Entrepreneurial Winning Women™ EMEIA Class of 2021

Representing 18 countries, employing more than 2000 people and with over US$130m in revenue, these women entrepreneurs epitomize the best across a number of sectors and are leading in a time of unprecedented change.

A presence of women entrepreneurs across EMEIA

  • Europe

    • Ayesha Shah - PI Ltd (United Kingdom)

      Photographic portrait of Ayesha Shah

      Ayesha Shah, located in the United Kingdom, graduated with a Physics degree and was always drawn to quantitative fields. Starting as a quant at Citibank, she participated in the application of mathematics to trading, then contributed to the growth of derivatives as the head of derivatives for Nomura. In 2012, her belief that artificial intelligence (AI) would transform our personal and professional lives led her to invest her savings, determination and tenacity into what she saw as an undeniable future. PredictX was founded to realize this vision by developing and marketing new AI applications to customers whose immediate endorsement enabled the company to bootstrap growth.

    • Barbara Lax - Little Green House (Switzerland)

      Photographic portrait of Barbara Lax

      Barbara Lax, located in Switzerland, holds a master’s degree in Civil Engineering and in Numerical Methods. She studied and lived in Germany, Spain and Switzerland. After some years in research, she joined Caterpillar in 2002. For 12 years, she focused on strategy, marketing and business development. In 2011, she decided to quit her corporate job and create her own company, the Little Green House, an innovative childcare group. In 2017, Barbara received the Businesswoman of the Year Award from Veuve Clicquot Switzerland. She was a nominee for the Awards at EY in 2019  and at the Swiss Economic Forum in 2016 and the Genilem selection in 2012, and her company won the IMD Start-Up Award in 2018. Barbara is married and has a daughter. She loves endurance outdoor sports and has completed two Ironman Triathlons.

    • Christina Keogh - Warner's Distillery (United Kingdom)

      Photographic portrait of Chistina Keogh

      Christina Warner-Keogh located in the United Kingdom, is a co-founder and  managing director  at Warner’s Distillery. Hailing from a potato farm in Dublin, Ireland, Tina led an early career in financial consulting in London, moving to a more extensive career in private equity fund investing across Europe and Asia. In 2012, Tina returned to her family business, Keogh’s Farm, to help build Keogh’s Crisps, now one of the leading crisp brands in Ireland. Tina then initially balanced a full-time role in private equity fundraising with assisting her husband to build what is now Warner’s Distillery.  She  officially joined the business in 2015 and helped take it from a startup to  an internationally recognized, category-leading brand and the UK’s largest independent craft gin distillery. Tina looks after the day-to-day management of the company and overall strategic direction. Warner’s is now a 56- person  team,  and  55% of management positions are occupied by women.

    • Denise van Gorp - Allegro Medical (Netherlands)

      Photographic portrait of Denise Van Gorp

      Denise van Gorp, located in the Netherlands, is co-founder and managing director of Allegro Medical. Allegro Medical is the partner of healthcare professionals in realizing innovation to contribute to futureproof, accessible and high-quality care. Denise studied Business Administration at the Erasmus University, and achieved a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Strategic Management. In 2018, she founded Allegro Medical, a project and consultancy company in the Netherlands with an absolute focus on healthcare. Allegro Medical has grown into a strongly emerging brand in the Netherlands with good references and a growing team of 20 employees.

    • Dr. Jana Volkel-Kitzmann - Management-Institut Dr. A. Kitzmann GmbH & Co. KG (Germany)

      Photographic portrait of Jana Völkel-Kitzmann

      Dr. Jana Völkel-Kitzmann, located in Germany, studied business administration in different countries, including University of Lille in France and San Francisco State University in the US. She finished her university degree at the European Business School (EBS) in Germany, then completed her doctorate at the EBS. During her PhD program, she was also at the London School of Economics and was able to obtain several awards for scientific papers at hand. Subsequently, she worked at Morgan Stanley in Frankfurt and London. Since then, she has been active as an executive partner at the Management-Institut Dr. A. Kitzmann and is representing the second family generation in this position. In 2011, she founded her own company parallel to her work, where she created a website for affordable art pieces to support young artists: www.affordableart.de She is also the author of Private Equity in Deutschland.

    • Ewa Chodakowska-Kavoukis - BeBio sp. z o.o. (Poland)

      Photographic portrait of Ewa Chodakowska

      Ewa Chodakowska, located in Poland, is a promoter of a healthy lifestyle, pioneer of fitness in Poland and a self-made businesswoman. She is co-owner and co-founder of BeBio (wellness), co-creator of Purella Superfoods (healthy snacks and natural supplements), co-creator of Be Diet Catering, co-creator of beBIO (eco cosmetics) and co-creator of Mission Swim (swimwear and homewear). In 2017, she created the first and largest subscription video on-demand fitness training platform, BeActiveTV. After 10 years in business, she embarked on a new mission — to take care of the health of children and teenagers. She produced an animated training for children and, with experts, creates free materials for PE teachers. Ewa is also involved in various social causes and projects, especially those that support women and children. She is the initiator of a campaign that supports women who experience domestic violence and #ThinkPink, supporting women fighting breast cancer. 

    • Fanny Eyraud - PSPI / Opal Health Insurance (Switzerland)

      Photographic portrait of Fanny Eyraud

      Fanny Eyraud, located in Switzerland, is the founder and CEO of PSPI, a private insurance office based in Geneva. She received a master’s in finance at Birmingham University and started her career at Goldman Sachs fixed income operations team in London in 2005. In 2008, she became key account manager at Allianz in Geneva. A few months later, she was named national top achiever at Allianz, an honor she received with mixed feelings as she realized she was the only woman among male nominees. In 2013, she decided to create a private insurance office to tackle multiple special risks insurance and build a consolidated solution to her clients: PSPI was born. The company’s 10 employees deliver tailor-made solutions and manage insurance portfolios. Fanny also initiated a women entrepreneur network in Geneva: “le cercle.” She is the mother of two young boys.

    • Floor Van rooy - Parfumado (Netherlands)

      Photographic portrait of Floor Van Rooy

      Floor van Rooy, located in the Netherlands, is the co-founder and co-CEO of the Parfumado Group with two daughter companies: Parfumado, a B2C perfume subscription service and Rocket Campaigns, a B2B data-driven targeted sampling company. The Parfumado Group is operational in the Netherlands, Belgium and the UK, and Floor runs it alongside her brother Martijn van Rooy. Floor lives in the Dutch city of Haarlem with her husband and three daughters. She studied at the University of Amsterdam, achieving a bachelor’s and master’s degree in International Tax Law. Before The Parfumado Group, she had ventures in the fast-moving consumer goods sector, gaining experience in marketing, sales and operations. She started Parfumado in 2017 — growing her team to 50 FTEs, and expanding to the UK and Belgium. After the success of Floor and Martijn’s first company, Rocket Campaigns was born in 2020.

    • Inga Lukauskiene – LINOMEDA (Lithuania)

      Inga Lukauskiene, located in Lithuania, was born in Plunge and studied Business Administration and Management at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, getting her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. While in school, Inga started a family business with her mother, and worked for 15 years as a customer support manager and designer. Feeling the growing competition from Asia and the threat of not surviving as a manufacturer, in 2007 they created LinenMe. That same year, the family went to England to start an online business for the brand. Inga completed Interior Decorator studies at KLC School of Design, London. The LinenMe brand has only been online two years but has had a presence at international exhibitions in France, the US and Germany since 2009. To establish a brand in the US market, they had a showroom in Merchandise Mart, Chicago, for three years. Inga has been running the family business since 2015.

    • Jaclyn Schnau - Pumpkin Organics (Germany)

      Photographic portrait of Jaclyn Schna

      Jaclyn Schnau, located in Germany, is a passionate advocate and speaker on healthy nutrition and working moms. She is the founder and CEO of Pumpkin Organics, a pioneer of organic, plant-centric, sustainable nutrition for babies and kids. Before starting the company in 2016, she was the CEO of Windelbar, an online baby supplies retailer, as well as the Chief Customer Officer at windeln.de. She has a broad marketing background with world-renowned brands such as Häagen Dazs and Pizza Hut. After she dug deeper into the nutrition world, a general sense of frustration about the state of baby food led her to launch Pumpkin Organics. She graduated from the University of Victoria with a bachelor’s degree in Commerce before earning her MBA at Harvard Business School where she met Florian, her husband and co-founder. Jaclyn lives in Munich with her husband and daughter Olivia, who is Pumpkin Organics’ Chief Product Officer.

    • Joana Rafael – Sensei (Portugal)

      Photographic portrait of Joana Rafael

      Joana Rafael, located in Portugal, is a co-founder at Sensei, a Lisbon-based computer vision company with a mission to make shopping seamless, pleasant and more efficient with AI-powered autonomous stores. In May 2021, Sensei opened the first autonomous store in Europe in partnership with a large European retailer. With in-depth knowledge of retail operations, Joana serves as Chief Operating Officer, responsible for operations, partnerships, people/HR and legal. She has worked and studied in the US (Boston), Germany, Italy and Portugal. She was a doctoral researcher at MIT Portugal Sustainable Energy Systems program after earning an Executive Master from the same program and a graduate certificate at Harvard University in Management and Sustainability. She graduated from Technical University of Lisbon in 2009. Sensei raised USD7 million in VC funding and the company has won several prizes and awards, including one of the “Hottest European Startups” by Wired magazine.

    • Joanne Chidley - Beauty Kitchen (United Kingdom)

      Photographic portrait of Joanne Chidley

      Jo Chidley, located in the United Kingdom, is a circular economy expert, chemist, herbal botanist and co-founder of Beauty Kitchen, which was founded in 2014 and is the highest-scoring B Corp in the UK beauty industry. Jo has set out to change the face of the beauty industry by creating the most effective, natural and sustainable beauty products in the world. Widely regarded as a pioneer of sustainable beauty, Jo is championing a Reuse Revolution through sustainable innovation by implementing cradle-to-cradle design into Beauty Kitchen’s circular approach. Jo has been instrumental in developing the world’s first closed-loop solution for beauty packaging and has powered the service behind the ground-breaking Return•Refill•Repeat program and Refill Stations. Beauty Kitchen is recognized on the UK’s 50 Most Disruptive Companies list and has won numerous industry awards. Jo also collaborates with businesses in other industries to offer a circular solution to their packaging.

    • Josefien Groot – Qlayers (Netherlands)

      Photographic portrait of Josefien Groot

      Josefien Groot, located in the Netherlands, is an enthusiastic and ambitious changemaker who is determined to improve the world through innovation in sustainability and social equality. She established and sold her first company before the age of 21: yoga leggings made from recycled plastic bottles. During her study at the TU Delft, she started Qlayers with Ruben Geutjens in August 2017. Qlayers developed a revolutionary coating head that can apply functional coatings on large surfaces and is the only company worldwide that is able to print “sharkskin” microstructures and apply them on large industrial surfaces. For this reason, Qlayers was featured in the 10 Dutch Breakthrough Technologies for 2018 by StartupDelta. As CEO of Qlayers, Josefien was awarded one of the Inspiring Fifty Netherlands 2019, FD Young Talents 2020, Elsevier Weekblad 30-under-30 talent list and EU Women Rising Innovator 2020.

    • Kuntal Fisher - FIECON (United Kingdom)

      Photographic portrait of Kuntal Fisher

      Kuntal Fisher, located in the United Kingdom, is the founder and CEO of FIECON, a health economics consultancy committed to bringing life-changing therapeutics to market. FIECON was founded out of a desire to make a difference by putting culture at the center of the vision; helping patients gain access to medicine using the power of health economics; and giving back to those in need. Over the last 5 years, FIECON has grown 40% to 100% each year, with a consistent culture score of 92% to 94%, an employee retention rate of 92%, and direct charitable donations of over a quarter of a million pounds. FIECON has built FIECON Model Builder, a tool that builds essential cost-effectiveness models for medicines in a matter of minutes and gives patients faster access to medicines. Kuntal formerly worked as a research scientist and strategy consultant with a focus on the pharmaceutical industry. 

    • Lubomira Martinova - Ayali group (Bulgaria)

      Photographic portrait of Lubomira Martinova

      Lubomira Martinova, located in Bulgaria, is the founder and managing director of AYALI GROUP Ltd., a company focused on the production and worldwide distribution of essential oils. She is a mother of two boys. Lubomira has a master’s degree in Finance and more than 10 years of experience in non-governmental organizations.

    • Luiza Carpov - Yawo Services SRL (Romania)

      Photographic portrait of Luiza Carpov

      Luiza Carpov, located in Romania, is the founder and general manager of Yawo Services Romania, a freight forwarding company providing worldwide air and ocean freight services, customs brokerage and end-to-end transportation solutions. She started her entrepreneurial journey in 2015, after five years of experience in international transports, by sharing the ownership with a former colleague. In 2016, the Yawo brand was added to the Romanian map of freight forwarders after a collaboration with Qatar Airways for an oil and gas project. Starting a business at the age of 24 with little resources or funding forced Luiza to realize that early-stage entrepreneurship was anything but transparent. So, in 2016, she opened a new company, being a sole owner. She started by developing the air freight department, launching time-critical services. Able to translate complex project requirements into transport solutions, Luiza is highly regarded in the automotive, aerospace, textile and pharmaceutical sectors. 

    • Rachel Pendered - Media Zoo (United Kingdom)

      Photographic portrait of Rachel Pendered

      Rachel Pendered, located in the United Kingdom, is a successful entrepreneur who founded Media Zoo in 2003. She has built and scaled her company from a startup production business to an award-winning global agency. Her creative hubs are home to experts that empower people through award-winning films and pioneering digital campaigns. Under Rachel’s management, the agency has won over 200 industry awards. Rachel is passionate about ensuring that every person at Media Zoo has equal opportunities to flourish. She was named the Natwest Female Entrepreneur of the Year and Management Today’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2020 and 2021. She was voted a Rising Star in the business world by LDC and in 2020, The Telegraph named her one of Britain’s Top 50 most ambitious business leaders. Rachel has held senior positions within the film industry and is dedicated to increasing the visibility of female entrepreneurship in the UK. 

    • Roisin Callaghan - Cogs & Marvel (Ireland)

      Photographic portrait of Roisin Callaghan

      Roisin Callaghan, located in Ireland, is the founder and Group CEO of Cogs & Marvel, a live and digital brand experience agency headquartered in Dublin and recognized as a certified Women-Owned Business in 2021. She has been creating meaningful global campaigns for some of the world’s biggest brands in tech, fashion and finance since the company’s founding in 2006. Identifying an opportunity for the agency’s expansion, Roisin established an in-house travel agency for Cogs & Marvel in 2015. She then moved to San Francisco a year later to open a US base, enabling her to be closer to the Silicon Valley headquarters of key clients that the agency has serviced for 15 years. Now boasting a robust client base, Cogs & Marvel is set to open its third international hub in 2021. Whether virtual, hybrid or live, Roisin is passionate about designing unique and engaging moments for global audiences.

    • Saskia Gleitsmann - Holzwerke Gleitsmann GmbH (Germany)

      Photographic portrait of Saskia Gleitsmann

      Saskia Gleitsmann, located in Germanystudied Psychology, Business Administration and Medical Economy. She took over the 110-year-old family business in the wood industry, Holzwerke Gleitsmann, as the fourth generation. Today, she serves as Chief Visionary Officer and Chairwoman of the Advisory Board, driving future projects, and is responsible for finance and strategy. In 2020, she won the Impact of Diversity award powered by FKi. In 2021, she published the book Sustainability — Women create the future. Her entrepreneurial journey started in college, where she founded a trusted community for female business students. She gained entrepreneurial experience co-building WMC Healthcare, a leading consultancy for restructuring, post-merger integration, buy-and-build strategies in the German health care sector. She stands up for a diverse leadership landscape, and supports young founders and young female successors in entrepreneurial families. She lives in Berlin with her kids and husband.

    • Sophie Schwerdtfeger - welearn GmbH (Germany)

      Photographic portrait of Sophie Schwerdtfeger

      Sophie Schwerdtfeger, located in Germany, is the co-CEO of welearn with its brands wehorse.com and wedog.com. Wehorse.com, an online riding school and wedog.com, an online dog school (launches 1 Feburary 2022) are over-the-top streaming platforms with respected trainers sharing their philosophies in learning videos to inspire, educate and help horse lovers and dog lovers. Together with her co-founder and co-CEO Christian, she acquired the publishing company that primarily sold books and DVDs. They led the company and the business model through a complete digital transformation. Before welearn, Sophie spent 10 years at Tchibo, a company specializing in coffee and non-food products, after studying business in Maastricht, Holland. For five years she was in Switzerland, building a corporate startup that invented an app-controlled capsule coffee machine and launched it in 2016.

    • Veronika Schweighart - Climedo Health GmbH (Germany)

      Photographic portrait of Veronika Schweighart

      Veronika Schweighart, located in Germanyco-founded her first software company, Nuclino, following her studies in business administration at LMU Ludwig-Maximilians-University and technology management at the Center for Digital Technology Management. Since 2017, she has been the co-founder and COO of Climedo Health, a fast-growing software company from Munich that develops cloud-based solutions for efficient clinical data capture for medical device and pharmaceutical companies. By digitalizing and automating many essential data capture processes, Climedo Health enables its clients to achieve valuable time and cost savings, as well as improved data quality and new insights about their products. Since 2020, the company has also been supporting public health offices in Germany in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic with its digital symptoms diary.

  • Middle East, India and Africa

    • Chantal Choufani - Wide Plains Insurance Brokers (Lebanon)

      Photographic portrait of Chantal Choufani

      Chantal Choufani, located in Lebanon, is an entrepreneur with extensive  proficiency in the insurance, reinsurance, claims and risk management industries for the past 30 years. She is a high-achieving and ambitious professional with local and international exposure across Africa and the Middle East. Chantal is dedicated to clients and passionate in providing clarity and education for them so they can make confident choices with their risk transfer. Such experience has allowed her to build strong relationships with key players in the international markets and create her own company with opportunities to grow.

    • Maryam Alnasiri - Lilt Fleur Flower Boutique (Kuwait)

      Photographic portrait of Maryam Alnasiri

      Maryam Alnasiri, located in Kuwait, has always been passionate for success in new challenging areas. She holds an Electrical Engineering degree with Honors from Kuwait University and an MBA with Honors GUST Kuwait. She worked in ZAIN Kuwait from 2002 to 2012 in the evolving telecom sector and was promoted to middle-management positions, technical and management positions. She resigned from ZAIN to focus on her studies and shifted career paths by opening her own flower shop as a floristry and event management business: Lily Fleur-Flower Boutique & School. Her aim is to make professional floristry services in the region, and she has opened a branch in the United Arab Emirates. She plans to expand her business further within the region through a franchise model. She is the mother of four children.

    • Micheline El Housseini Timbrell - Phi Management Group (Lebanon)

      Photographic portrait of Micheline El Housseini Timbrell

      Micheline El Housseini Timbrell, located in the United Kingdom and travels between Europe and MEA on a monthly basis; she is the founder and CEO of Phi Management Group, an MEA-European consulting firm specializing in leadership assessment, coaching and development. With more than 25 years of experience, she drives Phi Management’s vision and designs long-term strategies that create innovative assessment and development solutions to meet the latest market trends and digitalization challenges. Micheline is an executive coach for C-suite leaders as well as a systemic team coach. She helps leaders and CEOs to embrace change and to navigate through executive transformations by capitalizing and building on their leadership performance and potential. Micheline has extensive experience within the corporate sector. She has lectured at the American University of Beirut and other renowned Lebanese universities. Micheline has also been a speaker on leadership topics at conferences in Cyprus, Bahrain and Paris. She spends her time between the UK and the Middle East.

    • Mona Al Aadwy - GeoEnergy Petroleum Services (Egypt)

      Photographic portrait of Mona El Adawy

      Mona Al Adawy, located in Egypt, is the founding owner and managing director for GeoEnergy Petroleum Services company, a well-established diversified services provider to the oil and gas industry in Middle East and Africa since 2009. GeoEnergy provides integrated geoscience solutions and services to assess exploration and development opportunities, and significantly reduce exploration risks, costs and cycle time. GeoEnergy has a proven track record with providing services to more than 66 oil and gas companies in the Middle East and Africa. Mona’s areas of expertise include business management, geoscience training and consulting as well as over 18 years of experience in oil and gas data management projects. She holds a BSC in Geology and MSC in Carbonate Reservoir Characterization in Faculty of Science, Cairo University, a Global Business Diploma in Marketing from ESLSCA Business School of France and an MBA in Strategic Management from South Wales University, UK. 

    • Mona Lattouf – UserTestingArabic (Jordan)

      Photographic portrait of Mona Lattouf

      Mona Lattouf, located in Jordan, is an entrepreneur working on improving the user experience of the Arabic and English digital platforms. Mona is the founder and executive director of UserTestingArabic, a UX research and testing platform that helps businesses build products that users love. She has a demonstrated history of working in the information technology industry, skilled in UX design, user research, quality assurance, digital transformation, e-commerce optimization and digital marketing. She has a bachelor’s degree focused on Business Information System from University of Jordan. Recently, she was selected as one of the top 10 Women Entrepreneurs in the tech field in Jordan by Womenpreneure-Initiative, a Brussels-based organization. Her startup was selected also as one of the top 10 Startups by Creative Startups with the support of the Embassy of Sweden. In 2020, she was selected as one of 365 Women inspiring Arab Women by Women in Business Arabia. 

  • Russia

    • Alla Razuvaeva - ProstoCosmos

      Photographic portrait of Alla Razuvaeva

      Alla Razuvaeva, located in Russia, is the CEO of ProstoCosmos, a unique provider of aerospace experiences since 2015. The company is fully integrated into the space industry and operates in cooperation with Roscosmos. ProstoCosmos aims to develop and promote the Russian space industry, and works to create and strengthen international business and commercial partnerships in space experiences and space tourism.

    • Anastasia Lyustina – LeClick

      Photographic portrait of Anastasia Lyustina

      Anastasia Lyustina, located in Russia, is the founder and CEO at LeClick, a leading player in the Russian gastronomy market, which provides booking and automation services to bars and restaurants. LeClick integrates with Google, Yandex, TripAdvisor, and is a partner to the S7/OneWorld airline loyalty program.

    • Anastasia Postrigay – Op Pop Art

      Photographic portrait of Anastasia Postrigay

      Anastasia Postrigay located in Russia, is an art critic and founder of Op Pop Art, the largest online art history education platform. The school offers over 50 courses in art history and has more than 150,000 graduates. In 2020, Op Pop Art acquired a license to issue official diplomas of certification to its students.

    • Anastasia Yakusheva – MissX, I AM PIJAMA

      Photographic portrait of Anastasia Yakusheva

      Anastasia Yakusheva located in Russia, is the founder of two clothing brands: MissX and I AM PIJAMA. MissX specializes in stylish lingerie and nightwear. The @miss_x_underwear Instagram account has over 1 million followers. The company provides rapid delivery around Russia and abroad, offering high-quality underwear beloved by famous bloggers and fashion models.

    • Ekaterina Khaletskaya - Impact Hub Moscow

      Photographic portrait of Ekaterina Khaletskaya

      Ekaterina Khaletskaya, located in Russia, is the co-founder and CEO of Impact Hub which opened in Moscow in 2014 to search for and support social entrepreneurs. The mission of Impact Hub Moscow is to inspire, guide and unite social entrepreneurs by creating a support ecosystem for change-makers, social innovators, and sustainable development champions in Russia.

    • Galina Volkova – Orthomoda

      Photographic portrait of Galina Volkova

      Galina Volkova located in Russia, is the founder of Orthomoda, an orthopedic manufacturing enterprise. For the past 20 years this social business has grown into a digital orthopedic footwear factory, producing a wide range of products, including specialized adaptive clothing for people with disabilities.

    • Guzel Latypova – EcoSnacks

      Photographic portrait of Guzel Latypova

      Guzel Latypova, located in Russia, is the founder of EcoSnacks – a producer of fruit chips and sugar-free fruit puffs. EcoSnacks products are sold at coffee shops, healthy food stores and Azbuka Vkusa supermarkets around Russia. The company also has a strong giving back agenda, sending part of its profits to two charities, and supports low-income families and local farmers.

    • Irina Arefyeva - Macburgers

      Photographic portrait of Irina Arefyeva

      Irina Arefyeva, located in Russia, is the founder, owner and director of the Macburgers fast food chain. Founded over a decade ago, the company has grown into a successful regional fast-food chain with franchise partnerships. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, the business showed impressive financial gains. 

    • Maryana Gvozdovskaya - С4

      Photographic portrait of Maryana Gvozdovskaya

      Maryana Gvozdovskaya, located in Russia, is the founder of C4 Event Service. For 10 years in a row, C4 Event has been creating and launching inspiring, emotion-charged, and striking projects. Along the way, the company has progressed from a small boutique agency into a full-blown event marketing service. C4 today is a leading expert in the car industry event marketing in Russia, boasting a track record of projects in 25 countries worldwide.

    • Olga Dydyko - VSGROUP

      Photographic portrait of Olga Dydyko

      Olga Dydyko, located in Russia, is the founder of VSGROUP, a construction company providing large-scale industrial construction solutions since 2010. The company renders turn-key construction services, building factories in the Tula, Moscow, Krasnodar regions as well as across Siberia.

    • Olga Fler - Meet For Charity

      Photographic portrait of Olga Fler

      Olga Fler, located in Russia, is the founder and director of Meet For Charity, a social project launched in 2016. Meet For Charity is the largest charity auction in Russia, where people can bid for meetings with celebrities, business titans, media representatives, athletes, artists and politicians, with all the funds raised going to charities.

    • Tatiana Amaryan - English Preschool Discovery

      Photographic portrait of Tatiana Amaryan

      Tatiana Amaryan, located in Russia, is the founder of English Preschool Discovery, a private network of English-speaking nursery schools and clubs. Discovery ensures comprehensive development for kids in an English-speaking environment. The first school opened 10 years ago, and the total network now includes 25 branches. Offline nurseries and clubs teach around 650 children aged from one-and-a-half to 10 years old. The preschool has a headcount of 250 teachers, including native speakers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Discovery went online.

    • Yuliana Nikolaeva – Nattys®

      Photographic portrait of Yuliana Nikolaeva

      Yuliana Nikolaeva, located in Russia, is the CEO of the Natural Nutty Food Company founded in 2016. The company is a manufacturer of peanut butter and nut pastes with organic ingredients and an authentic taste. The company offers over 30 unique and popular nut pastes. Nattys® products are sold nationwide.

  • South Africa

    • Asanda Gcoyi - Frontline Africa Advisory

      Photographic portrait of Asanda Gcoyi

      Asanda Gcoyi is the co-founder of Frontline Africa Advisory, a public policy and stakeholder relations consultancy in South Africa. She is also on secondment as CEO of the Vapour Products Association of South Africa (VPASA), an industry body that represents manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers of electronic nicotine delivery systems and is tasked with ensuring that the vaping industry is regulated based on scientific evidence.

    • Charlaine Baartjes – EcoPartners

      Photographic portrait of Charlaine Baartjes

      Charlaine Baartjes is a successful business owner, manager and growth leader who started EcoPartners and has been the managing partner since 2005. She has extensive sustainability consulting experience in the mining, waste, oil and lubrication, construction, bulk infrastructure, manufacturing, and land development industries. Having applied 25 years of resilience thinking in the Sustainability sector, Charlaine has worked in the fields of governance, environmental science, stakeholder engagement and business. She has a double masters, one in Business (MBA) and one in Science (MSc). During the past 16 years, she has completed more than 1,000 projects, some requiring multiple governmental authorizations. She navigates rapidly changing environments by guiding teams toward effective implementation of an agreed purpose. Her aim is to guide business toward true sustainability and resilience solutions, including environmental legal authorization applications, due diligence, resource economics, industrial analysis and strategies to market research. 

    • Dulcy Rakumakoe

      Photographic portrait of Dulcy Rakumakoe

      Dulcy Rakumakoe is a social entrepreneur with a passion for providing health care and wellness solutions for low- and middle-income communities in South Africa. She is also the 2016 Social Entrepreneurship Regional Business Achiever award winner for Business Women’s Association, Queer Warrior 2020, Santam Woman Of The Future 2020 winner and 2020 Role Model of the Year Feather Awards Winner. She founded U-Care Medical Centres 2013 after being a general practitioner for 11 years. This company evolved in 2019 to become quadcare, which is now a network of 10 medical centers across Gauteng. In December 2019, she co-founded Queerwell, an non-profit organization that provides access to mental health services for the LGBTIAQ+ community. She holds an MBBCH degree from Wits University, a Diploma in Occupational Health, a Diploma in HIV Management, Travel Medicine Diploma, Master’s of Science in Sports Medicine and a Master’s in Business Administration Degree from GIBS.

    • Kabwe Mulolo-Gondo - Construct Executive Search (Pty) Ltd

      Photographic portrait of Kabwe Mulolo

      Kabwe Mulolo-Gondo is an entrepreneur and business owner managing a professional services company in a sector that is male-dominated and very competitive. Kabwe is the founder and owner of Construct Executive Search (CES), a niche executive search recruitment agency with a global presence. CES currently has a national and African footprint in two countries (i.e., its head office in South Africa and Lusaka, Zambia). She is a Pan African multi-award winner, and a Business Mentor for Allan Gray Orbis Foundation as well as the Mentorship Challenge helping young start-up entrepreneurs shape business ideas and businesses to be sustainable in our current economy and also to withstand the storms in managing a business as a start-up entrepreneur. She is also sharing her life experience and shaping the future of Southern African entrepreneurs on current entrepreneur trends that will have a lasting impact on the socio-economic future of her country. 

    • Kelebogile Makhafola - Maruapula Brand

      Photographic portrait of Kelebogile Makhafola

      Kelebogile Makhafola is a brand strategist and founder of Maruapula Brand, an integrated brand strategy consultancy that curates impactful and shared brand experiences while helping clients shape conversations that matter. She is an award-winning businesswoman with an academic history including a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts from WITS University, a Bachelor of Arts Honors degree in Strategic Brand Leadership, and is currently a WITS Business School MBA candidate. She is also a 2019 Mandela Washington Fellow and an author. Her 11 years of experience in creative and strategic spaces have her leading brand design and development projects in global regions, working with a dynamic selection of clients, helping them build effective communication and brand positioning tools that set them apart. Her leadership in global brand projects affords her clients seasoned insights and frameworks that expand their competitive edge. 

    • Megan Willson - 360 Degrees Production House

      Photographic portrait of Megan Willson

      Megan Willson is a multidisciplined live event designer, theater, audio-visual, musical and television practitioner, with over 30 years of experience as a writer, lecturer, director and producer. She is an independent theater director and the CEO and creative director of 360 Degrees Production House. Megan leads multiple teams of highly skilled event producers, support staff and external partners who provide turnkey solutions for the event industry. Her skill set includes live conferencing, awards and launches, online conferencing and awards, webcasts, webinars and online communications. Her company was ranked in the top 5 experiential agencies globally in the Radar™ Survey. Alongside her 360 Degrees commitments, Megan remains passionate about story, narrative, theater and the continued development of the performing arts in South Africa.

    • Michélle Booysen - Pétanque NXT Group

      Dr. Michélle Booysen is founder, co-owner and president of the Pétanque NXT Group. She is an economist with more than 30 years of experience in business development and strategy design and implementation. Her focus is on simplifying complex business matters through image-rich storyboarding, user-friendly techniques and tools, and Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies to help all role players support business goals. With a degree in law and three post-graduate qualifications in economics, she is multi-skilled in process management, project management and enterprise development. She has led and grown the business from a two-person, woman-owned consultancy to a three-company group (two in South Africa and one in Europe) that continues to invest in 25-plus employees and contractors and woman-owned vendors. Michélle has guided the business to reposition itself locally and internationally, adding niche services and products to the traditional portfolio of service. 

    • Michele Carelse - Feelgood Health/Natural Wholesalers

      Photographic portrait of Michele Carelse

      Michele Carelse is the founder and CEO of Feelgood Health, a distributor of natural, organic and plant-based health and lifestyle products. Michele is a clinical psychologist with a special interest in natural medicine. In 1999, she founded Feelgood Health, an online store focusing on natural health and wellness. Feelgood Health grew to become one of the leading online health and wellness stores in South Africa. Due to growing demand from the business sector, a B2B division called Natural Wholesalers was founded in 2019, offering a wholesale distribution service to health shops, pharmacies, vet shops and other retail outlets. The company has a strong emphasis on new brand development. Having launched their flagship brands, Feelgood Health and Feelgood Pets, new brands followed suit, with many more in the pipeline. In 2021, the company received venture capital investment from Enygma Ventures LLC and is firmly set on a steep growth trajectory. 

    • Sasha Knott - Job Crystal

      Photographic portrait of Sasha Knott

      Sasha Knott, the managing director of Job Crystal, started her career in IT and found her passion combining entrepreneurship with technology that works for the customer and often disrupts industries. Sasha holds a Bachelor of Commerce Honors in Business Management (Cum Laude). Sasha has started a few businesses, and her current plan is to make job seekers’ lives easier while helping subject-matter experts find talent fast and effortlessly. Job Crystal’s new system, Crystal, combines AI, machine learning and UX functionality to help SMEs looking for talent. Sasha’s entrepreneurial spirit is matched only by her philanthropic approach. While focusing on developing those around her, Sasha’s charity work has included supporting TapeAid and she is now Chair of the Kay Mason Foundation. When she’s not living her company mantra to be entrepreneurial, purposeful, determined, customer-centric, effective and disruptive, she spends quality time in Cape Town with her husband and two children.

    • Suchitha Gajathar - The Vegan Chef

      Photographic portrait of Sue Gajathar

      Sue Gajathar wanted to change the world one meal at a time. Three years ago, she tried the global initiative Veganuary, a month dedicated to going vegan, and her life changed. Growing up in a small town, she was raised by her mother, an entrepreneur. She completed a BCom degree at the University of KwaZulu-Natalthen relocated to Johannesburg. She worked as an expatriate tax specialist. After completing Veganuary, she researched the benefits of a vegan lifestyle, and developed gourmet food for her family. This ignited the passion to share her experience and she opened a vegan food cart. She left the corporate world and joined The Vegan Chef on a full-time basis. She expanded the brand, opened a manufacturing facility and started the first vegan food chain in South Africa. The focus at The Vegan Chef is on customers’ well-being, the environment and animal welfare. 

    • Tammy Frazer - Frazer Parfum

      Photographic portrait of Tammy Frazer

      Tammy Frazer is the creative force behind Frazer Parfum, the first plant-based and natural beauty online business  in Africa. Guided by a belief that each person walks a unique path to wholeness, she creates scents that feel like a sanctuary outside of the everyday and designs innovative products that blend global wellness philosophies with state-of-the-art rituals and practices.

    • Vanessa Beyers - The Source PR & Event Management

      Photographic portrait of Vanessa Beyers

      Vanessa Beyers is a dynamic and entrepreneurial South African businesswoman who is passionate about personal growth, business excellence and inspired leadership. With a background in travel, tourism and public relations, she launched The Source PR & Event Management in 2001, a vibrant business staffed by a team of dedicated professionals. The Source PR & Event Management is committed to forging strong client relationships and delivering outstanding client service. Her background in Meetings, Incentives, Conference, Events and Exhibition (MICE) and travel and tourism has equipped her with a diverse skills base and an ability to understand clients’ needs. The Source has over 50 years of combined experience in the MICE arena and has evolved, expanded and adapted to changing markets. As the company has grown, the service offering has advanced to include virtual, hybrid and onsite products and expertise.

  • Turkey

    • Ayse Tasli - ATC Mateks

      Photographic portrait of Ayfe Taslì

      Ayse Tasli is the founder of Mateks Makina A.S., a worldwide leader in the supply of spare parts for off-highway transmissions and torque converters. She was born in Unye-Ordu, graduated from the Mathematics Department of Samsun University and continued her career in Ankara. Since the first days of the company, which she established with her mechanical engineer husband, she has been taking responsibility in various positions from Business Development to Finance & Accounting. While China and Canada are the main markets, Mateks Makina A.S. exports its products to more than 60 different countries under its brand name ATC Mateks through an extensive authorized distributor network. After the loss of her husband two years ago, Ayse continues to manage the company with her son and her daughter. She has active roles in Ankara Chamber of Industry Women Entrepreneurs Board, We Connect International, ISIM Business and Construction Machinery Cluster.

    • Bahar Samhili Tanju – Gurvita

      Photographic portrait of Bahar ₧amhili Tanju

      Bahar Samhili Tanju, located in Turkey, was born in Istanbul and studied Business Administration. She worked as a general manager- executive board member at Sabah Newspaper/ATV TV and managed sales and marketing activities through the years. She also took an active role in professional associations and various organizations. For a disease she had, her doctors suggested marrow bone broth to support her treatment. The results led her to be a food producer entrepreneur and she established Faydali Mamuller Gida A.S. (Gurvita). In the Turkish market, artisanal fresh bone broths created an innovative category in the food industry. The company regularly contributes to small producers by incorporating geographically marked products from women’s cooperatives from all over Turkey and valuable raw materials in the countryside into its production. Bahar, who likes to take long forest walks with her family, grows her own vegetables and fruits and uses them in production.

    • Bahar Sunman - Tria Tech Tıbbi Sistemler

      Photographic portrait of Bahar Sunman

      Bahar Sunman, located in Turkey, received her degree at Istanbul Technical University, then worked in medical electronics. She has been the CEO of Tria Tech Tibbi Sistemler since 2015, which is also the manufacturer of STOCKART® Automated Medication and Supply Management Systems, a process management solution oriented toward patient safety and cost control, starting with the delivery of medication and medical supplies to the hospital and ending with their use for patients. She worked as a Bakirkoy Municipality Council Member and Deputy Mayor and was a founder of BAKSEV Foundation. She has taken a role in NGOs such as the Women Entrepreneurs Association KAGIDER, Consumers Association TUDER and Istinye Rotary Club. Interested in motor sports, competes as a co-pilot in National, Historical and Classic Rally races and has won numerous awards. In 2016, she was appointed Board Member of the Turkish Football Foundation and General Secretary of the Classic Automobile Club.

    • Gokce Yıldırım Kalkan – Simsoft

      Photographic portrait of Gökçe Yìldìrìm Kalkan

      Gokce Yildirim Kalkan, located in Turkey, received her bachelor’s degree from the Department of Computer Engineering at Middle East Technical University. To strengthen her experience in 3D computer graphics with theory, she obtained her MS and Ph.D. degrees at the same department. Between 2002 and 2006, she took part in training simulator projects at Meteksan Sistem as a software engineer. In 2006, she took part in the establishment of Simsoft, which operates in simulator systems, games and simulation, visual systems, defense, aviation, and space. Simsoft has been one of the fastest-growing IT companies in Turkey and the EMEA region. Gokce has been the general manager of Simsoft since 2006 and the manager of the Visual Systems Group in Simsoft. She has played an essential role in Simsoft’s success, with a strong commitment to compliance with ethical values and continuous improvement in the pursuit of advanced technologies. 

    • Gulesin Atalay - Mutlu Metal

      Photographic portrait of Gulesin Atalay

      Gulesin Atalay, located in Turkey, completed her faculty of education of French and English at Gazi University and started her professional life in Mutlu Metal A.S. She worked in the export-import, customer relations, purchasing, procurement, quality management systems, human resources and finance departments. In 2018, she became project leader of Mutlu’s corporate governance program Anka. She works in strategical planning, restructuring and business development issues, prioritizing the structuring of the company for the future by preserving the roots and accumulation of the company from the past. In March 2019, she was elected TOBB/Torbali Women Entrepreneurs Chairman and became a TOBB/Izmir Women Entrepreneurs Executive Board Member. She is a mentor in the export-oriented EIB Export-Up Mentoring Program for Women and Young Entrepreneurs. She is a mother of three.

    • Gulsah Gurkan Bardak - Gulsha

      Photographic portrait of Gulfah Gurkan

      Gulsah Gurkan Bardak, located in Turkey, graduated from Cheltenham College and Leeds University as a mechanical engineer. After working in the consulting and retail sectors, she started working in the family business in 2000. The story of gulsha starts with rosa damascena, a delicate rose type that is indigenous to Isparta region in Turkey. Since 1965, the Gurkan family has been involved with the rose, supplying the world’s most recognized cosmetic brands with raw materials of rose essences. As the third generation representative of the family, Gulsah decided to translate this deep knowledge into a series of exclusive skincare products and established the gulsha brand in 2011. Collaborating with the very best French skincare experts, Gulsah worked on unique formulations from scratch. The skincare regimen contains active ingredients of rosa damascena essential oil in its purest form to enhance well-being and beauty. 

    • Melis Akcan - Le Petit Food

      Photographic portrait of Melis Akcan

      Melis Akcan, located in Turkey, graduated from Koc University International Relations Department and started her career in Esom Gida, where she was the co-founder, in 2016, as a Business Development Director. At the same time, as the company’s Quality Control Management Representative, she ensured that the food safety management systems were implemented in the production flows and ensured that Esom Gida had a production flow based on international quality assurance certifications. Believing that a sustainable future is the intersection of financial, social and environmental values, Melis focuses on the domestic production economy in the food sector and on women’s employment to create social benefit. She aims to contribute to the social development of the country with the employment of women it creates. Esom Gida continues to develop the product portfolio of its Le Petit Food and Elden brands and expand its volume in offline and online fast-moving consumer goods sales channels.

    • Nazmiye Sabuncuoglu Arslanturk - Nanu Bedtime

      Photographic portrait of Nazmiye Sabuncuoglu

      Nazmiye Sabuncuoglu Arslanturk, located in Turkeygraduated from Tarsus American College and Istanbul University in the Department of Advertising and served leading brands in customer relations departments of famous advertising agencies. She served as assistant general manager at a concept advertising agency, of which she was also a partner. She ended that career in 2013 and started to work on the Nanu Bedtime brand, which focuses on products and services that provide quality sleep for babies and children up to age 14. She opened the first retail store in Gokturk in June 2016. The brand’s first overseas market was Dubai, and the first European Nanu store opened in Vienna in 2019. She has been a member of  the Women Entrepreneurs Association KAGIDER since 2006. Her dream is to make the Nanu brand known globally. In addition to designing Nanu products, her passions are painting and sculpture.

    • Ozge Yucesoy - Glories Chocolate

      Photographic portrait of Özge Yücesoy

      Ozge Yucesoy, located in Turkey, is the co-founder of Glories Chocolate. She graduated from TED Zonguldak College and studied food engineering at Istanbul Technical University. She started her career in the food export and import field and traveled to many countries and continents. As a chocolate lover, she was inspired by chocolateries around the world and decided to create her innovative, healthy chocolate brand. She produced high-quality chocolates in Turkey that don’t exist in the market. Glories is the pioneer brand of vegan and no-added-sugar chocolates in its market and competes with global brands. Glories adds value to chocolate market by highlighting special Turkish tastes and has functional chocolates such as high-protein chocolate, and chocolate with vitamins C and D and calcium. With R&D power, Ozge continues to add value to her brand. Her goal is to have chocolate shops in different countries.

    • Sukruye Ozbilen - Egglin Gıda

      Photographic portrait of Şükrüye Özbilen

      Sukruye Ozbilen, located in Turkey, is the co-founder and CEO of Egglin Gida. She worked in the Health Ministry between 2009 and 2015, then resigned from public service and did medical consulting. She started the eggshell recycling project in 2017 thanks to her interest in reading, researching, solving cause-process-effect relationships and recycling. Before establishing the company, she worked about six months in a liquid egg factory in Bandirma and produced raw material samples. After successful results, she co-founded Egglin Gida in 2018 with her mother, Sevgi Tekin, promoting sustainability and recycling. Egglin Gida produces eggshell powder and egg membrane powder by taking the eggshell, which is the waste of liquid egg factories in Turkey. Their research, development and product development studies continue in the field of functional food. Sukruye is married and has two children. 

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