Mastercard has announced the winners of the first Mastercard Women SME Leaders Awards 2022 at a virtual ceremony, recognizing the success of women-led businesses in 22 categories and multiple industry sectors across the Middle East and Africa.
The awards were developed by Mastercard in partnership with Entrepreneur Middle East to recognize and further empower women-owned and run SMEs across the Middle East and Africa.
Amnah Ajmal, Executive Vice President of Market Development, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa at Mastercard, said: “The passion that women SME owners display is unmatched, they raise the bar higher every day. The Mastercard Women SME Leaders Awards recognize and celebrate these inspiring women entrepreneurs, highlighting the individuals and enterprises that are shaping the future of this dynamic region. The judges were overwhelmed at the quantity and quality of entries and have been inspired by the amazing stories of dedication, creativity and innovation. We pass our admiration and congratulate the winners as well as everyone who was nominated for these awards.”
Winners from the UAE were:
• The Designer: Maz (Mariam) Hakim, the Founder of fashion house ESPAND
• The Logistician: Siddhi Joshi, CEO of Emovers
• The F&B Leader: Erika Doyle, Founder & MD of the alcohol-free drinks company, Drink Dry
• The Real Estate Leader: Helen Chen, Co-Founder and CEO of home search company, Nomad Homes
• The Health Custodian: Sophie Smith, Founder & CEO of women’s health company, Nabta Health
• The Hotelier: Judit Toth, General Manager of the Ink Hotel
• The Investor: Maryam Fouladirad, CEO of technology startup funding platform, Fundii
• The Fashion and Beauty Leader: Salama Mohamed, Founder of the cosmetics company, Peacefull
• The Visionary: Jennifer Sault, Founder & MD of the preloved clothing company, Thrift for Good
• Home-based Business of the Year: Maz (Mariam) Hakim, Founder of the sustainable clothing company, ESPAND by Maz
The Women SME Leaders Awards 2022 is the first initiative of its kind to recognize and showcase women-owned and run SMEs in the Middle East and Africa, with a turnover of less than US$13.6 million (AED50 million) and employing between six to 50 people.
Entry to the award’s 22 categories – which included The Designer, The Logistician, The Retailer, The Educator and The Investor – was open to all female individuals or businesses who have their offices or offer their services in the Middle East and Africa. Other award categories included The F&B Leader, The Educator, The Real Estate Leader, The Health Custodian, the Executive, The Leader of Tomorrow, and The Visionary, in addition to others.
The Women SME Leaders Awards 2022 judging committee included Amnah Ajmal, Executive Vice President, Market Development, EEMEA for Mastercard; Mona Zulficar, Chairperson of EFG Hermes Holding; Nejoud Al Mulaik, Director of Fintech Saudi and Tamara Pupic, Managing Editor of Entrepreneur Middle East.
The awards stemmed from the inaugural Mastercard SME Confidence Index conducted in 2021, which revealed that 81% of women entrepreneurs in the Middle East and Africa have a digital presence for their businesses, compared to 68% of their male counterparts. In terms of the digital footprint of these women entrepreneurs, social media (71%) leads the way, followed by a company website (57%).