Visa and Commercial International Bank announce the names of the winners of the first edition of Visa She’s Next in Egypt

– The announcement of the five winners of the She’s Next initiative during the awards ceremony that took place today

Each winning female entrepreneur who owns small businesses in Egypt will receive a stipend of $10,000 in addition to a one-year apprenticeship from IFundWomen.

– An independent jury selected the five winners after a screening process of more than 150 applications submitted by Egyptian women entrepreneurs across a wide range of sectors from textiles, education, food and beverage, to professional services, beauty and health

Visa, the global leader in digital payments, announced the names of the winners of the She’s Next Grant Program, during a ceremony held by the company to distribute the initiative’s awards in its first edition in Egypt, in partnership with the Commercial International Bank and the United States Agency for International Development. As part of this initiative, five Egyptian women entrepreneurs will receive a financial grant of $10,000 each, in addition to participating in a training and career guidance program provided by IFundWomen to enable them to expand their companies, in addition to the opportunities provided by the program for media exposure and the formation of a network of professional relationships important to develop their businesses. .

The award ceremony witnessed the presence of Malak Al Baba, the regional director of Visa in Egypt, as well as a group of Egyptian thought, economic and business leaders.

The five winners were chosen after a screening process of more than 150 applications submitted by Egyptian women entrepreneurs across a wide range of sectors from textiles, education and food and beverage to professional services, beauty and wellness. The selection of the winners was based on several criteria, including the development of their entrepreneurial career; the strength and efficacy of their works; their digital presence and their ability to solve problems.

The judging panel included Malak Al-Baba, General Manager of Visa in Egypt; Hani El-Deeb, Head of SME Credit Sectors, Products and Relationships, Commercial International Bank; and Amr El Khouly; Director of Corporate Product Development at CIB; Leslie Reid, USAID Country Director for Egypt; and Abeer Shakweer, Assistant Resident Representative for Inclusive Development and Innovation at the United Nations Development Program in Egypt.

By participating in the programme, all women entrepreneurs gained access to practical insights from leading women in the public and private sectors, as well as providing them with valuable tools and educational resources, including Visa’s Business Skills Program, that they need to grow and develop their businesses.

On this occasion, Laila Sarhan, Regional Director of Visa and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors to lead the company’s business in North Africa, Levant and Pakistan, said: “In a world where companies are facing the continuing repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic on top of the current inflation, women-run projects continue to prove their resiliency. facing these obstacles, promising a promising future for their businesses.”

She added, “Visa believes in the efforts and dedication of women entrepreneurs in their projects and contribute to the development of our societies. We are proud to support and highlight this group of women entrepreneurs through the She’s Next initiative, which we are launching for the first time in the Arab Republic of Egypt. From the stereotypes about the nature of the fields of projects run by women, they have also revealed the capabilities to develop their businesses and take them to unprecedented heights.We at Visa extend our warmest congratulations to the five winners and look forward to supporting them through these awards and training grants to continue to work and prosper during these unprecedented circumstances “.

Leslie Reed, USAID Mission Director in Egypt, emphasized the importance of She’s Next, explaining that, “Despite our progress, women’s salaries and career development opportunities are still lower than those of their male peers. The path to entrepreneurship is challenging and admirable and, as the Visa poll showed, requires a lot of courage.” She added, “The figures in Egypt show that the challenge is even greater, as women’s participation in the early stages of entrepreneurship is only 24%, and drops to 15% when it comes to managing an already existing business. For this reason, it is important that we support women entrepreneurs and act together through initiatives like She’s Next to change these stats.” Emphasizing once again that “we believe that empowering women is related to human rights, sustainable development and providing economic opportunities for all.”

Meanwhile, Sherif Samy, President of the Commercial International Bank, explained: “We at the Commercial International Bank, which is the largest bank in the private sector in Egypt, seek to support many sectors, the first of which is small and medium enterprises, and support women entrepreneurs, and this is what the She’s Next initiative works. This is in recognition of the challenge faced by small businesses in particular. The CIB has also dedicated an arm to it to focus on emerging and small businesses. Most importantly, empowering women as a mainstay of the driving forces for entrepreneurship in Egypt.”

He added, “Banks are now encouraged to take steps in the area of ​​environmental and social governance and sustainable banking practices. This includes the initiatives we provide for women entrepreneurs, which CIB voluntarily launched to start this journey three or five years ago. We took the initiative to sign the United Nations Declaration for responsible banking practices and other commitments that ensure that our management takes these considerations seriously.”

The five winners of the She’s Next initiative for 2022:

1. Egypt, Cairo: Maryam Al-Masry, project name: “Greenhouse”

2. Egypt, Cairo: Heba Abu El-Eid, project name: “The Mommy Club”

3. Egypt, Cairo: Rania Salah, project name: “GebRaa”

4. Egypt, Cairo: Samira Negm, Project Name: “Raye7”

5. Egypt, Cairo: Mariam Nizar and Laila Hassaballah, Project name: “Bellies En Route”

It is noteworthy that two of the five winners will participate in a virtual event that will be organized by Visa and Forbes Middle East under the title “She’s Next Initiative Highlights Women Entrepreneurs in the Middle East”. The event will feature a group of female entrepreneurs from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Morocco to talk about their strategies and proposals to bridge the gender gap and enhance efforts to empower women.

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