Yasmin El Mouallem’s winning pitch to create an online platform that can specifically address maternal mental health needs grabbed the top honours at the debut edition of the Sharjah Business Women Council’s (SBWC) Pearl Quest, a high-profile and intense business pitching event open to women founders and entrepreneurs in the UAE.
The pitching rounds, which were held at the Women’s Pavilion in Expo 2020 Dubai, saw seven contestants pitch their unique ideas to win substantial funding to start and/or grow their businesses. Through Pearl Quest, SBWC – a NAMA Women Advancement affiliate, reinforced its commitment to promote a culture of sustainable female entrepreneurship in the UAE and across the world by offering end-to-end support for all aspects of a business venture, including mentoring, training and funding.
El Mouallem received AED 100,000 in funding support while first runner up Muna Aldhabbah received AED 75,000 for Hala Jary, an online neighborhood platform designed to address network neighbourhood needs.
The three winners will be granted spots in the 2022 Sharjah Startup Studio (S3) program, Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center’s (Sheraa) unique venture building program designed to support early-stage entrepreneurs by helping them validate their idea, build their product, and take it to the market. All seven participating entries have secured spots at an idea validation bootcamp organised by Sheraa.
The winning pitches were selected by a distinguished panel of judges based on the originality of their ideas; its positive, sustainable, environmental and social impact on the community; and its functionality and ease of implementation. Judges for the debut edition of Pearl Quest included Tao Xiao, Partner, NH Management; Haleema Al Owais, 3rd Gen real estate leader, wealth management professional and educator; Hind Al Huwaidi, Director of Education, Bee’ah Consultancy, Research and Innovation; Mohamed Abdul Aziz Al Owais, Al Owais Enterprises and United Foods PJSC; Najda Al Hajeri, General Coordinator, Sharjah Excellence Award, Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and Etienne Van Den Peereboom, Adviser to the CEO, Sheraa.