EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women™ MENA program
The Entrepreneurial Winning Women™ program provides women entrepreneurs with advice, resources and access to unlock their full potential and realize their ambition.
How do the inspired become the inspiration? Elevating ambitious women entrepreneurs who build great companies and show others what’s possible. Watch the video below.
As the world leader in advising, guiding and recognizing entrepreneurs, we know that access to successful role models and business-building networks is critical for enabling entrepreneurs to realize their ambition.
In these unprecedented times, we remain committed to helping female founders with the challenges of the “now,” and help them prepare for the opportunities in the “next” and “beyond.” The EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women™ MENA 2021 program seeks a new cohort of ambitious women entrepreneurs to provide them with the advice, resources and access they need to unlock their full potential and reframe their future.
Entrepreneurial Winning Women join an international network of women entrepreneurs and participate in a bespoke executive education program with year-round activities designed to:
- Expand their knowledge with the latest information, research and executive dialogues about business strategies and practices.
- Develop the skills needed to effectively identify potential partners, strategic alliances, customers and suppliers as well as find routes to prospective sources of capital.
- Provide access to informal, one-to-one guidance and support.
- Strengthen their executive leadership and business skills and identify opportunities to grow through meetings with senior advisors and seasoned entrepreneurs.
- Increase visibility for themselves and their companies among corporate executives, investors and the media, creating possible new collaborations and opportunities.
- Provide a gateway to a global community of successful women entrepreneurs and inspiring peer role models who, in 2020, numbered more than 750 across 48 countries.
See more from the Entrepreneurial Winning Women class of 2021 brochure (pdf).
Criteria and selection
Entrepreneurial Winning Women will be expected to demonstrate the necessary qualities to take the fullest advantage of this opportunity, including ambitious company growth goals, energy, creativity, entrepreneurial purpose and passion.
To be eligible for this extraordinary opportunity, applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Are founding CEOs (at least 51%) in a registered business
- Demonstrate passion to grow their business and scale up internationally
- Businesses that: Are at least 2 years old.
- Have annual revenues higher than USD 500,000.
- Are headquartered in MENA
A global community with local programs worldwide
Select a country or region to learn more about a local Entrepreneurial Winning Women program.
- Asia-Pacific — Applications closed
- Brazil — Applications closed
- Middle East and North Africa — Applications open
- North America — Applications open
- Russia — Applications open
- South Africa — Applications open
- Turkey — Applications open
How our Winning Women community have benefited from the program
I joined the EY Winning Women program hoping to get new international contacts, fresh knowledge and professional insights. With the pandemic, we all received additional benefits - just in time expertise from EY, warm support from the classmates and lots of fun - it almost felt normal despite the circumstances.Romualda StragieneCEO, BIOK laboratorija, Lithuania, Class of 2019
The EY Winning Women program gave me the opportunity to exchange ideas with exceptional women entrepreneurs, and expand my network on an international level. I also received valuable input from EY professionals who are still available to me as “sparring partners.Manuela LindlbauerFounder & General Manager, LindlPower, Austria, Class of 2019
The opportunities that this program has afforded both myself and my company for growth and scaling is immeasurable. The network and community of Winning Women worldwide, supported and encouraged by EY, has given me access to female-led businesses from all over the world to learn from.Bevin MahonCo-owner & Managing Director, Dental Tech Group, Ireland, Class of 2019
Being part of the EY Winning Women 2019 exposed me to a much wider network of international women entrepreneurs who are scaling, and professional growth support, which has been a game changer to my business.Sarah Davis FCIOB MIoCEO, Skills4Stem Group, UK, Class of 2019
The EY Winning Women program allowed me to develop a great international network with many inspiring role models. I now have so many ideas to scale up my business.Anette EliasManaging Director and Founder, Interim Profis, Germany, Class of 2019
The shared experiences from like-minded entrepreneurs in the EY Winning Women program are re-assuring and uplifting. It is great to be part of a community with woman walking the same path.Zina MavroeidiManaging Director, Efresh.gr, Greece, Class of 2019
EY’s Entrepreneurial Winning Women™ program opened a door for me to a completely new network of extraordinary women with great stories about their businesses. This experience, combined with the expertise shared by EY leaders, came at the right time, as our company is expanding.Nina ProdanovaCEO and co-founder, ITCE, Bulgaria, Class of 2018
Being part of the program has given me more than I ever thought possible. Women built just like me, with the very same dreams and challenges. Never did I think I would find such a space.Kate HydeCEO, Glencove, Ireland, Class of 2018
EY is doing an excellent job selecting the most ambitious, energetic and successful women entrepreneurs who are truly inspiring. You want to be around them!Tessa RijnCEO, TaskHero B.V., Netherlands, Class of 2018
The Entrepreneurial Winning Women program offers an open invitation to be part of the wider EY business community, with access to contacts and business advice from relevant mentors. I wouldn’t hesitate to encourage any entrepreneur with a fast-growth business mentality to apply for the next intake.Amanda TomsonCEO and Founder, Thomson & Scott Limited, UK, Class of 2017
I’m delighted to be part of the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women program. I especially like the peer to peer learning, access to a mentor from EY with whom I can discuss many business matters and for all the growth tools and contacts I can access. It is already having a positive impact on my business growth.Brigitte BaumannFounder and Chief Investment Officer, Go Beyond Investing, Switzerland, Class of 2017
The Entrepreneurial Winning Women MENA class of 2019
Fatma A. Alkhoori
Fatma A. Alkhoori
Founder & Managing Director MASKA, United Arab Emirates
Fatma is the Founder & Managing Director of MASKA, a Dubai-based contemporary gift-wrapping design studio & concept store, best known for its elegant reusable fabric wrappings.
Previously, Fatma served at the UAE’s Prime Minister’s Office, where she helped setup the Emirates Competitiveness Council and was involved in the review and development of various economic and social policies. Prior to that, at The Executive Office of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid, Fatma held the role of coordinator of the Government Leadership Program. She was also involved in the inception and incubation of a number of high-profile governmental initiatives.
Founder Hadeel Al Hassan LLC, Iraq
A woman who considered government employment to be too limited for her potential, no challenge would stand in her way to build one of the top law firms in Iraq and the region, while raising her two children on her own to become strong, successful, and independent. From daring to quit a steady job to get her second degree in law, to refusing her family's financial support after her husband's untimely death, to persevering through a military invasion and a civil war, Hadeel's achievement is a living proof that the combination of dedication, ambition, and vision is indeed the stuff dreams are made of.
HRH Princess Hala bint Khaled bin Sultan
HRH Princess Hala bint Khaled bin Sultan
Founder Burhan Almarifa, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
HRH Princess Hala bint Khaled bin Sultan is the Founder of Burhan Almarifa, a Saudi company focused on encouraging innovation and enabling research and development in the legal sector. She is Founder and Chairman of the Saudi Law Conference, Director on the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation’s board, ICC Young Arbitrators Forum representative for KSA, and legal advisor at Faisal Abu Khalaf Law Firm. She was a legal advisor at the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority’s Economic Cities Agency, has a BA in International Relations from Wellesley College and a Jurist Doctorate (JD) from Boston University School of Law.
Social Entrepreneur, Volunteer Circle, Lebanon/United Arab Emirates
Malak Yacout sees the world through the lens of a social entrepreneur. A storyteller at heart, she uses her experience in marketing and advertising to accelerate the growth of her latest social enterprise, The Volunteer Circle, where she is the Executive Director. As an AUB and Roger Hatchuel Academy alumna, she is passionate about channeling her business and creativity skills to mobilize the next generation towards active impact. She strives to gradually build a creative volunteering and skill-sharing culture that breaks barriers both on the map and in our minds.
Founder, CEO & Head of Design COÉGA Sunwear, United Arab Emirates
From Technician in the Canadian Air Force to Founder & CEO for COÉGA Sunwear; for 12 years Maureen specialized in aircraft repair during the day on military aircraft, while off-duty, sewing was her passion.
Moving to Dubai in 2000 with her family, the need for protective sunwear was clear & there’s been no looking back.
With an eye for detail, her hands-on approach & skills to spot trends Maureen has designed her way into more than 87 retail outlets, 13 waterparks and 14 online platforms across the GCC, Expo 2020 Dubai licenced supplier and now Disney collaboration.
CEO and founder PLAY Enterprises, Kuwait
Monira Al-Sabah is the CEO and founder of PLAY Enterprises, the leading chain of children’s playground and family entertainment centers in Kuwait established in 2009. Today PLAY operates 5 state of the art playgrounds across Kuwait with focus on safety and quality. she is also the co-founder of Trampo Extreme, Kuwait’s first trampoline park and adventure center. Trampo operates 3 branches in Kuwait and 4 branches across the GCC (Oman, UAE and Qatar)
Monira holds Bachelors and Masters degrees from Bentley University in Massachusetts, USA. She is a member of the worldwide Entrepreneurs Organization.
Dr. Vandana Gandhi
Dr. Vandana Gandhi
CEO & Founder British Orchard Nursery (BON) UAE and UK, United Arab Emirates
“I aspire to inspire my team of women and empower them to undertake further roles for the overall development of the women, society, education and the extended economy.”
Dr. Vandana Gandhi is the CEO & Founder of British Orchard Nursery (BON) UAE and UK, the only ISO 9001, 14001, 18001 certified to latest standards nursery chain in the Middle East. Her passion for education has driven her to earn a Mathematics honors degree, Post Graduate Diploma in International Business, distinction in Masters in Education from the UK, and Doctorate (Ph.D.) on leadership and quality in education and children’s learning from the University Of Birmingham, U.K.
Founder and Owner The Camel Soap Factory, United Arab Emirates
Stevi is the founder and owner of The Camel Soap Factory. The company was started with a mission to provide beautiful local hand-crafted products to tourists into the region. The business was started in 2011 with Stevi manufacturing the soaps at home and selling into markets and fairs. The company has grown substantially since then and is now an established brand with industrial premises in Dubai Silicon Oasis. Their products are available widely across the gulf and exported to a number of countries.
Stevi has been living in the UAE since 2002 and lives in Dubai with her husband and daughter.
The Entrepreneurial Winning Women MENA class of 2018
Co-Founder and CEO Little Thinking Minds (LTM), Jordan
Rama Kayyali is co-founder and CEO of Little Thinking Minds (LTM), a leading MENA EdTech company. LTM develops digital learning platforms and resources for school-aged children to advance learning outcomes. Their flagship product I-Read-Arabic (launched in ‘16) is used by 250+ schools and 70,000 students. Rama is responsible for the management of the company leading its strategic direction, identifying new opportunities and expansion into new markets and segments. She holds a MA degree from American University, in Washington, DC. She is recipient of the Arab Women’s Award ‘16 & Jordanian Business Woman of the Year ‘17 (Bank Al Etihad). She is an Endeavor Entrepreneur and an Eisenhower Fellow.
Co-founder and CEO JUMAN para-Pharmaceuticals and Cosmetics Factory, Jordan
Rasha is an entrepreneur pharmacist with a Master’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences and many years experience in the pharmaceutical industry and in formulation. In 2009, she established JUMAN factory to provide high quality innovative and potent cosmetic and para-pharmaceutical products. JUMAN succeeded in establishing itself as a leader in the field of private label manufacturing in Jordan with strong certifications and compliance with regulations, as well as Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). Now, JUMAN exports more than 82% of its products to neighboring countries. In 2016, Rasha was awarded as Businesswoman of the Year from Bank al Etihad in Jordan. With her vision to capture the remarkable properties of the Dead Sea, the factory launched the natural JUMAN DEAD SEA line to offer a paraPharma beauty and skincare range that is now registered and sold in Europe, USA, and many other countries.
CEO and Projects Director Agon Academy, Jordan
With over 18 years of international experience in cGMP, GSDP and Quality Management Systems meeting the recent standards and global trends, dynamic consultant and trainer Yara Al Mouti has proven to be a resourceful consultant guiding and managing teams from various disciplines to achieve the best compliance status in any facility. Yara is a customer-oriented project manager who has ability to design and execute projects with the customer’s interests in mind. She has access to a network of the industry’s best experts, which allows her to achieve the best results in any project she engages in. Her extensive experience and ever-growing skills and knowledge make her an invaluable member of the Agon Academy team. Yara has a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering
Founder and CEO Women’s Crisis Care International, Bahrain
Mary-Justine Todd, an international humanitarian expert, with more than ten years of experience, has a Master’s Degree in International Public Health, from New York University, as well as a Master’s of Arts in International Studies, from the University of Iowa. She focuses on refugees, women from under-privileged communities, post conflict zones, and humanitarian disaster areas. She is the founder and CEO of Women’s Crisis Care International, the first and only violence crisis intervention program in the Middle East. She has been working in humanitarian and health programs around the world from NYC, to Sub-Saharan Africa, to the Arabian Gulf.
CEO and Founder ASAP Beauty Salon, Kuwait
Majda is Kuwaiti entrepreneur who started her own business in 2008 in the beauty industry, a field she personally loves. She started with “ASAP”, a cozy ladies beauty salon in Kuwait and transformed this into to the leading “ASAP” trademark for hair and skin care products along with the ASAP beauty center, fully equipped with the most advanced machines on clinical levels and standards, accompanied with an expert team of international specialists with accredited certificates and highest training. Being the niece of HH Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad AlJaber AlSabah, Amir of the state of Kuwait, and the wife of Deputy Chief of General Staff of the Kuwaiti Army and son of Crown Prince Lt. Gen. Sheikh Abdallah Nawaf AlSabah, Majda was the first royal woman in the GCC who broke the ice between social media society and protocols by sharing a part of her personal life along with her experience in starting a business and running it successfully, along with marriage, kids, beauty, lifestyle tips, and social awareness, which made her one of the strongest social media female influencers in the region. Majda AlSabah is now a platform of credible information, with a huge number of followers (and counting) in just 2 years.
CEO and Founder Merit Incentives, UAE
A native of France, Julie began her career as a solicitor at the Paris Bar with some of Paris and London’s leading law firms & banks, specializing in finance law. After moving to Dubai in 2010, Julie refocused her career towards entrepreneurship, launching Merit Incentive’s innovative parent B2C gifting company, MyList, in 2012. In 2016, Julie created Merit Incentives, the first company providing gifts, rewards and engagement strategies to B2B clients using innovative technologies in the MENA region (gift registry, gift cards, merchandises, employee & customer rewards with over 400 retailers & service providers across 10 countries in MENA). Julie is the winner of French Creative Entrepreneur of the Year in 2016 and has been selected as one of the Top 12 up and coming companies in the Middle East by Forbes ME in 2018. Julie is a member of various networks, including French Founders, Dubai Business Women Council and French Business Council Dubai & Northern Emirates.
Founder Abjjad, Jordan
Eman is a passionate reader and in love with books. Her passion in this field drove her to create the first Arabic social reading platform, Abjjad, which was launched in 2013. The company has received strong interest from top investors, and has grown in record time. Before establishing abjjad.com, Eman’s career was focused on information technology (6 years) and marketing research (2 years). Her last job with KPMG, in marketing research and competitive intelligence for the Arabic region. She left this role to jump “all in” into her startup.