Nominations for Mastercard Women SME Leaders Awards 2022 Now Open


Women-owned and run businesses have been at the forefront when it comes to tapping the power of the digital economy. Mastercard has now opened nominations to award entrepreneurial women in various fields to recognize and further empower women-owned and run SMEs in the Middle East and Africa.

The awards stemmed out of the inaugural Mastercard SME Confidence Index conducted in 2021 which revealed that 81% of women entrepreneurs in the Middle East and Africa have a digital presence for their businesses, compared to 68% of their male counterparts. In terms of the digital footprint of these women entrepreneurs, social media (71%) leads the way, followed by a company website (57%)

Mastercard Sets Out to Alleviate Small Businesses’ Financial Constraints Through Strive

Small enterprises in trading owned and run by women and with a turnover of less than US$13.6 million (AED50 million) and employing between six to 50 people are all invited to participate. 

All female individuals or businesses who have their headquarters or offices in the Middle East and Africa or offer their services to these markets can submit their nominations for one or more of the 22 awards. The awards allow for individuals to win in more than one category.

Categories include:

1. The Designer
2. The Logistician
3. The F&B Leader
4. The Retailer
5. The Educator
6. The Real Estate Leader
7. The Health Custodian
8. The Hotelier
9. The Techie
10. The Professional Services Leader
11. The Investor
12. The Fashion and Beauty Leader
13. The Media Leader
14. The Executive
15. The Sports Leader
16. The Artist
17. The Leader of Tomorrow
18. The Humanitarian
19. The Visionary
20. The Change Maker
21. Home-Based Business of the Year
22. The Momtrepreneur of the Year 

Nominations are now open for the awards and can be submitted here by 28 February 2022 while those interested in attending the virtual awards ceremony, during which the winners will be announced on 29 March 2022, can register here.  

The awards are jointly curated by the Entrepreneur Middle East team who will vet shortlisted companies and then passed onto the judging committee that will be chaired by Mastercard. 

Following the independent evaluation of the shortlisted candidates by each of the judges, the winners will be decided by a vote. The Women SME Leaders Awards 2022 judging committee consists of: 

  • Amnah Ajmal, Executive Vice President, Market Development, EEMEA for Mastercard  
  • Mona Zulficar, Chairperson of EFG Hermes Holding 
  • Nejoud Al Mulaik, Director of Fintech Saudi and  
  • Tamara Pupic, Managing Editor of Entrepreneur Middle East 

The celebratory awards are aligned with Mastercard’s global commitment to connect 25 million women entrepreneurs to the digital economy by 2025, as part of its goal to build a more sustainable and inclusive world.