Last year, under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, the Mother of the Nation, startAD celebrated 51 Emirati Women Achievers in innovation and entrepreneurship. Twenty three new Emirati Women Achievers were recognized for their contribution to innovation and entrepreneurship in the UAE in 2023.
Through entrepreneurship and innovation, these visionaries continue to shape the future of the UAE’s environmental, economic, and social sustainability.
You are invited to nominate yourself or the inspiring Emirati Women Achievers in your life. Join us in commemorating their achievements by submitting your nominations on the link below.
Join the movement. Witness their ambition.
Visionaries & Foundation builders
Dr. Amna Al Ali
Chairwoman Ajman Businesswomen Council
Dr. Amna is the Chairperson of the Ajman Businesswomen Council and a member of the Board of Directors of the Ajman Chamber of Commerce and Industry. She focuses on the mission of the Ajman Businesswomen Council to enhance its role in providing the necessary support to businesswomen and entrepreneurs through a package of initiatives and projects within an annual plan, in addition to organizing specialized exhibitions and training courses that ensure appropriate qualifications to keep pace with the changes and developments witnessed by the businesswomen sector.
Mariam Al Awadhi
Director of HSE & Head of Sustainability Dubai Police HQ
Mariam is the Director of HSE & Head of Sustainability in Dubai Police where she leads in implementing a sustainable policing organization. Her projects primarily revolve around achieving the health and well-being of the students, nurturing creativity and innovation, and building peacekeepers (all through focusing on SDGs 3,4,9, and 12). She is also involved in other projects that combat xenophobia and discrimination maintaining peace and prosperity amongst UAE residents and citizens.
Co-founder of Sekka and Khaleeji Art Museum
Manar is an award-winning creative and communications advisor, international journalist and entrepreneur. She has been working for the past 13 years with government entities and leading global corporations as an advisor on strategic marketing communications and public relations. She established a communications consulting firm that works alongside global corporations and industry leaders to help them achieve their targets. Manar also founded and stands as CEO of Sekka, a leading independent media brand based in London that she built to reach over 50 million readers a year.
Co-Founder Of Sekka And The Khaleeji Art Museum
Sharifah co-founded Khaleeji Art Museum in 2020 as a student, the first digital museum dedicated to the art of the Arab Gulf States, where she serves as the Director. She is also the co-founder of Sekka, where she serves as the COO. She is a graduate of the University of Oxford and the School of Oriental and African Studies and is the recipient of the Arab Woman Award 2020.
Hoda Al Khzaimi
Director of Center of Cyber Security NYU Abu Dhabi
Hoda is currently a research assistant professor at New York University Abu Dhabi and the Director of the Center of Cyber Security at New York University Abu Dhabi. She has specific expertise in Cryptology; cryptanalysis, constructing and validating security hardware and software components, and constructing trusted security architectures for different environments in different products for the respective industries. She headed the Department of Research and Development for Cyber Security and Cryptology in different national initiatives in the United Arab Emirates along with her associations to different security initiatives nationally and internationally.
Nayla Al Khaja
Director & Founder Al-Khaja’s Films
Nayla is the first female film writer, director, and producer in the United Arab Emirates. Nayla is the CEO of Nayla Al Khaja Films, a Dubai-based company focused on the local production of various films, fully developed and produced ‘in-house’, bringing a wealth of experience and cultural knowledge to national and international projects. Over the years, she has produced numerous promotional films and TV commercials for the United Arab Emirates’ local and international brands. Al-Khaja’s films have been screened at more than 42 film festivals worldwide.
Youngest Emirati Inventor Recent graduate
Fatima was recognized as the youngest Emirati inventor in 2015, she has had a passion for creativity and innovation since she was seven years old. She was able to create 12 inventions that focus on solving issues found around her community such as a smart steering system to prevent texting while driving and the teleporter, a robot that attends school for sick children. In 2016, Fatima obtained an internationally accredited certification for peer-to-peer training and counseling. Her accomplishments include receiving the Abu Dhabi Award in 2018, the UAE Robot Olympics in 2014, the UAE Pioneer Award as UAE’s Youngest Inventor in 2015, the Arab Award for the Best 10 Inventors and Innovators of 2015, and the Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak International Award for Arab Youth in 2017.
Dr. Shaikah Al-Taneiji
Assistant Professor, Head of the Department of Foundations of Education UAEU
Dr. Shaikah is a Member of the Federal National Council of the United Arab Emirates since 2019. She has been the Head of the Department of Education at the United Arab Emirates University since 2014, and an associate professor at the same university since 2013. She held the position of Assistant Dean for Female Student Affairs at the Emirates University between 2002 and 2005.
Arwa Al Nuaimi
Founding Partner Bani & Al Culture
Arwa is a founding member of Bani & Al Cultural Consultancy. She is an experienced project manager mainly in construction for cultural projects, and a trained lighting expert. Her work for prominent cultural projects in Abu Dhabi include Qasr Al Hosn and the UAE Pavilion, and other projects she has worked on include the Family Development Foundation buildings amongst many others.
Ghaya Mohammed Alshamsi
Student advocate NYU Abu Dhabi
Ghaya is NYUAD Alumna and was a student cultural ambassador under NYUAD’s Sufara’a program, building connections between students from various communities and cultural backgrounds, and celebrating the different narratives of the UAE. Ghaya was also chair of the University’s domestic student advisory board. Ghaya also interned at the Office of Strategic Affairs in Abu Dhabi taking care of projects relating to technology, agri-tech, and food waste. It was through this opportunity that Alshamsi sees herself working in the government sector where she can serve all communities in the UAE.
Alia Al Mur
Chief of Transformation and Partnerships Dubai Future Foundation
Alia is the Chief of Transformation and Partnerships at the Dubai Future Foundation. She was previously in Smart Dubai where she focused on increasing global thought leadership around Smart Dubai’s initiatives and strategies, along with boosting brand awareness within the city and abroad. Alia was also part of Emaar, having been the Head of Events & Marketing and Head of Specialty Leasing for Dubai Mall. She is also a graduate of the Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Leadership Development.
Sara Al Kaabi
Sara is the co-founder of a mental health social enterprise, Peer-Minded, which is a mental health advocacy and education platform for youth in the UAE. She graduated with a bachelor’s in Economics from New York University Abu Dhabi and currently works an ADEO as a policy specialist and researcher where she works on research, analysis, and informed decision-making
Founder and Executive Director Centre for Musical Arts
Tala is the founder and Executive Director of the Centre for Musical Arts (CMA). Born and educated in Dubai, Tala studied music at Royal Holloway, University of London. What makes her all the more special is that she is the only female Emirati music graduate. Armed with a second degree in Management and Languages in 1995, Tala worked for ten years in the financial sector and consumer sector gaining experience in finance, human resources, and management.
Abeer Al Mehairbi
Founder Tally & Co
Abeer is the founder of a leading social and environmental impact consultancy firm, TALLY & CO. She is also ME Regional Director for Archipel&Co, a consulting firm specializing in testing and scaling business solutions to social challenges. She also held a position at ADNOC Onshore as Executive Advisor. Abeer has more than 20 years of experience in strategic development and business improvement in Corporate Social Responsibility and Human Capital.
Raja Al Mazrouei
CEO Etihad Credit Insurance
Raja is the CEO and board member of the Etihad Credit Insurance (ECI). She has over 20 years of experience in the financial services and technology sectors. Raja previously held the role of Executive Vice President at the DIFC FinTech Hive and the Senior Vice President of Marketing & Corporate Communications at DIFC.
Founder & CEO Takalam
Khawla is the founder and CEO of Takalam, an award-winning technology for mental well-being. Before devoting her work full-time to Takalam, Khawla held several positions in various Abu Dhabi-based government entities, including Emirates Foundation & twofour54 where she utilized her skills and expertise in Business Development, Strategic Partnerships, Media & Communications. She also worked as an independent consultant for startups between the UAE & the US while she was based in Washington DC. Khawla holds a Master’s degree in International Business from Georgetown University in Washington DC and a Bachelor’s degree in Media & Communication Sciences from Zayed University in Abu Dhabi.
Fatema Al Mulla
Director of Partnerships Ministry of Climate Change and Environment
Fatema manages the ministry’s efforts in facilitating global and international partnerships and leads on country’s special projects in both climate-smart agriculture and mangroves as a nature-based solution. As a leading member of the Food Security Office, Fatema launched and managed the Food Tech Challenge – an accelerator program dedicated to sourcing and scaling innovative solutions in the field of agriculture.
Jowaher Al Suwaidi
Corporate Social Responsibility Manager Taqa Group
Jowaher is a Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at TAQA Group. She served at the UAE Mission in KSA, the Emirates Diplomatic Academy, And the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. In TAQA Jowaher established a youth council and women’s council. She also focuses on community engagement, innovation, and entrepreneurship with different Abu Dhabi organizations.
Hajer Al Ketbi
Director Government Communications, Ministry of Climate Change and Environment
Hajar is the Director of Government Communications at Ministry of Climate Change and Environment. She leads the national efforts’ communication in the UAE’s preparations to host COP28. She recently won the “Marketing Executive of the Year” award at the 19th International Business Awards 2022 and “Female Executive of the Year in Government or Non-profit” award at the 19th Women in Business Awards 2022.
Nooran Al Bannai
Founder Coffee Architecture
Nooran is the founder of Coffee Architecture Coffee Roaster in Abu Dhabi and the first Emirati barista. The proud startAD alumni competed in the National Barista Championship and successfully won 6th. She is also the first Emirati Q grader which allows her to evaluate coffee professionally worldwide. She previously served as senior management in ADNOC before pursuing Coffee Architecture.
Head of Environmental Protection and Reserve
Fatmah is an Emarati expert in environment holding more than 20 years of experience. She is pursuing her PhD at the British University in Dubai in Greenwashing. Fatmah also won the International Vital Communities Award, the Khalifa Award, and the Social Communication Ambassador Award at the Emirates Creativity Association.
Marketing Manager, TECOM and Founder Member, Ferjan Dubai
Hawra leads a career in marketing with one of the leading private companies and runs a social entrepreneurship program, ‘Ferjan Dubai.’ Ferjan Dubai is one of the most innovative community development and government collaboration programs in the UAE. Run by the Emirati Youth, this program enables community engagement and links Emirati neighborhoods with government services. Hawra’s efforts in Ferjan have helped spread awareness of Emirati cultural values, bring back old traditions, and connect elders with the younger generation.
Aldhabi Al Mheiri
Publisher and Entrepreneur Rainbow Chimney
AlDhabi is the youngest Emirati entrepreneur and youngest publisher. Her publishing house, Rainbow Chimney, is an e-commerce bookstore and a retail store. She also holds a Guinness World Record for being the youngest person to publish a bilingual book.