Being an entrepreneur or a small business owner in the MENA region can be challenging – especially for female entrepreneurs. As it requires a lot of hard work, networking, investments, resources, skills, and qualifications.
Studies have shown that women in MENA have the lowest rates of total Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA), at 4% of the population.
GoDaddy’s mission in the region has been to empower entrepreneurs to take their businesses online with small investments to showcase their innovation.
This article is dedicated to shedding a spotlight on some female entrepreneurs and how GoDaddy has helped them succeed in the region.
What are the benefits of being a female entrepreneur?
As I have researched, I have found that in the MENA region, many women entrepreneurs have achieved great success in various industries. Based on my research, here are three of the most common professions for female entrepreneurs in the region:
- Beauty and Skincare: I have seen that the beauty and skincare industry is thriving in the MENA region, and many female entrepreneurs have launched successful startups in this space. I have read about Rola Fayyad of Source Beauty, who has built a successful skincare and wellness brand that has gained a huge following in the region.
- E-commerce: From my research, I have learned that e-commerce is a popular field for women entrepreneurs in the MENA region, with the rise of online shopping and social media. I have come across Mona Ataya, the co-founder of Mumzworld, who has successfully navigated the e-commerce space and built a thriving business.
- Healthcare and Biopharmaceuticals: The healthcare industry is also growing in the MENA region, and many women entrepreneurs are making their mark in this space. Based on my findings, I have read about Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, the founder, and CEO of Biocon, who has built a successful biopharmaceutical company in India and is recognized as one of the most powerful women in business by Forbes.
These are just a few examples of the many professions that female entrepreneurs in the MENA region can pursue. I have learned that with hard work, determination, and support from mentors and peers, women entrepreneurs can succeed in any industry they choose and serve as role models and leaders for the next generation of business owners.
The differences between female entrepreneurs and male entrepreneurs:
When it comes to entrepreneurship, there are some differences between female and male entrepreneurs. Here are a few key differences that I have observed based on my research:
- Access to Funding: Women entrepreneurs often face more challenges when it comes to accessing venture capital and other funding sources. According to Forbes, only 2.3% of venture capital funding went to female-founded startups in 2020, highlighting the gender gap in this area.
- Industry Representation: Women entrepreneurs are more likely to start businesses in industries traditionally associated with women, such as fashion, beauty, and wellness. However, there are also many women entrepreneurs breaking into male-dominated industries and making their mark, such as Sara Blakely of Spanx, who founded her successful shapewear company in the traditionally male-dominated world of finance.
- Balancing Work and Family: Women entrepreneurs are often juggling multiple responsibilities, including running a business, raising a family, and caring for loved ones. This can make it challenging to balance work and personal life, and may require more flexibility in terms of work hours and location.
- Role Models: Women entrepreneurs may face a shortage of female role models and mentors in their industries, which can make it more difficult to find support and guidance.
However, despite these challenges, women entrepreneurs are thriving and making their mark in the business world. From Mona Ataya of Mumzworld to Rola Fayyad of Source Beauty, women-led businesses in the MENA region are breaking barriers and achieving great success. By promoting women’s entrepreneurship and supporting women’s business owners, we can empower a new generation of leaders and create a more equitable and diverse business world.
The female entrepreneurs we will talk about:
- Yara BinShakar
- Zeina Ladki
- Reham Saad
- Haya Alsharhan
Let’s learn more about them and how GoDaddy helped them build their online presence in the region:
(1) Female entrepreneur, Yara BinShakar
Yara studied fashion design when it was first introduced and was one of the first to graduate with a fashion design degree in the UAE.
Yara decided to pursue her dream as a child and start her fashion brand. As a female entrepreneur, she said the most difficult things about being an entrepreneur are:
- You are not only responsible for your own income anymore; you have your employees and their families to think about as well.
- When you are in fashion design, you do not stop, you have to keep creating, keep designing, and never stop innovating.
Yara started out selling and showcasing her products on Instagram She soon realized that she needed to have her own online store and built the Yarabinshakar.store. When she discovered GoDaddy’s E-store, she got her domain name from GoDaddy, protected her online store with an SSL certificate, and to wrap up her professional look, she got a professional email address using Microsoft365 from GoDaddy. Yara showcases her new collection on her website as well as calling people to find their own style, answers general questions about her business, and shares delivery, shipment, returns, and refund information.
Related: For more details on Yara’s story, you may read this article: Yara Bin Shakar Emirati fashion designer making her way online.
(2) Zeina Ladki
As a fashion designer in the region, it is hard to make it because of international brands and their attractiveness. Local designers usually end up working for international brands to make a living. This is what fashion consultant, Zeina Ladki and her company Fltrd are trying to change.
Zeina worked for a consulting firm but decided to quit her “9 to 5 guaranteed salary at the end of the month” of a job and start her own consulting firm to empower local designers in the region. She explains:
I always believed in regional fashion designers and talents and thought they deserve a chance.
Zeina is someone to look for when in a dire need of inspiration: she is a female entrepreneur in the region who started her fashion consultancy agency from scratch with nothing but hard work and a desire to succeed.
Zeina knew how important a website for her business is, which made her want to launch the website from day one. However, she had to do it gradually and had to get help because she was extremely busy.
This is where GoDaddy’s services came to the rescue. fltrd got the domain name from GoDaddy, her online store’s WordPress hosting, an SSL certificate to keep her store secure, and a professional email address using Microsoft 365. On the ftlrd website, Zeina showcases and sells the works of local designers under different categories and also has a “Featured Designers” section to introduce their work. In addition to having the company’s contact, terms & conditions, and refunds & returns information on the website, she also has a FAQ section answering general questions and also benefits from the newsletter signup form to keep in touch with her visitors and customers.
Related: For more details on Zeina’s success story, you may this article: Fashion consultant, Zeina Ladki supports local talents with FLTRD.me
(3) Reham Saad
Reham Saad is another female entrepreneur success story in the MENA region. Reham graduated from the archaeology department, at Cairo University and then started her career in corporate. She worked for 10 years in a multinational company in Egypt. She says:
Working in a multinational company taught me a lot, as I had the chance to interact with different people in various departments. I’ve grown both personally and professionally in my career.
Reham then decided to start Happy Helper Co., which helps small businesses create a strong brand presence and achieve their goals. Reham says, “Our process is designed to empower your brand and outfit your business with the marketing tools needed to succeed.”
Reham says, before building my website, I was looking for hosting providers online, and what I liked about GoDaddy is that it has all that my business needs in one place.” She says that her website-building journey using GoDaddy Website Builder was very easy and that she built her full site herself.
She explains, “Everything was so easy and clear, and that’s actually why I started my website through GoDaddy a few months ago.” On her website, Reham has information on the types of services she offers as well as a FAQ page, a contact page, and a reviews page that’s on the way. She also gives her visitors the chance to book time directly with her online through her website and sign up for her newsletter to keep up-to-date with her business.
Related: For more details on Reham’s success story, you may read this article. Build your brand’s success with Happy Helper Co.
(4) Haya Alsharhan
Committing to a CrossFit program is hard but building a CrossFit website is not. Ever said, “starting next week I will begin a CrossFit program and become a regular at the gym and lose the couple of kilos that are weighing me and my social life down?” We sure have all said it at one point or another. Now imagine having had two c-section births, a career, two beautiful children, a home to keep clean and tidy, and still managing to go to the gym. Add to that competing on an international level and finishing at the top a few times and building a CrossFit website to teach others how to commit! Pretty impressive, right? This is the story of Haya Alsharhan, the real-life superwoman. She’s a CrossFit coach who built a CrossFit website using GoDaddy, and we look at what inspires and influences her, her future goals, her online presence, and finally, how GoDaddy has helped her.
You can read Haya’s full story here.
To continue to coach in our gym and with our online programs. I would like to create a separate space to share my knowledge in this field through seminars, online workshops and programs.
Haya says she is happy to be partnering with GoDaddy as it will help her take her business and passion to the next level. She knows that Instagram is an excellent place to share her passion and her work, but if she wants to be taken seriously, a CrossFit website to showcase her products, services, and achievements is a must.
I am really happy to be working with GoDaddy, especially to have a supportive team that is from our region to help bring my vision and work to life.
That is why Haya built her website using the GoDaddy website builder and got her domain name from GoDaddy. She also knows how valuable her customers’ privacy is and that is why she got herself an SSL certificate to protect their data.
That’s a wrap
Setting up your small business in the traditional way can be costly, instead by setting up your site or online store your door is open 24/7 to your audience and customers to check your products and services. You can easily update your offerings in almost no cost. These female entrepreneurs have established their brands and businesses online, you can start too.
For more inspiration, you can read more success stories on our blog.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs):
Here are some answers to your frequently asked question:
Who are the most famous female entrepreneurs?
When it comes to successful female entrepreneurs in the MENA region, there are many inspiring examples to choose from. Here are three of the most famous:
- Mona Ataya: As the founder and CEO of Mumzworld, Mona Ataya has built a highly successful e-commerce platform for mothers and children in the Middle East. Mumzworld is now the largest online shopping destination for mothers in the region, and Ataya has been recognized by Forbes Middle East as one of the most powerful women in business.
- Muna Al Gurg: Muna Al Gurg is the director of retail at Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group, a family-owned conglomerate with a diverse range of businesses across the UAE. Al Gurg has also been actively involved in promoting women’s entrepreneurship in the region, serving as a board member of Dubai Women’s Association and mentoring other business owners.
These women are just a few examples of the many successful female entrepreneurs in the MENA region, and they serve as role models for women-led businesses across the world.
Who are the youngest female entrepreneurs?
There are many inspiring young female entrepreneurs who have made a name for themselves in various industries. Here are three of the youngest female entrepreneurs who have achieved notable success at a young age:
- Isabella Rose Taylor: Isabella Rose Taylor is an American fashion designer who started her own clothing line at just 12 years old. Her designs have been sold at major retailers like Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, and she has been recognized as one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in the Art & Style category.
- Mikaila Ulmer: Mikaila Ulmer is the founder of Me & the Bees Lemonade, a sustainable and socially responsible business that sells lemonade made with honey and donates a portion of its profits to bee conservation. She started her business at just 4 years old and has since been featured on Shark Tank and named one of Time Magazine’s most influential teens.
- Alina Morse: Alina Morse is the founder and CEO of Zollipops, a line of sugar-free lollipops that are also good for teeth. She came up with the idea at just 7 years old and has since grown her business to include other products and partnerships with major retailers. She has been recognized by Forbes and named one of Time Magazine’s most influential teens.
These young entrepreneurs are proof that age is just a number when it comes to entrepreneurship. With hard work, creativity, and determination, anyone can start their own successful business at any age.
Who was the most influential female entrepreneur in history?
When it comes to the most influential female entrepreneurs in history, there are many names that come to mind. However, one woman who stands out as a true trailblazer is Madam C.J. Walker.
Madam C.J. Walker, born Sarah Breedlove, was an African American entrepreneur who became the first self-made female millionaire in America. She started her business at a time when opportunities for women and people of color were extremely limited, but she persevered and eventually built a successful company selling hair care products for black women.
Walker’s business acumen and marketing savvy helped her to create a successful brand and reach a wide audience, even in the face of discrimination and segregation. She was also known for her philanthropy, using her wealth to support various social causes and empower other women entrepreneurs.
Today, Madam C.J. Walker is remembered as a pioneer and role model for women’s entrepreneurship. Her legacy continues to inspire business leaders and entrepreneurs around the world, and she has been recognized by Forbes, Oprah Winfrey, and the World Bank as one of the most successful and influential businesswomen in history.
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