GITEX GLOBAL 2022, the world’s largest tech and start-up event, shone a spotlight on some of the world’s most innovative female tech entrepreneurs. Throughout the week, female-led start-ups raised new funding while women business leaders explored the use of emerging technologies to close the female start-up funding gap.
Female-led online hijab company bags $25,000 at TiE Women Pitch competition
The Dubai Chapter of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE Dubai) hosted the MENA finals of the TiE Women pitch competition at North Star Dubai, part of GITEX GLOBAL, to further empower female entrepreneurs. Alizar Tawil, the founder of online hijab clothing company, Ruuq, won the competition and received US$25,000 in equity-free cash from e& capital — the investment pillar of e&. Runner-up Hafsa Qadeer, the founder of ImInclusive, a digital hub designed to connect people of determination to inclusive jobs, received $10,000 from NB Ventures. This year’s MENA regional competitions saw over 200 applications from women-led businesses from 15 countries.
All five MENA finalists had the opportunity to participate in investor meetings with e& capital and Wamda as well as access to the GITEX Investor Lounge at North Star and will receive subsidized business license setup at Dubai-based tech hub in5.
Ashish Panjabi, President of TiE Dubai, hoped that the competition set a precedent for more events to highlight the outstanding women-led enterprises in the region.
Sharjah Business Women Council continues support for female entrepreneurship
The Sharjah Business Women Council (SBWC) continued its support for women entrepreneurs at North Star Dubai 2022, the world’s largest start-up event. SBWC has been the official partner for the “Women in Tech” category for North Star for the past five years and sponsored the $10,000 prize for the best female-led start-up.
Innovations by eight of SBWC’s innovative members attracted global companies, suppliers and investors, who explored partnership opportunities to drive forward their projects to new levels of success. Additionally, the selected members participated in the “Supernova Challenge”, a US$200,000 pitch competition organised in cooperation with the world’s third-largest fund for financing SMEs.
Bahrain’s Playbook, a network platform for women, won the SBWC-backed Supernova Challenger Fast Female Founder Award. Founder and CEO Wafa Alobaidat said, “Winning this award means so much to us because it sets an example for women that shows it is possible to build a tech company, raise investment and grow. Tech is a boys’ club. So, thriving in this space is a privilege and honour. Our next steps are scaling, scaling and scaling.”
Closing the female funding gap through AI & Web3
The first-ever Global DevSlam saw the launch of a global community-based investment club that aims to fund female-led projects focusing on the environment. Thousand Faces is a Decentralised Autonomous Organization (DAO) impact fund that uses eco-friendly NFTs to invest in four major areas, including female founders, educational programs in Web3, green initiatives such as carbon offsets and conservation projects and non-profit organisations.
Full female founder teams receive only 2.2% of worldwide VC funds; new technologies such as AI, Web3 and DAOs can open doors to more diverse groups and create inclusive, collaborative platforms for communities.
Speaking at the launch, Moojan Asghari, Founder and CEO of Thousand Faces, said, “We are releasing 1,000 NFTs from our bank of 10,000 NFTs today and we are inviting applications. Any project and early-stage start-up anywhere in the world initiated by a female founder or a strong ESG impact can apply.”