Kenyan Among Winners of Inaugural Mastercard Women SME Leaders Awards 2022


Mastercard has announced the winners of the first Mastercard Women SME Leaders Awards 2022 at a virtual ceremony. The event recognized the success of women-led businesses in 22 categories and multiple industry sectors across the Middle East and Africa.  It was organized by Mastercard in partnership with Entrepreneur Middle East to recognize and further empower women-owned and run SMEs across the Middle East and Africa. 

While congratulating the winners, Mastercard’s Executive Vice President of Market Development hailed and praised women founders. She said, “The passion that women SME owners display is unmatched, they raise the bar higher every day. The Mastercard Women SME Leaders Awards recognize and celebrate these inspiring women entrepreneurs.”

She added that judges were overwhelmed at the quantity and quality of entries and have been inspired by the amazing stories of dedication, creativity and innovation.

Winners from United Arab Emirites

Top 10 Winners from the UAE were:  

  • The Designer: Maz (Mariam) Hakim, the Founder of fashion house ESPAND 
  • The Logistician: Siddhi Joshi, CEO of Emovers 
  • The F&B Leader: Erika Doyle, Founder & MD of the alcohol-free drinks company, Drink Dry 
  • The Real Estate Leader: Helen Chen, Co-Founder and CEO of home search company, Nomad Homes 
  • The Health Custodian: Sophie Smith, Founder & CEO of women’s health company, Nabta Health 
  • The Hotelier: Judit Toth, General Manager of the Ink Hotel 
  • The Investor: Maryam Fouladirad, CEO of technology startup funding platform, Fundii 
  • The Fashion and Beauty Leader: Salama Mohamed, Founder of the cosmetics company, Peacefull 
  • The Visionary: Jennifer Sault, Founder & MD of the preloved clothing company, Thrift for Good 
  • Home-based Business of the Year: Maz (Mariam) Hakim, Founder of the sustainable clothing company, ESPAND by Maz 

Winners from Africa

Celebrating and showcasing individuals and enterprises shaping economies, value chains and the digital economy, winners from Bahrain, Egypt, Kenya, Lebanon, Nigeria and Tanzania were: 

  • Wafa Alobaidat – the Founder and CEO of Bahrain-based women’s professional development company, Playbook, was named The Leader of Tomorrow 
  • In Egypt, Gehad Hamdy, Founder & MD of the feminist initiative to support victims of violence, Speak UP, took two awards – The Change Maker and The Humanitarian. Fellow Egyptian and Founder of the multidisciplinary arts and culture company Nadine Abdelghafar was named The Artist 
  • Kenya was represented by winners Carole Kinoti, the social fashion entrepreneur who was named The Retailer, alongside the Principal Consultant and Founder of the wealth management firm Zoel Capital, who was named The Executive 
  • Lebanon’s Jennifer Mansour, who Founded the children’s food company, Little Melly, was named Momtrepreneur of the Year 
  • In Nigeria, Oluwadamilola Soyombo was named The Techie for her role as the Founder & CEO of the children’s online learning community, Skooqs, while Abimbola Ogundere was named The Educator as the CEO of the Learning As | Teach Foundation, which created the British international school, Kids Court School.  
  • Two Tanzanian women entrepreneurs took awards – the Founder of Pugu Hills Eco-Tourism, Sairis Lucia Bugeraha, was named Professional Services Leader, alongside the Journalist from the Thompson Reuters Foundation, Menna Farouk, who was named The Media Leader.

The Women SME Leaders Awards 2022 is the first initiative of its kind to recognize and showcase women-owned and run SMEs in the Middle East and Africa. This program has employed between six to 50 people with a turnover of less than US$13.6 million (AED50 million).