Mastercard Celebrates Women Entrepreneurs at EEMEA Women SME Leaders Awards 2024

Aiden Kiprop
By Aiden Kiprop 3 Min Read

Mastercard has announced the winners of its third annual Women SME Leaders Awards, recognizing outstanding female entrepreneurs across the Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (EEMEA) region.

The ceremony, held at Bluewaters Forum by Banyan Tree Dubai, marked the first in-person event since the awards’ inception in 2022.

The awards, which are the first of their kind in the region, celebrate the achievements of women-owned and led businesses with a turnover under US$13.6 million (AED50 million) and 6-50 employees. This year’s winners represent diverse sectors and include:

  • The Creative Leader: Fay Wong, Director and Partner, BID (UAE)
  • The F&B Leader: Laura Kaziukoniene, Founder and CEO, Super Garden (Lithuania)
  • The Visionary: Hanane Benkhalouk, Founder, Tawazoun (UAE)
  • The Leader of Tomorrow: Reem AlMusabbah, co-founder, Unipreneur Inc, and Head of Community Engagement and Membership, Women in AI UAE Technology (UAE)
  • The Health Custodian: Chelsea Hornby, Founder, Elle International (South Africa)
  • The Innovator: Farah Zafar, Co-founder and CEO, Lyvely (UAE)
  • The Retailer: Pamela Lilburne Opie, Founder and CEO, Linen Obsession Textile Trading (UAE)
  • The Educator: Jessy Radwan, Founder and CEO, Carerha (Egypt)
  • The Professional Services Leader: Yuliia Fedosiuk, CEO, UAPAY (Ukraine)
  • The Fashion & Beauty Leader: Leda Di Marti, CEO, Maelle Group (UAE)
  • The Media Leader: Jacqueline Lawrence, Highlands FM Radio (Tanzania)
  • The Social Impact Leader: İpek Koç Kıraç, Suna’nın Kızları (Turkey)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr Smita Francis, Founder and Chair, Namibia Women in Engineering Association (Namibia)
  • Home-Based Business of the Year: Alicia English, Executive Director, The Olive Exchange (South Africa)
  • Momrepreneur of the Year: Farah Ahmed Farag, Founder and CEO, The baby garage (Egypt)

“At Mastercard, we believe supporting women entrepreneurs not only strengthens the economy but also empowers them to address real societal needs,” said Amnah Ajmal, Executive Vice President, Market Development, EEMEA, Mastercard. “This initiative is crucial to our commitment to creating an environment where women can thrive as business leaders.”

The award ceremony featured insightful panel discussions with prominent industry leaders including Aleksandra Agatowska, CEO, PZU and Co-founder, LUU Kids, Ola Doudin, Co-founder, BitOasis, and Alya Al Zarouni, COO, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

Fadi Ghandour, Chairman, Wamda Capital and Founder of Aramex, also shared his valuable insights on the importance of perseverance for entrepreneurs.

The Women SME Leaders Awards aligns with Mastercard’s global pledge to connect 25 million women entrepreneurs to the digital economy by 2025, a goal achieved in June 2023.

The awards highlight Mastercard’s dedication to fostering an inclusive and sustainable future for women in business.

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