8 Arab Female Entrepreneurs That Are Kind Of A Big Deal
Arab women have consistently made major waves in the world, smashing glass ceilings, challenging the patriarchy and succeeding at everything they set out to do. From the world of sports to finance, Arab women have been able to shine bright.
In the Middle Eastern region, entrepreneurship was seen as a “men only” space and it seems that it is Arab women who are continually smashing stereotypes by becoming pioneering entrepreneurs in their own right.
Now in 2021, Arab women are excelling in the world of business and creating incredible empires. Not always on the fashion and beauty scene as Arab women are often noted for, these are our top 5 entrepreneurs that have gone beyond femininity and created products and platforms that make a difference on a global scale.
Ghazael Al Dossary - Saudi Arabia
Ghazael Al Dossary is a force to be reckoned with in the petrochemical industry. The Saudi entrepreneur is the founder of Oriental Promises Trading, which is a company that transports waste materials to large manufacturers who then recycle and repurpose them to fit their own business needs. An environmentally friendly concept, the organization helps to stop tons of waste from ending up in landfills. Al Dossary’s company won the Merit Prize at Shell LiveWIRE’s "Top Ten Innovators" global competition in 2016.
Jessica Kahawaty – Lebanon
Jessica Michelle Kahawaty is a Lebanese Australian model, philanthropist, former TV Host and beauty pageant title holder who won Miss World Australia 2012 and represented Australia at Miss World 2012. Jessica studied a combined degree of Bachelor of Laws and Business with a major in Finance in Sydney and has also acted in films and commercials for a number of high profile brands. Along with being a social media sensation, Kahawaty launched a culinary business with her mother, Rita. The duo’s food delivery business, Mama Rita, uses high-quality ingredients and focuses on healthy, home-cooked meals and has managed to expand across the country, and now offers deliveries around the capital so Abu Dhabi residents can enjoy the company’s offerings.
Hind Bahwan - Oman
Hind Bahwan is the Founder and CEO of Bahwan CyberTek Group, an IT, logistics, and engineering corporation. The ultimate boss lady and Harvard Business School graduate, not only manages her own business, but also serves as a board member for a number of important organizations and companies – and is lauded as one of the most respected businesswomen in the region.
Bahwan is an award winning entrepreneur and was awarded the Asian Business Leadership's 2011 "Woman of Power Award” and the World Economic Forum's "Global Young Leader" award in 2007.
Ayah Bdeir – Lebanon
Ayah Bdeir is one of the most inspiring businesswomen of our time. The Lebanese engineer is an interactive artist, and founder of founder/CEO of littleBits, which is "an award-winning platform of easy-to-use electronic building blocks that is empowering kids everywhere to create inventions." Her business is something she had always aspired to build in order to make education and innovation accessible to as many people all over the world as she could.
Having launched her business, she is now a pioneer in her field and has positively impacted millions of children around the world, with her products also being used at schools as educational devices
Noor Al Qatami – Kuwait
Kuwaiti entrepreneur Noor Al Qatami is the founder of Saveco, which is a local “mega market,” that opened its first physical store in 2014.
Al Qatami had tried her luck with launching businesses in the U.S where she had lived for some time but nothing worked out the way she had hoped, until she returned to her home country of Kuwait and began to work with her father for his steel business until she could figure out what she wanted to do. Whilst doing this, she had discovered a gap in the market in Kuwait – the ease of shopping for groceries and the experiences she had whilst shopping in America – which is when her idea Saveco came into fruition. Since its launch, Saveco has opened a number of stores across Kuwait and Al Qatami was also selected as one of the 100 most powerful Arab women by Arabian Business in 2016.
Mary Nazzal-Batayneh – Jordan
A force to be reckoned with, Mary Nazzal – Batayneh is a Jordanian lawyer, political activist who specializes in international human rights law and the founder and chair of Landmark Hotels, which is a luxury hotel chain based in Amman. She has continually made her mark on international platforms and in 2013 was the only Jordanian candidate selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, and has since been noted as one of Forbes’ 200 Most Powerful Arab Women on a number of occasions.
Huda Kattan - Iraq
Huda Kattan is our favorite Iraqi – American makeup artist, beauty blogger, and entrepreneur. Best known for her brands Huda Beauty, Wishful and Glowish, Kattan started out in 2010 with a humble WordPress blog which she named "Huda Beauty" on which she would post makeup tutorials and tips. By 2013, she founded her own cosmetics line, also called “Huda Beauty,” and has since ranked #1 on the "2017 Influencer Instagram Rich List", earning $18,000 for each post of sponsored content. She was chosen as one of "The 25 Most Influential People on the Internet" by Time magazine in 2017 and in 2020, Huda was listed on Fortunes 40 under 40.
Karen Wazen – Lebanon
Dubai based Lebanese social media influencer, Karen Wazen is a global sensation who uses social platforms to share quirky TikTok trends, the happenings in her family, her fashion choices and everything else in between. The stunning mompreneur, has amassed millions of followers on Instagram, appeared on magazine covers and now runs her own eyewear company – and has a celebrity following as the likes of Demi Lovato and Kourtney Kardashian. Collaborations with luxury brands like Dior, Fendi, Breitling, Cartier and Louis Vuitton have established Karen as one of the faces of fashion, beauty and lifestyle across the world. She has represented the region at global events like Cannes Film Festival and the British Fashion Awards.