- The winners of the Visa She's Next program were announced at an awards ceremony.
- The award-winning women-owned small businesses in Saudi Arabia will each receive a US$10,000 grant and one year of business coaching from IFundWomen.
- Winners were selected by an independent committee from more than 30 applicants operating in a variety of sectors, from textiles to education, food and beverage to professional services, beauty and wellness in Saudi Arabia.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 21 September 2022 – Visa, the world's leader in digital payments, has announced the winners of its She's Next grant program for Saudi Arabia at an award ceremony in partnership with Al Rajhi Bank. Under the initiative, the Saudi women-led businesses received a US$10,000 grant and one year of business coaching from IFundWomen to help their businesses grow and expand, as well as media exposure and networking opportunities. The event was held at the headquarters of Monsha’at, the Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority, host and supporters of Visa’s She’s Next program for Saudi Arabia.
The winners were selected from more than 30 applications submitted by Saudi women entrepreneurs from a wide range of sectors, from textiles to education, food and beverage to professional services, beauty and wellness. Winners were selected based on the evolution of their entrepreneurial journey, the strength of their business metrics, their digital presence and their problem-solving skills.
The jury consisted of Ali Bailoun, Visa’s Regional General Manager of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman; Malak Al Saffar, Visa’s Country Manager for Bahrain & Visa Women’s Network GCC Leader; Naif H. Al-Enezi- Director Small and Medium Enterprises at Al Rajhi Bank; Aljawharah F. Al-Qahtani- Manager Ladies Branch Network, Al Rajhi Bank; Afnan Ababtain, Director of Women & Social Entrepreneurship at Monshaat; Abdulrahman Alotaibi, Director of SMEs capacity Building at Monshaat; and Mohammed Alamro, General Manager of Entrepreneurship Planning at Monshaat.
By participating in the program, all women entrepreneurs gained access to practical insights from female leaders in the public and private sectors, as well as valuable tools and educational resources – including Visa’s Practical Business Skills program - they need to grow and develop their businesses.
"In a world where businesses in general are struggling with the lingering effects of the pandemic and inflation, women-owned small businesses continue to prove their resilience and show great optimism about the future of their businesses," said Dr Saeeda Jaffar, Senior Vice President & Group Country Manager - GCC, Visa. "Visa recognizes these women entrepreneurs, their dedication and continued contributions to our communities, and is proud to support and spotlight them through our She's Next initiative, which we are pleased to have brought to Saudi Arabia for the first time. These women have not only broken many stereotypes about the type of businesses women run but have also clearly demonstrated their ability to grow and scale. We would like to congratulate the winners and look forward to supporting them through these grants and the mentorship program so they can continue to work and thrive in these uncertain times.”
THE WINNERS OF THE 2022 KSA EDITION OF THE SHE’S NEXT INITIATIVE
- Amna Alqurainis, Smartista and Amna Studio: An online marketing and technical platform for artists and visual arts enthusiasts
- Asiah Alyousef, Protein: A platform that provides automated customized nutritional and sports systems
- Dina Shabib, Etijah Coaching & Consulting: A social enterprise that is committed to human capital development and empowerment.
- Hadeel Alabasi, I Can Talk Arabic (ICTA): A center where expats in Jeddah can learn Arabic.
Two of the winners will also go on to participate in a virtual event, "She's next: Spotlighting Women Entrepreneurs in the Middle East," organized by Forbes Middle East and Visa. The event will feature female business leaders from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Morocco, who will share their strategies for promoting gender equality and women's empowerment.