By Tamara Pupic
The Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC) commends female entrepreneurs at a high profile event celebrating the first year of its Ro’Ya programme.
The Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC) has announced the winners of Ro’Ya programme, an initiative to promote female entrepreneurship in the UAE, at a gala dinner Dubai.
During the event held at the Waldorf Astoria, Palm Jumeirah, three shortlisted finalists presented their ideas to a panel of judges with Nadia Wehbe, founder of Baby Arabia, an Arabic-language school for pre-schoolers, winning the top prize of AED 183,650 (USD 50,000).
Out of 72 applicants of the first Ro’Ya programme, a year-long female entrepreneurship programme developed in cooperation between DBWC and Master Card, Isabelle Millasseau, founder of Foot Up, came in at the second place while the third prize was awarded to Alexis Martin, founder of Petit Gourmet.
The first and second runners-up received cash prizes of AED 110,191 (USD 30,000) and AED 73,461 (USD 20,000) respectively while the five other finalists were awarded a prize of USD 5,000 each for their strong business ideas.
As part of the programme, all three winners will continue to receive coaching and mentorship from MasterCard in order to get their businesses off the ground.
Raja Al Gurg, president of Dubai Business Women Council, which was established in 2002 under the umbrella of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “The Ro’Ya Gala Dinner was the most anticipated date in my diary this year as it marked the occasion of announcing the first winners of an initiative so close to my heart.
“Witnessing the finalists’ enthusiasm during their final presentations in front of the live audience and judges was truly an honour and I commend these ladies for their courage and perseverance for coming this far.
“We now know who the Ro’Ya 2014 winners are, however we want to see all 72 applicants continue their journey with us as we will endeavour to support and guide them to unleash their full potential.”
Launched this year, the Ro’Ya programme offers training workshops and seminars addressing the fundamental components of a business plan as well as coaching and mentorship to aspiring female entrepreneurs.
“With women around the world continuing to play a more active role in driving the economy, we are quickly becoming a force to reckon with. But most importantly, the success of women will inevitably spur economic success on a larger scale – for everyone,” added Martina Hund-Mejean, chief financial officer at MasterCard.
The second year of Ro’Ya will kick off in January 2015, and interested female entrepreneurs are advised to visit www.dbwc.ae for more information.