A Dubai-based Arab-American designer turned social entrepreneur has won a chance to compete for a share of a $1 million fund and represent the region at a global finals for social entrepreneurs in San Francisco.
Sahar Wahbeh, the founder of Dumyé – Dolls With Purpose, a social enterprise which gifts a doll to an orphan for each doll purchased, was announced as the winner of the Gulf Final of The Venture, a global competition for social enterprise start-ups, on 1 February.
At the event held on the 41st floor of the Media One Hotel in Dubai, The Venture’s expert judging panel chose Dumyé among four other regional finalists on the basis of its social, ethical or environmental purpose.
Each sale of the handcrafted, eco-friendly, and personalised rag Dumyé dolls finances doll-making workshops in orphanages allowing the children an opportunity to self-reflect in a nurturing environment and express themselves through the creative process.
The company partners with a non-governmental organisation in Uttar Pradesh, India, to produce the dolls used in the art workshops.
The business model also aims to empower women in the community to become self-sufficient, with proceeds going into funding girls’ education.
Wahbeh will join 16 new social entrepreneurs from around the world at a week-long, entrepreneur’s training-camp in Silicon Valley, California, when she will have the opportunity to pitch for a portion of the $1 million in funding to take their business to the next level.
Dumyé has sold dolls in more than 14 countries around the world while its largest customer base is found across the GCC, US, England and Australia. This month (February) Dumyé will be holding its latest workshop with 200 orphans in Lebanon.
“The judges saw the diamond in the rough and how they could help me get where I need to go,” said Wahbeh after the event.
“I have a lot of preparation to do before the final to get my plan in order and I’m really looking forward to sitting down with the judges and getting more detailed feedback.”
The Venture is supported by Win the Right Way, a series of advertisements and short films that delivered a powerful provocation aiming to inspire a new generation to achieve success whilst making a positive impact on the lives of others.
It is the latest instalment of Chivas Regal’s Live with Chivalry campaign, which launched in 2008.
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