Mastercard recently held the virtual ceremony for the second edition of the Women SME Leaders Awards, where it honoured the accomplishments of women-led businesses across various industries in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
The awards, launched in collaboration with Entrepreneur Middle East in 2022, represent the first initiative of its kind in the region, recognizing and celebrating women-owned and run SMEs that are shaping the future.
Amnah Ajmal, Executive Vice President of Market Development, Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa at Mastercard, expressed her delight at the success of the awards.
She commended the diverse range of entries and the impressive contributions of the winners, emphasizing their commitment to the success of SMEs and their vital role in the Women SME Leaders Awards 2023.
This year’s awards received an overwhelming response, with 4,547 submissions from businesses with a turnover of under US$13.6 million (AED50 million) and employing between six to 50 individuals.
Female individuals and businesses operating in the Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EEMEA) region were eligible to participate in the 22 award categories, including The Designer, The Logistician, The Retailer, The Educator, and The Investor.
Other categories such as The F&B Leader, The Real Estate Leader, The Health Custodian, The Executive, The Leader of Tomorrow, The Leader in Agriculture, and The Visionary were also included.
The winners, hailing from countries such as the UAE, South Africa, Kuwait, Botswana, Bahrain, Azerbaijan, Nigeria, Kenya, and Morocco, were recognized for their significant contributions to the economy, value chains, and digital economy.
Among the esteemed winners were Marcela Sancho Montoya, Founder of House of Pops; Rim Guirari, CEO of Mustard and Linen Interior Designer; Marloes Knippenberg, CEO of Kerten Hospitality; Meher Mirchandani, Managing Director of Palmon Group FZCO; Kim Thompson, Founder and Managing Director of Raw Coffee Company, and others.
The judging committee for the Women SME Leaders Awards 2023 consisted of prominent figures such as Amnah Ajmal, Tamara Pupic (Managing Editor of Entrepreneur Middle East), and Nezha Alaoui (Founder and CEO of Women Choice).
These awards align with Mastercard’s global commitment to empowering 25 million women entrepreneurs by 2025, facilitating their connection to the digital economy and contributing to the creation of a more sustainable and inclusive world.