Journey: Elissa Freiha مسيرة إليسا فريحة

Why did we start WOMENA? Take a glimpse into the #herstory of WOMENA as our cofounder and angel investor, Elissa Freiha shares their entrepreneurial journey on why they build one of the most active angel investment groups in the region.

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ELIE SAAB Launches The Girl Of Now Initiative To Inspire The Next Generation Of Female Leaders

Girl Of Now Initiative - Elie Saab - Womena

(L-R) Farah Al Qaissieh, Muna Al Gurg, Elie Saab Jr., and Elissa Freiha

ELIE SAAB collaborated with WOMENA, a regional women’s investment platform, by hosting a high tea and inspirational talk at Ayyam Gallery as part of the Girl Of Now Initiative, an ELIE SAAB brand activation supporting women leadership, empowerment and the importance of educating the youth. This event is a first of a series of ongoing activations supporting the initiative in shedding light on female achievers of Now, by highlighting their accomplishments, regionally and globally.

The event, featuring three inspirational speakers, hosted a gathering of prominent female figures from the Middle East; all sharing their own experiences in entrepreneurship, investment, leadership and breaking stereotypes.

Elissa Freiha, founder and CEO of WOMENA, welcomed guests by sharing her own story of entrepreneurship and engaging women in the economy in a sustainable way. She expressed, “Women are the real game-changers in this region, and yet we rarely see them in the spotlight. We need to be more outspoken about our accomplishments because when we are, it’s contagious.”

Elissa was joined on stage by Retail Director of Essa Saleh Al Gurg Group and Philanthropist Muna Al Gurg, who stated that: ‘Women from different backgrounds coming together and sharing their stories enables them to inspire each other and places their skills and strengths in perspective’.

While tech entrepreneur and founder of Stutter UAE Farah Al Qaissieh emphasized on the fact that “confidence comes from within and being able to share my journey with everyone else has enabled me to find my voice and the voice of a previously unknown demographic of stutterers.”

Hosted at Ayyam Gallery, a leading arts organization in the Middle East, with the works of Samia Halaby a renowned abstract painter and an influential scholar of Palestinian art complemented the gathering being a pioneer female artist herself, dressing the walls.

About Girl Of Now Initiative
As women around the world put their knowledge to work, ELIE SAAB’s Girl Of Now Initiative is on a mission to encourage those who have built successful stories and careers, inspiring generations of young achievers to follow in their footsteps. A mission to spread awareness around the accomplishments and leanings of these ambitious and driven women. A mission to empower the female youth to go further, reach higher and perhaps become leaders of tomorrow.

The initiative serves as yet another drive within the brand’s already ongoing activities that supports potential talent, which include mentorship through the Lebanese American University’s Fashion Design Bachelor Program, involvement in PROJECT RUNWAY ME, and partnership with the Hyeres Fashion and Photography Festival. www.thelightofnow.com/goni #GirlOfNowIntiative

About Womena
WOMENA is a UAE-based organization that promotes innovation, investment and inclusion by empowering women to invest in startups.

Through bi-monthly pitch events, an angel investment platform and educational workshops, WOMENA has fostered a collaborative community of motivated, proactive female investors, with an interest in business and economic development. With strong ties to innovation hubs around the world; in Silicon Valley, New York and London, as well as forty signed partnerships and connections to 400 financing and entrepreneurial entities, WOMENA stands at a unique crossroads to be able to foster growth and diversity in the MENA ecosystem.

The result of WOMENA’s endeavors is more women in business, more women on boards, more funded entrepreneurs, and a stronger, more inclusive economy.

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

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.