Mohammed Fahad Al-Harthi
On Sunday, the 9th of December, Al-Ahli Bank and Sayidaty Magazine revealed the three Saudi female winners of this year’s Ahalina and Sayidaty Award. The announcement was made at a ceremony held at the Carlton Hotel in Jeddah, in the presence of Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority Governor, Saleh Al-Rasheed. In line with the award’s motto (Training, Qualifying, Financing), winners were chosen after many months of hard work undertaken by all 15 young Saudi female contestants, an extensive process which began with nomination applications, then various phases of training, qualifying, and assessment, and finally the last stage where the vision and dreams of three out of 15 strong candidates became reality.
The three finalists have wide experience in the field of business and, therefore, presented strong ideas that caught and held the attention of the jury throughout the entire competition. This year’s jury members included: the editor-in-chief of Sayidaty and Arrajol magazines, Mohammed Fahad Al- Harthi; director of the women's entrepreneurship division at Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority, Afnan Assad Al-Babtain; head of corporate responsibility at Al-Ahli Bank, Basma Al Jawhari; founder of ADMA Group and chairman of entrepreneurship committee at Jeddah Chamber of Commerce, Thamer Al-Farshouti; head of Textile Department at Salem Hasan Al-Ammari and Sons Co., Waleed Al-Ammari; and the vice executive officer and head of SMEs at Al-Ahli Bank, Khalid Bashnini.
In first place was Souad Abdullah Marisi, who took home prize money worth SAR 150 thousand. Marisi holds a PhD in Knowledge Management from King Abdul Aziz Al Saud University. Her project involved developing the education curricula through an organization that works on programing, printing, distributing, and publishing science fiction stories, in addition to other training programs for teachers that would enable them to apply the teaching methodology with science fiction.
Shaiyma'a Bukhari from Tabuk won the second award worth SAR 100 thousand. Bukhari holds a BA degree in Marketing from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah and was awarded second place for her project designed to serve mother and child. The project aims to establish the first Saudi Arabian trademark for breastfeeding covers and cloth holders for children that help support natural spinal growth, as well as help mothers with their motherhood duties such as breastfeeding anywhere in total privacy.
Masarra Falata from Riyadh took home the third prize, SAR 75 thousand. Falata holds a PhD in Nuclear Medicine from Prince Nora University. Her project aims to harness artificial intelligence through robots to serve people, particularly those who are blind or visually impaired.
Excerpts from the Ceremony
In his speech at the ceremony, Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority Governor, Saleh Al-Rasheed, expressed his appreciation for the efforts that Al-Ahli Bank and Sayidaty have continued to make to ensure that Ahalina Award for Entrepreneurship recognizes young Saudi talent, asserting the support of SMEGA for women's entrepreneurship.
Mohammed Fahad Al- Harthi, editor-in-chief of Sayidaty and AboutHer.com spoke at the ceremony as well, saying, "We are proud of this initiative because it is a different experience and the first of its kind. This award, which is a first to be held in the Kingdom and is a result of the partnership between a bank and a magazine, is dedicated to supporting women’s empowerment. Indeed, we believe that Saudi Arabian women have actually realized many achievements, and this initiative is only a fraction of what Saudi women deserve.”
Majed Al-Ghamdi, head of the corporate group at Al-Ahli Bank said this important initiative is in fact a manifestation of the bank’s entrepreneurship efforts to serve the community at large under the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. By implementing community projects and initiatives, the award aims at the development and sustainability of the local economy, including the launch of Ahalina strategy and programs for the empowerment of society through three categories / pillars: women, youth, and children.
Basma Al Jawhari, first deputy chairman and head of corporate responsibility at Al-Ahli Bank, said the initiative encouraged and motivated the ambitions of talented young Saudi women who wanted to realize their entrepreneurship projects.
About the Award
Launched in March 2018, Ahalina and Sayidaty Award aims to encourage Saudi Arabian women to enter the job market, and is the first award of its kind that has been made possible by a partnership between a bank and a magazine. The award looks to provide support to Saudi businesswomen who have excellent ideas for projects that could benefit the national economy if provided with necessary funding. Although in its infancy, this year’s award saw nominations of more than 300 young female entrepreneurs. Fifteen contestants were selected and were then given intensive training courses and workshops under the supervision of Qutoof Professional Development (Qutoof). Following the submission of final projects to the committees, the aforementioned winning projects were carefully selected based on strict criteria.