulrahman University.
- Aliyah Alghubayn, the Co-Founder of Ptway, won a US$50,000 grant and one year of business coaching from ITC as well as US$3,000 of AWS credits and a 1:1 deep dive consultation to help jump start the winner’s cloud on journey.
- Saria Alderhali, the Founder of Bondai, won the People’s Favorite award and received USD$10,000.
- Winner was selected by an independent committee from more than 880 applicants across a variety of sectors, from textiles to education, food and beverage to professional services, beauty and wellness.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – September 7, 2023 - Visa (NYSE: V), the world's leader in digital payments, together with Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), the Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority (Monsha’at), arab national bank (anb) announced Aliyah Alghubayn, the Co-Founder of Ptway, a Riyadh-based platform that connects companies and part-time job seekers, as the much-anticipated winner of its second She's Next grant program for Saudi Arabia. The winner was selected at an award ceremony held at Princess Noura bint Abdulrahman University.
Handpicked from a pool of over 880 applicants from GCC, the winning woman-owned small business received a US$50,000 grant along with a year of business coaching from International Trade Centre (ITC), a United Nations and World Trade Organization and US$3,000 in Amazon Web Services credits. The business coaching will be provided by the ITC SheTrades Initiative, ITC’s flagship women and trade program. The winner was selected from a pool of applicants representing a range of sectors including but not limited to textiles, education, food and beverage, professional services, beauty and wellness.
The She’s Next finals event in Saudi Arabia was also open to shortlisted applicants from Bahrain and Oman where the program is running for the first time. Aida Almudaifa, the Founder of Early Riser, won the Bahrain edition of She’s Next and US$50,000 and Yasmeen Al Alawi, the Founder of Sprout, won the Oman edition and US$50,000.
A jury evaluated entries based on the following criteria: the progression of applicant’s entrepreneurial journey; robustness of their business metrics; digital presence; and a demonstrated ability to problem-solve confidently. The members of the jury included:
- Saudi Arabia: Ali Bailoun, Visa’s Regional General Manager for Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman (KBO); Abdullah A. Alshamrani, the General Manager at The Center of Digital Entrepreneurship (CODE), under MCIT; Afnan Ababtain, Director of women entrepreneurship at Monsha’at; and Khalid alrashed, Head of Retail Banking Group, anb.
- Bahrain: Malak Alsaffar, Visa Country Manager for Bahrain; Fatema Al Alawi, Chief Retail Banking Officer, BisB; Eman Almeajel, Head of entrepreneurship unit & innovation, Princess Nourah Bint Abdul Rahman University; and Thereshini Peter, Visa’s Chief Financial Officer for GCC.
- Oman: Manish Gautam, Visa Country Manager for Oman; Ilham Murtadha Al Hamaid, General Manager of Corporate Banking, Bank Muscat; Rizwan Jawaid, Visa’s Head of Fintech Partnerships & Regional Financial Institutions – KBO; and Mona Alsemayen, Country Head, Strategy & Growth at Amazon Payment Services.
For the first time, She’s Next included a People’s Favorite award with cash prize of US$10,000 for one winner from each of the three countries, voted for online by members of the public. This award went to Saria Alderhali, the Founder of Bondai, Saudi Arabia's largest marketplace for tours and experiences; Esraa AlJanahi, the Founder of EJS Dynamic Fitness, a boutique fitness facility in Bahrain and Shamsa Al Salami, the Founder of Zumr, an Oman-based platform that bridges the gap between the financially excluded and formal financial services.
Further highlighting the increasing focus on sustainability in today’s local business landscape, most of the She’s Next applicants showcased sustainable business practices. In fact, based on the SMB Digitization Index commissioned by Visa to support the She’s Next program, all the women entrepreneurs surveyed across the GCC (100%) acknowledged the increasing importance of sustainability in the current business landscape, indicating their commitment to reduce waste, recycle products (45%), and minimize plastic usage (51%).
Through their participation in the She's Next program, these women entrepreneurs have already had access to practical insights from women leaders, valuable tools, educational resources, and facilitated trainings. This includes access to AWS Connected Community and ITC's "Elevate Your Business" training program. Visa and ITC will also provide one-to-one advisory support for 30 finalists – equipping these individuals with the guidance and insights to boost their business and financial strategies.
"In a world where women-owned small businesses consistently demonstrate their resilience and future-forward optimism, Visa is proud to acknowledge and support these trailblazing female entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia. We extend our heartfelt congratulations once again to the winners of She’s Next in KSA and look forward to supporting them in their business journey," said Ali Bailoun, Visa’s Regional General Manager for Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman.
"At arab national bank - anb, we have always believed in the power of entrepreneurship and the immense potential that women-owned businesses bring. We are extremely proud to be a part of She's Next program and contribute to the success of the outstanding women who have emerged as winners. Their ability to innovate and create business solutions is truly an inspiration,” said Khaled A. Alrashed, Head of Retail Banking – arab national bank.
Monsha’at statement: "At Monsha’at, we have always believed in the power of entrepreneurship and the immense potential that women-owned businesses bring. We are extremely proud to be a part of She's Next program and contribute to the success of the outstanding women who have emerged as winners. Their ability to innovate and create business solutions is truly an inspiration.”