WOMENA Giveaway: STEP Conference 2017 Tickets

As many of you know, this March we started the #WomenOfMENA campaign in time for International Women’s Day, by asking for the women of MENA to show us who they are, what they are proud of, and what they have accomplished, using the hashtag #WomenOfMENA.

As we are approaching the last week of our campaign, we’ve teamed up with STEP Group to give away 2 free tickets ($299) to the upcoming STEP Conference on April 5-7.

Here’s how you can win a free ticket to join the largest interactive gathering in the MENA region:

STEP 1: Follow us on Twitter @womenaco, Instagram @womena, and like us Facebook @womenaco

STEP 2: Grab your nearest paper, pen, stylus or lipstick marker, and tell us WHO YOU ARE and WHAT YOU HAVE DONE. Tag us on your photo posted on your favorite Social Media channel with hashtag #WomenOfMENA #STEP2017.

Previous submissions will be automatically added. This giveaway will close at 11:59pm Dubai time (GMT+4) 31st March 2017. Winners will be announced on April 1.

Want to secure your spot at STEP 2017? Listen up!
Few weeks left for MENA’s Largest Interactive Gathering, STEP2017, happening on April 5, 6 & 7 at the Dubai International Marine Club. We’re happy to offer you a 30% discount on all access tickets to the 2 events, STEP Conference (April 5 & 6) followed by STEP Music (April 7th) to enjoy the amazing talks and panels by the world’s leading speakers, and listen to regions’s best artists in a 12-Hour festival.

Use this code: 30APVL7G and get your all access tickets here.

About STEP Conference 2017
STEP Conference 2017 is the largest interactive gathering in the MENA regionbringing together thousands of entrepreneurs, investors and tech & media enthusiasts, and hundreds of startups with the best of technology, digital and entertainment industries in a 2-day event loaded with talks, exhibitions and signature happenings.

STEP2017 Startup Basecamp:
#STEP2017 will witness the largest startup showcase in the MENA region in collaboration with Wamda to gather hundreds of the world’s most promising startups from all industries and funding stages.

Farewell WOMENA


Three and a half years ago Elissa and I were on a boat somewhere in the Mediterranean and under the cover of the dark night sky and a clear view of the stars unpolluted by city light, we decided to start WOMENA.

Fast forward to December 2014, we launched with our first pitch meeting, and we haven’t stopped moving since. And I’m glad we didn’t stop.

We now have 7 portfolio companies performing exceptionally well building the future in industries from digital health to blockchain and a wonderful network who jump at the opportunity to help them grow. We’ve seen over 1000 entrepreneur submissions, had 17 pitch meetings where 44 entrepreneurs have presented, and done lots of due diligence. Over 350 participants have participated in our 28 workshops on angel investment and venture capital hosted thanks to generous partners. I’ve had the chance to meet hundreds of brilliant entrepreneurs, I’m constantly learning about new industries, and meeting investors with vision for the future.

So it is with a heavy heart that I say that I will be stepping away from active management of WOMENA. We have three wonderful staff, a beautiful office, great partners, WOMENA has been growing steadily and evolving rapidly and I expect great things from the team with my co-founder Elissa at the helm as the visionary and Chief Excitement Officer, Nermine, our talented analyst, Christina, our head of business development and sponsorship, and Dulce, our admin and community manager.

I’ll be in and out of the UAE for the next few months working on an exciting project – stay tuned for more details – and then will be heading off back to my corner of the world (San Francisco, not Hollywoodland). I am excited to be moving to the heart of technological innovation and hope to bring back what I learn to the benefit of WOMENA, its portfolio companies, and the MENA startup ecosystem.

I’ll remain an advisor to WOMENA so will pop in now and again, and am endlessly dedicated to our portfolio companies and will see to it I enhance their success wherever I can. And I’m so proud of WOMENA, which has taken a life of its own and can outlive me. That’s what every founder wants for their company, isn’t it?

Signing off for now,

Chantalle Dumonceaux


Why I Marched

By Elissa Freiha, Cofounder of WOMENA

I am often asked where I come from, what culture I connect with, and it tends to lead to a very messy, long-winded answer. In short, I am Arab-American by blood and was born and raised in France, and for the sake of this article I will elaborate on the lineage of women that I come from and the culture that they have instilled in me.

My American side consists of my mother who has five sisters, two daughters, a niece and a mother of her own. My Arab side consists of my two aunts and seven cousins. In France, I was raised by two darling and dramatic women. And all these women represent dancers, engineers, educators, artists, entrepreneurs, mothers, writers, film makers, realtors and activists – and one of them is arguably one of the most influential Middle Eastern socio-political writers of her generation. All this to say that whilst growing up, I got a front row seat to the forming of an Arab-American alliance of ladies and despite geopolitical tensions and my parents’ divorce; the decades-old cross-culture sisterhood is still going strong.

Furthermore, since my co-founder and I have started WOMENA, we have seen that openness and support first hand. Our team of five women represent 8 cultures and those values have become pillars of our brand.

Through all of this, I have learned that women across the world have been forging bonds of unity since forever, and it is this bond that has allowed for the progressive plight of equal rights to surge through the modern era.

So when the multi-cultural people of the United States decided to march to reaffirm women’s rights in their country, there was no doubt in my mind that I had to take part and show solidarity. I gave into the feminist F.O.M.O (Fear Of Missing Out) and flew to Washington DC to take part in the flagship March with 500,000 others- double the expected turnout. It was 48 hours of mayhem, and it was more satisfying than I can express. More so, it stands as a testament to the universal value of equality that this march was able to expand so fast from one city to 673 cities around the world with over 3 million participants.

In retrospect, when I am now asked where I come from and what culture I connect with, I like to say that it is a Third Culture, a WOMENA culture, a culture of conviction that is always ready to march ahead for the fundamental values of feminism that bind us together.

WOMENA Angel Group Invests in Blockchain Rewards Platform Loyyal

Loyyal a blockchain-based loyalty and rewards platform - Sean Dennis

Just over three months after WOMENA invested in Bayzat and Souqalmal, the Dubai-based angel group kicked off 2017 by investing in the latest funding round of Loyyal, a blockchain-based loyalty and rewards platform.

Loyyal leverages blockchain and smart contract technology to provide a network for incentivising commercial and non-commercial transactions. Their first application of the technology is in the loyalty and rewards industry to solve a clear commercial challenge; high fragmentation and user dissatisfaction in the current marketplace.

“They have a very strong team solving an old problem with new technology. The market for rewards programs is very big and Loyyal has already gained some traction from big potential clients,” said Elissa Freiha, Managing Director, WOMENA. “We are excited to be joining in the blockchain revolution with this investment – the 7th investment for our network. Not only is this a revolutionary model but also a product that our members and consumers around the world will surely use,” she added.

Headquartered in New York with a subsidiary in Dubai, Loyyal is one of the successful Dubai Future Accelerators (DFA) alumni who secured a pilot program with the Dubai government.

According to the announcement, Loyyal is deploying its proprietary and patent pending blockchain and smart contract infrastructure solution to re-map the way the Dubai Holding’s businesses interact with consumers and each other. The pilot will focus on The Jumeirah Group and TECOM Group, bringing together disparate loyalty schemes and separate businesses to unlock undiscovered relationship value and demonstrate the network effect opportunities of using the common ledger and distributed trust capabilities of blockchain.

Sean Dennis, Co-Founder and Chief Happiness Officer of Loyyal, said “With the amount of work we are getting in the region and a very positive pipeline of interested clients, we are now opening up an office here in Dubai and will have a permanent team on the ground. We will also make sure to maintain relationships with our new DFA ‘family’ and we are very much looking forward to the future and the growth of Loyyal in the region and globally.”

This marks WOMENA’s first investment in the blockchain sector. The investment was made together with Hayaat Group and other individuals.

WOMENA’s Elissa Freiha On Why The Arab World Needs More Women Entrepreneurs

Elissa Freiha, angel investor and founder of WOMENA, spoke to Inc. Arabia about entrepreneurship in the MENA region. Shot at Step Conference 2016 in Dubai.

Source: Inc Arabia

How A Startup in Dubai Can Succeed

Dubai Investors

When you think of Silicon Valley what do you think of? Maybe you think of Elon Musk going to space or Peter Thiel searching for immortality. Maybe you think of scrappy entrepreneurs using breakthrough technologies to change the world. In Silicon Valley, entrepreneurs benefit from networks that provide insider information, venture capital, human capital, mentorship, and support resources galore. It has a sprinkling of hippie counterculture in there to encourage outside-the-box thinking.

Now what do you think of when you think of an emerging startup ecosystem, such as the one in Dubai? What is Dubai’s brand as a startup ecosystem? What kind of startups come out of here? I’d argue Dubai has some advantages to leverage:

  • A headquarters for the Gulf region: The UAE’s macroeconomic conditions and lifestyle make it an ideal hub for the region’s entrepreneurs to flock to. Dubai’s reputation makes it the most trusted source of capital, customers, and talent in the Gulf region. It is a dynamic, global city that people want to buy from and be in.
  • High barriers to entry: A lack of available data makes insider information and insider relationships far more valuable in the Gulf. Access to these is a barrier to entry for outside competitors. Licensing is difficult here. You can look at this as a negative, but you can also realize that an entrepreneur who understands how to handle this process and has their setup taken care of has overcome a high barrier that is hard to surmount. Next, there are certain industries which have built in barriers to entry. They are best launched locally.
  • Hidden billion dollar markets: There are about 50 million people in the Gulf with a GDP per capita of about $40,000 per year and unique consumption patterns. Knowing how to cater to these unique consumption patterns gives a local edge. There would have to be some major cultural shifts before there could be a pan-Arab brand and each Gulf country requires its own licensing, so “scaling regionally” looks different. Think of it more as franchising your startup to different, similar markets. Investors should bear this in mind when honestly assessing the scalability of a startup. That being said, these 50 million people consume transportation, housing, energy, healthcare, clothes, credit, etc.
  • An access point to other hidden billion dollar markets: Much of the developing world is within arm’s reach from Dubai. A startup that solves bottom-of-the-pyramid problems can have the managerial and technical talent it needs in Dubai and keep a close relationship with regional offices.
  • Tech early in its lifecycle/user experience could be improved and localized: There’s a lot of interest in incorporating technology into business practices and there are many activities that are done inefficiently due to the fact that people are still adopting startups that were in the 90s/early 2000s wave in the US (e-commerce, marketplaces, portals, etc). In other words, there is low-hanging fruit (these are unlikely to be unicorns, but that’s for another post).

Startups in emerging ecosystems have major opportunities where they can be competitive by specializing where they have competitive advantages. At the same time, there are enough resources for ecosystem builders to develop down one vertical where there are significant, existing advantages which make it make sense to focus on a specific market. Look at London and fintech. Or Tokyo for robotics. A startup should be where it has the highest chances of success and in some cases that’s Dubai.

Questions related to startup success are overlooked in startup education available now because this education is created from Silicon Valley experiences most of the time. Based on the emerging ecosystem advantages and disadvantages, I’ve outlined questions a founder starting in an emerging startup ecosystem should answer in assessing feasibility in addition to the basics. This can also be used by investors interested in startups in emerging markets:

  • Does the industry I’m in have built in barriers to entry that make it unattainable or unattractive to international competitors?
  • Does it have built in barriers to entry against local competitors simultaneously?
  • How can I capture value and scale as a tech startup despite the need for a localization element?
  • Does the user experience resonate locally? Is the technology too complex for the adoption stage?
  • Does my startup cater to a hidden billion dollar market, as defined by the unique regional consumption patterns, and/or by advantageous access to other markets (i.e. for Dubai, developing world)?
  • Can I scale through the challenges of scaling in the region? Think of scaling like franchising. For my business, do these challenges put me in a stronger or weaker position in the face of competitors?

A few of my favorites that answered these questions well are:

They cater to local problems, are scalable regionally, and use technology to beat out old systems currently in place. These are the types of startups which will build the startup ecosystem in Dubai and give it a respected brand.
Successful startups are being built here now and will be built in Dubai in the future. The ecosystem has a lot to offer and I look forward to seeing it evolve and grow.

Contact us if you want to talk investment or startup growth strategies.

Originally posted on Medium.

MENA Tech Investors You Should Follow on Twitter

MENA Tech Investors to Follow on Twitter

Startups in the MENA region received over $870M investments last year. That is a good indicator that there is a growing interest in the startup ecosystem and investors are getting comfortable investing in technology and not just in the traditional asset class such as real estate.

At WOMENA, we’ve reviewed over 900 pitch decks and funded six startups to date which translates to 0.6% funding success. If you are a startup that is fundraising in the region, how will you stand out from the crowd?

If you are most startups that search for investors through Google, you’ll end up with about 500,000 search results for “MENA tech investors.” After combing through each of them, you will get an ample hit list of investors to spam your pitch deck with. Spamming does not make a good impression, because like any normal person, investors favor more not just brilliant ideas but also those that they have an established relationship with.

So if you are a resourceful fundraiser, you will follow this tip from Silicon Valley VCs Brad Feld and ‎Jason Mendelson, “engaging a VC that you don’t know via social media can be useful as a starting point to develop a relationship.

By following investors on social media, it will not only give you good insight into how they think and their investment thesis but it will also enable you to assess their fit for your startup. This will increase your odds of success during a pitch meeting as you will be able to tailor fit your pitch to hit their sweet spot.

To give you a jumpstart, we’ve curated a comprehensive list of interesting VCs, angel investors, and notable high net worth individuals from the MENA region:

  1. Abdulaziz Alloughani (@aballoughani) – Vice Chairman of the Kuwait National Fund for SMEs Development (@Thenationalfund)
  2. Ahmad Takatkah (@VCpreneur) – Senior Investment Manager at Arzan Venture Capital (@ArzanVC)
  3. Alvaro Abella (@abella_BECO) – Managing Partner and CFO at BECO Capital (@BECOCapital)
  4. Aly El Shalakany (@AlyShalakany) – Chairman at Cairo Angels (@cairoangels)
  5. Ambar Amleh (@ambaramleh) – Chief Operating Officer at Ibtikar Fund (@ibtikarfund)
  6. Anurag Agarwal (@anurag_vc) – Investment Manager at Arzan Venture Capital (@ArzanVC)
  7. Amir Farha (@afarha) – Co-founder and CIO at BECO Capital (@BECOCapital)
  8. Amira Rashad (@amira123rashad) – Angel investor at WOMENA (@womenaco)
  9. Badr Jafar (@BadrJafar) – CEO at Crescent Enterprises
  10. Cankut Durgun (@cankut_durgun) – Founding Partner at Aslanoba Capital
  11. Chantalle Dumonceaux (@ChantalleALD) – Co-founder and Investment Director at WOMENA (@womenaco)
  12. Christine Nasserghodsi (@cnasserghodsi) – Angel Investor at WOMENA (@womenaco)
  13. Christopher Schroeder (@cmschroed) – Entrepreneur, investor, author and MENA supporter
  14. Christos Mastoras (@cmastoras) – Founder and Managing Partner at Iliad Partners (@IliadPartners)
  15. Daniel dos Reis (@Daniel_dos_Reis) – Senior Portfolio Manager at Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (@Dtec_dso)
  16. Dany Farha (@danyfarha) – Co-founder and CEO at BECO Capital (@BECOCapital)
  17. Dave McClure (@davemcclure) – Founding Partner at 500 Startups (@500Startups)
  18. Elissa Freiha (@freihahaha) – Co-founder and Marketing Director at WOMENA (@womenaco)
  19. Emile Cubeisy (@ecubeisy) – Managing Partner at Silicon Badia (@siliconbadia)
  20. Faisal Hakki (@faisalhakki) – CEO at Oasis500 (@Oasis_500)
  21. Fares Ghandour (@toosketch) – Partner at Wamda Capital (@WamdaCapital)
  22. Fadi Ghandour (@fadig) – Managing Partner at Wamda Capital (@WamdaCapital)
  23. Gaurav Dhar (@RollingArtDubai) – Angel Investor at WOMENA (@womenaco)
  24. Gulsum Ciraci (@gulsumciraci) – Founding partner at Istanbul Startup Angels (@istanbulangels)
  25. Habib Haddad (@habibh) – Venture Partner at Wamda Capital (@WamdaCapital)
  26. Hala Fadel (@halafrangie) – Managing Partner at Leap Ventures (@LeapVC)
  27. Hasan Aslanoba (@AslanobaHasan) – Founding Chairman at Aslanoba Capital
  28. Hasan Haider (@Hasmanh) – MENA Partner at 500 Startups (@500Startups); CEO at Tenmou (@Tenmoubh)
  29. Hasan Zainal (@Hasan_zainal) – Founder at Arzan Venture Capital (@ArzanVC)
  30. Heather Henyon (@BalCap) – Board Director and Investment Committee Member at Dubai Angel Investors
  31. Henri Asseily (@rikkles) – Founding Partner at at Leap Ventures (@LeapVC)
  32. Hervé Cuviliez (@hervecuviliez) – Partner at at Leap Ventures (@LeapVC)
  33. Hossam Allam (@samallam) – Founder at Cairo Angels (@cairoangels)
  34. Hussam Khoury (@hkhoury) – President at Jabbar Internet Group
  35. Kamal Hassan (@kamal_turn8) – General Partner at Turn8 Fund (@turn8hub)
  36. Khaled bin Alwaleed (@KhaledAlwaleed) – Founding Chairman at KBW Investments (@kbw_investments)
  37. Khaled Ismail (@kismail1959) – Managing Partner at Algebra Ventures
  38. Khaled Talhouni (@khaledtalhouni) – Managing Partner at Wamda Capital (@WamdaCapital)
  39. Kyle Hendrick (@w_kylehendrick) – Founder and General Partner at Arab Angel Fund (@ArabAngelFund)
  40. Laith Zraikat (@laithz) – Senior Investment Manager at Arzan Venture Capital (@ArzanVC)
  41. Maher Kallel (@kallelkad) – President at Carthage Business Angels Association
  42. Marwan Juma (@marwansjuma) – Chairman of the Board at Oasis500 (@Oasis_500)
  43. Mohamed Alabbar (@mohamed_alabbar) – Chairman of Emaar (@emaardubai)
  44. Mondher Khanfir (@Khanfirm) – Founder and CEO at WiKISTARTUP (@WIKISTARTUP)
  45. Nicolas Rouhana (@nrouhana) – General Manager at Insure & Match Capital (@IMkapital)
  46. Noor Shawwa (@noorshawwa) – Managing Director at Endeavor UAE (@EndeavorUAE)
  47. Noor Sweid (@nsweid) – Partner at Leap Ventures (@LeapVC)
  48. Omar Sati (@ojsati) – Managing Director at DASH Ventures (@DASHventures)
  49. Ossama Hassanein (@OssamaHassanein) – Chairman of Rising Tide Fund (@RisingTideFund)
  50. Paul Chucrallah (@paul_chucrallah) – Managing Director at Berytech Fund (@Berytechfund)
  51. Pierre Azzam (@PierreAzzam) – Shareholder and Board Director at Eureeca (@eureecamoment)
  52. Prashant K. Gulati (@PKGulati) – Angel Investor and President at TiE Dubai
  53. Qais al-Khonji (@QaisalKhonji) – Founder of Qais United Enterprises Trading and Genesis International
  54. Rakan AL Eidi (@Rakaneur) – Venture Partner at 500 Falcons Fund
  55. Rami Al-Karmi (@alkarmi) – Chairman and CEO at F03 Venture Partners (@f03vp) and Limited Partner at 500 Startups (@500Startups)
  56. Ramy Boujawdeh (@RBoujawdeh) – Angel Investor at Seeders Masterclass for Business Angels (@SeedersMBA)
  57. Sabah Al Binali (@SabahALBINALI) – Angel Investor and Chief Investment Officer of and CEO of Credit at Shuaa Capital (@SHUAA_Capital)
  58. Saed Nashef (@saednashef) – Founding Partner at Sadara Ventures (@sadaravc)
  59. Samih Toukan (@samihtoukan) – Chairman and CEO at Jabbar Internet Group
  60. Sharif El-Badawi (@selbadawi) – Chairman at TechWadi (@TechWadiorg) and Partner at 500 Startups (@500Startups)
  61. Sirine Fadoul (@SirineFad) – Incubator Manager DTEC (@dtec_dso) and Angel Investor
  62. Sonia Weymuller (@SoniaWey) – Founding Partner at VentureSouq (@VentureSouq)
  63. Souhail Khoury (@Souhailk) – Venture Capital at Berytech Fund (@Berytechfund)
  64. Tarek Amin (@tarekaminz) – Founder at Dubai Angel Investors
  65. Tarek El Kady (@tarekelkady) – Founder at Alexandria Angel Network (@alexandriangels)
  66. Usama Fayyad (@usamaf) – Executive Chairman at Oasis500 (@Oasis_500)
  67. Walid Faza (@Walid_Faza) – Partner and Investment Principal at Wamda Capital (@WamdaCapital)
  68. Walid Mansour (@WalidGMansour) – Managing Partner at Middle East Venture Partners (@MiddleEastVP)
  69. Walid Tahabsem (@wtahabsem) – Board Director at Endeavor Jordan (@EndeavorJo)
  70. Yousef Hammad (@Yo_Hammad) – Associate at BECO Capital (@BECOCapital)
  71. Yousef Hamza (@yousefhamza) – Partner at Envestors MENA (@EnvestorsLondon)

Twitter pro tip: you may also subscribe directly to our MENA tech investor list on Twitter and while you are at it, do follow us at @womenaco.

Did I miss someone that should be on the list? Ping me at @dulcelada. I will be updating this list regularly.

WOMENA Angel Group Announces Two New Investments in the MENA Region

WOMENA, a Middle East based angel group has recently completed two more investments in companies Bayzat and Souqalmal, bringing the total amount invested since launch to $462,000. With these two deals, WOMENA has increased the value of investments made in 2016 by 400% compared to 2015’s investments.

WOMENA Angel Group Bayzat Souqalmal

Bayzat is a cloud-based platform that targets the UAE’s $9.1 billion insurance industry by offering a technology solution that simplifies the process of finding the most suitable medical insurance. WOMENA joined in on a $3.5 million funding round led by VC firm, Beco Capital.

Souqalmal is the Middle East’s leading financial comparison website, allowing users to compare a wide range of products and services from credit cards to nurseries. WOMENA participated in Souqalmal’s bridge round.

Speaking about WOMENA’s new investments, WOMENA co-founder Elissa Freiha commented, “WOMENA and its investors are very proud of our participation in these new rounds, not only because they are both great companies situated in fast growing markets, but also because they are the latest stage deals that we’ve participated in this far. These investments demonstrate our maturing investor base, and gives us confidence that we’ll continue to increase the number and value of our investments in 2017.”

The urgent need for angel investors in MENA’s ecosystem has been recently been highlighted in MAGNITT’s finding that 47% of registered startups are looking for angel funding, a need which WOMENA aims to meet through its membership platform, regular pitch meetings and investor education events.

WOMENA is a UAE based group of investors working to support innovation diversity and economic growth in the MENA region through encouraging women to invest in early stage tech companies. WOMENA hosts an angel investment membership platform that provides high net worth women and investors a supportive, professional network and dependable guidance to invest where we facilitate the investment process from sourcing to close. Our goal is to change the trend and empower Middle Eastern women to become investors rather than consumers.

Why Are Female Angel Investors Important to the MENA Ecosystem?

“Most female angel investors are currently, or have been, founders of a startup. So, I believe that having female venture capitalists and angel investors onboard positively impacts the investment process, because they have walked in our proverbial shoes and they understand how we think, what we need and how to give it to us. By increasing the number of women in the sphere of investment, I believe that the number of investment funds founded and staffed by female investors in the region will increase. Unfortunately, at the moment, there are very few well-known female-run investment funds in the MENA. However, over time, I know that this will change. Thus, providing Arab female entrepreneurs with more financing options and eliminating the need to seek investment abroad.” Rola Fayyad, Founder and CEO of Jordan-based startup Friendture.

A recent survey of more than 220 early stage digital startups based in the UK revealed “that male entrepreneurs are 86% more likely to be VC funded than their female counterparts and men were 59% more likely to secure angel investment.” To make matters worse, only 6% of global VC partners are women1, leaving female entrepreneurs at a considerable disadvantage. Especially in the MENA region, where the legal, cultural and economic barriers are numerous. Thus, making the presence of “home-grown” female angel investors and VCs even more vital.

What are the two main benefits of having more female investors in the MENA region?

Firstly, the more angel investors there are, the more angel investor dollars there will be. So, by encouraging more women in the MENA region to join the investment scene, we will increase the amount of financing available to entrepreneurs in the Arab world.

Secondly, by increasing the number of “home-grown” female investors and investment funds, we can unleash more of the amazing talent and knowledge that is hidden in the region’s women.

MENA Female Angel Investors

So the question remains, what can we do in the MENA region to promote “female investment?”

  • Turn the Spotlight on our Boss Ladies 

Outside of lists such as Arabian Business’ The World’s 100 Most Powerful Arab Women2  it can be difficult to find literature that highlights women’s contributions within various industries in the MENA- especially in the field of investment. While some link this lack of recognition to the Arab world’s conservative attitudes towards female participation in the public sphere, others link it to women’s general lack of need to receive public acknowledgment for their contributions. Either way, we believe that there should be more platforms that inspire women in the region to aspire to greatness. In an effort to do just that, we established “Women Crush Wednesday” on our Instagram account to highlight and celebrate some of the world’s most awesome boss ladies and their accomplishments.

  • Promote Financial Education for Entrepreneurial Domination

One of WOMENA’s main missions is to educate female investors on how they can invest their angel dollars in MENA-based startups. By hosting investment workshops, webinars and events, WOMENA aims to build a base of empowered female angel investors in the Arab world, who can effectively invest their capital in the region. However, the Arab world still needs more institutions to craft educational programs to help female startup founders develop the strategies that they need to navigate, and overcome, some of the deeply entrenched gender-biases that prevent them from accessing the capital that they need to survive.

 Angel investment education