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  • Writer's pictureMajid Alhusseini

8 Saudi Businesswomen You Need to Follow in 2024

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has witnessed a remarkable transformation in its socio-economic landscape, with women playing an increasingly pivotal role in driving the Kingdom's business sector forward. From entrepreneurship to corporate leadership, Saudi businesswomen have been breaking barriers, shattering stereotypes, and making significant contributions to the country's economy. As we step into 2024, it's essential to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of these trailblazing women who are not only making waves locally but also gaining international recognition. Here are eight Saudi businesswomen that everyone should keep an eye on in 2024

Fatima Batook

Women in Saudi Arabia now have the opportunity to access gyms once again, thanks to the determined efforts of Fatima Batook. In the past, the country had women-only gyms, but due to a lack of a legal framework for issuing licenses specifically for such centers, they were classified as health or beauty centers, leading to their closure.

Fatima Batook, a sports pioneer in Saudi Arabia, took matters into her own hands after the closure of these gyms. She started by setting up an unlicensed mini gym on a squash court in her compound, offering Spinning classes to her former gemmates who were affected by the closures.

Batook's proactive approach caught the attention of the government, leading to her invitation to join the Young Saudi Businesswomen of Eastern Province association in 2013. This connection eventually resulted in the approval to open women-only gyms officially. In March 2015, Batook launched her first official women-only gym, Studio 55 in AlKhobar, marking a significant milestone in her advocacy for women's fitness in Saudi Arabia.

Even before Studio 55, Batook had already established herself as an entrepreneur by launching Tima Love Life in 2012, a sports apparel line tailored to Saudi women's needs. Her clothing line, manufactured in Brazil, was made available both online and through select stores in Riyadh and Dhahran, catering to the growing demand for fitness-related products among Saudi women.

Aseel Al-Hammad

Aseel Al Hamad is a prominent figure in Saudi Arabia's motorsport realm, known for her impactful advocacy and trailblazing role as a female driver. Her impressive career includes groundbreaking achievements like being the first Saudi woman to drive in F1 and holding the distinction of being the inaugural female Board Member at the Saudi Automobile & Motorcycle Federation. Additionally, she is actively involved as a member and the Saudi Arabia Representative at the FIA Women in Motorsports Commission.

Apart from her accomplishments in motorsports, Aseel is also a professional interior designer engineer and a successful entrepreneur in the design industry. She founded and currently manages IDEGREE DESIGN, an award-winning interior design studio based in Riyadh, showcasing her diverse talents and entrepreneurial spirit.

In 2023, Aseel expanded her endeavors by co-founding STEER Tourism Company, which specializes in organizing luxury supercar tours across the Kingdom. Her expertise and contributions were further recognized with her appointment as a Judge at the prestigious Women’s World Car of the Year Award. Beyond her professional achievements, Aseel actively mentors aspiring professionals in Saudi Arabia, serving as a symbol of female empowerment and embodying the principles of the Saudi 2030 Vision for leadership and positive change.

Aseel's influence and achievements were celebrated during the 2022 Saudi Games, where she was honored with the role of carrying the Saudi Olympic flag during the opening ceremony, alongside esteemed former Olympic champions from the country. Furthermore, her collaboration with Abbi Pulling in March 2022 marked a historic milestone as they became the first women to drive F1 cars in Saudi Arabia, signaling a significant step forward in the nation's motorsport landscape.

Nassiba Hafiz

Nasiba Hafiz embodies the creative vision behind her eponymous brand, showcasing her vibrant style and deep passion for fashion. Armed with a degree in fashion photography and styling from the London School of Fashion, Hafiz launched her brand in 2012, gaining global recognition with collections available from Los Angeles to Dubai. She is the daughter of the late and esteemed Saudi Arabian publisher Hisham Hafiz, inheriting a legacy of creativity and innovation.

Hafiz is known for her unconventional choice of fabrics and bold color palettes, aiming to redefine perceptions of Saudi fashion on the global stage. Her designs prioritize comfort, addressing the region's hot and humid climate with practical yet stylish solutions. Moreover, she actively promotes social causes, having collaborated with female tailors from Nesma Embroidery, a non-profit center empowering Saudi women with special needs, for her Nesma Women collection.

In her latest collections, 'Biba by Nasiba' and 'Koi Collection,' Hafiz steps outside her usual boundaries, exploring new silhouettes and delving into cultural Asian influences. These collections showcase her experimentation with innovative techniques and signature prints, reflecting her continuous evolution as a designer committed to pushing boundaries and celebrating cultural diversity through fashion.

Salwa Radwi

A visionary with a passion for creativity, Salwa Radwi is the founder and CEO of Nuqtah, a Saudi-based Web3 startup dedicated to empowering creators and businesses through blockchain technology. Established in 2021 during the surge of NFTs and Web3 innovations, Nuqtah's mission is to simplify the process of creating, deploying, and monetizing digital collectibles without the complexity of blockchain infrastructure. The startup has quickly gained traction and is now shifting its focus to becoming a foundational infrastructure provider, supporting the growth of Web3 technologies in Saudi Arabia.

Salwa conceived the concept of Nuqtah during her time at the Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) in Canada, where it originated as her graduation thesis. Despite being accepted into the program, she surprised her family by choosing not to enroll, opting instead to pursue her entrepreneurial vision and delve into her new business idea.

Emon Shakoor

Emon Shakoor is a Saudi entrepreneur with a background in neuroscience research who has transitioned into the world of technology startups. She has played a crucial role in mentoring numerous startup companies, aiding them in securing significant seed-stage funding. Her contributions extend to her position as an advisory board member at Oqal, Saudi Arabia's largest angel investment group, and as the Saudi ambassador for Women Entrepreneurship Day Organization (WEDO). Emon's impact on women entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia has garnered recognition, including being acknowledged as one of nine Saudi women making a global impact. Recently, NEOM identified her as one of five Saudis driving change both locally and globally.

Currently, Emon serves as the CEO and Founder of Blossom Accelerator, Saudi Arabia's pioneering tech-inclusion and female-focused accelerator. The company's mission is to provide founders with access to a supportive community, networking opportunities, educational resources, and curated investment prospects. Blossom Accelerator places a strong emphasis on inclusivity, recognizing its role in fostering greater innovation and generating higher economic returns.

Before her entrepreneurial journey, Emon earned her bachelor's degree in Cognitive Science from UC San Diego and conducted neuroscience research at the University of California, San Diego, focusing on mirror neurons' role in social cognition. She also gained experience at PAREXEL, where she led and managed numerous clinical drug trials across North America.

Emon's contributions to various fields have been widely recognized. She is a Global Shaper at Jeddah Hub and represented the 30 Under 30 group at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Emon is a sought-after public speaker on topics such as Neuroscience & Innovation, Technology & Entrepreneurship, Startup Investment, Youth & Women Empowerment, and Equity & Inclusion, sharing her expertise and insights globally through platforms like TEDx.

Yara Ghouth

Entrepreneur Yara Ghouth champions the value of learning from failure, reflecting on her journey from a young age when she started a photography studio to her current role as the visionary behind Naseej Market, a leading e-commerce platform in Saudi Arabia. At 25, Ghouth is driven by a mission to empower local artisans and designers across the Arab world, positioning Naseej Market as a catalyst for their success. Inspired by the global impact of platforms like Etsy, Ghouth envisions Naseej Market as the premier destination for supporting and promoting independent creators in the region, recognizing the vast potential within the Arab craft market. Furthermore, Ghouth noted that entrepreneurship runs in her family, underscoring a lineage of entrepreneurial fervor and innovation.

Arwa Al Bannawi

Saudi-born designer Arwa Al Banawi is not just a blend of contrasts in her fashion; she's also a testament to entrepreneurial spirit. Raised in conservative Jeddah but enriched by experiences in Germany and Switzerland during her youth, she developed a profound love for fashion. Transitioning from a successful career in investment banking, she noticed a market need for professional yet stylish womenswear, which led to the founding of her namesake brand ARWA.

Arwa honed her skills at the London College of Fashion in Dubai, paving the way for the launch of her eponymous brand in 2015. Her urban-tailored suits, adorned with graphic prints, have graced the pages of Vogue and become a favorite among global street style icons. What sets her apart is not just her aesthetic—subtly androgynous yet distinctly feminine—but also her entrepreneurial drive to fill a niche in the fashion industry, catering to "The Suitable Woman" who values both professionalism and fashion-forward flair.

Muneera Al Tamimi

Muneera Al Tamimi, a Saudi entrepreneur and co-founder of Tamashee, has pioneered a unique venture that combines cultural exploration with entrepreneurship. Tamashee offers guided tours to hidden gems across the Arabian Peninsula, intertwining adventure with the reintroduction of traditional Arabian footwear in a contemporary context. Each collection is inspired by forgotten or underappreciated aspects of Arabian culture, adding depth to the brand's identity.

Al Tamimi's vision for Tamashee Experience was born from the curiosity of those drawn to the captivating stories and images she shared while researching and traveling across the region. To ensure the authenticity of each trip, Tamashee implements a strict vetting process for participants, filtering out those who do not align with the group's cultural objectives. By conducting background checks and selecting like-minded individuals, Tamashee fosters a cohesive and enriching experience for all participants, fostering meaningful connections and mutual appreciation for Arabian heritage. Through Tamashee, Al Tamimi has not only revived traditional footwear but also created a platform for cultural immersion and exploration in the Arabian Peninsula.

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