Women from the Middle East making waves in Mayfair.

Muna AbuSulayman

A Saudi businesswoman and activist, Muna AbuSulayman is a role model for aspiring entrepreneurs.

But she warns that if you don't have an Ivy League education and wealthy background “you must be willing to go through a lot of pain”.

She adds: “Simply working twice as hard is not enough, especially not for a woman.

“It is about ensuring that your hard work is done in the right place, is acknowledged and is timed right.”

And she warns that people have mistaken her for the office secretary.

“They don't see many women who dress like me or have my skin colour be in a position of power or ultimate decision making,” she said.


Amber Ghaddar

Fintech expert Amber Ghaddar is one of the co-founders of Alliance Block.

The blockchain start-up is creating a stir in the investment world.

She spent almost 7 years working in the capital markets for a large US investment bank before taking the leap.

“Blockchain is to money what email was to mail,” she says. “It is the anti-thesis of bureaucracy.”

She believes it will increase security, safety and transparency in the investment world.

“I haven't properly slept in 10 months. But I wake up every day knowing that every second is truly bringing me closer to my vision.”

For aspiring businesswomen, she warns: “You will not be thought of as an equal until you prove you are better.”


Her Excellency Dr Sara Al Madani

An Emirati entrepreneur, Sara Al Madani started her own fashion label at the age of just 15.

She transformed the abaya, a traditional long dress worn by some Muslim women.

She is now a well-known fashion designer, entrepreneur, restaurant owner and the youngest board member of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

Her advice is: “Grasp every opportunity you have. Abuse and use every chance you get to achieve your dreams.

“Resources are available all around. There is no excuse.”

But she adds: “The most rewarding experience has to be the failures I've gone through and how I've managed to stand back on my two feet.”



Simay Dinc

A rarity in the male-dominated gaming world, Simay Dinc is co-founder of Recontact Digital Arts.

She is also game producer of the award-winning cinematographic mobile game series Recontact: Istanbul.

In a bid to encourage women to enter the gaming industry, she set up Women in Games Turkey.

Her aim is “to make sure that women act as creators, not players, in the gaming sector”.

Simay Dinc is also co-founder of Kiraarthane, a co-working space for game developers, designers and artists. It was originally started to teach game design to village children in Turkey.

“I've been a gamer since the age of six and it has really helped me to gain entrepreneurial skills,” she said.