We won! WOMENA Awarded at Business Vision Awards 2016  

On March 23rd, WOMENA was proud to stand alongside other business leaders and companies to receive the Business Vision Awards 2016. The event, organized by Finance ME, was organized to celebrate the achievements of MENA companies, and encourage excellence in business. In the words of Robin Amlôt, CEO of CPI Financial, “The companies awarded have shown remarkable initiative and spirit across a range of industry sectors, creating real value in both financial terms and for society at large. They offer great hope for the future economic prosperity of the region.”

This is the fifth award WOMENA has won in the last year, adding to accolades awarded by International Finance Magazine’s ‘Most Innovative Angel Investment Company’, Wealth and Finance International’s ‘Best HNW Female Investments’ and ‘Recognized Leader in Due Diligence’, as well as being awarded ‘Best SME Businesswomen of the Year’ by Arabian Business Startup.

This honor spurs us on to continue to offer the highest quality of services to our WOMENA angel investors and portfolio companies, and most of all continue to work towards a diverse and ever-expanding MENA ecosystem.



Jordan-the Middle East’s Axis of Innovation  

Amman is making waves in the IT industry
Photo credit: Trip.me

It’s no longer news that the Middle East has seen a surge in technology activity across the region. It’s almost important to remember though that the Middle East is not a homogeneous region (far from it!); technology innovation and adaption is taking place at different speeds and starting from different points across the region. So when we saw this piece in The Financial Times about the strengths and weakness of the Jordanian tech market, we were intrigued with its analysis at the country level, rather than the usual regional level.

As the author deftly notes, Jordan has carved out a niche “as a centre of IT, outsourcing and ‘Arabisation’, the translation and cultural adjustment of English-langauge media and web content.” That’s certainly something we see at WOMENA: over 10% of the companies we’ve looked at are currently based in Jordan with many more startups with Jordanian founders based out of Dubai or, on rare occasions, out of another MENA country. For a country of 6 million people in a region of 300 million plus people, that’s a phenomenal rate and attests to the level of entrepreneurship in Jordan.

Why have so many startups emerged from Jordan? There are multiple reasons and as the author alludes a well-educated population and supportive government are key among them. We think other key reasons are:
The network effects from Maktoob’s acquisition by Yahoo! (which we discussed here) and its hugely positive impact on Jordanian entrepreneurship
It’s geographic position right in the heart of the Middle East with good transport links
The lack of other opportunities in the country, as it has so few natural resources, push people to innovating on their own accord; its human resources are its most valuable and important resources

So what can Jordan do to make sure it remains a MENA tech hub? These are a few of our thoughts:
Make sure Jordan keeps on producing great startups for one! Jordan has built a reputation for impressive innovation and entrepreneurship and when the quality drops questions will begin to be asked
Increase investment in technology education from primary school all the way up to university
Break down the barriers for women to become entrepreneurs; there are some great female Jordanian entrepreneurs but they are outnumbered by men

What do you think? What can Jordan do to continue punching above its weight in MENA technology innovation?

Welcome Executive Women!  

Womena is happy to announce that we have a new ally in our journey to increase women’s opportunities and empowerment in the MENA region. Enter Executive Women, a magazine that serves as the perfect resource to women in business and female angel investors.

Executive Women provides a platform to highlight the achievements of inspiring women who are changing the face of business in the MENA region, including educators, humanitarian pioneers, media personalities, entrepreneurs, scientists and business leaders. In addition, Executive Women offers useful tips and coaching on business subjects such as leadership, management and career advice, as well as curated content on social events, fashion and culture. The website even offers a monthly personal development and wellness to do list.

The magazine was launched by the UAE chapter of the CEO Clubs Network Worldwide, one of the largest business networking clubs in the world. It’s accompanied by the CEO Clubs Business Women, a social club designed to provide MENA businesswomen with business opportunities, business development and support, as well as special women international delegations and networking events for ladies at all levels- from start-ups and sole traders through to director level.

Womena will be partnering with Executive Women throughout the coming year, so keep your eyes peeled for upcoming events!

To learn more about Executive Women, head over to their website or contact them directly here.

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