- The 30 women behind the Middle Eastern brands represent 18 different nationalities, with Egyptians dominating with 11 entries, followed by Lebanese with four.
- Among the 20 women behind Middle Eastern tech brands, Fintech is the most popular category with five entries, followed by logistics providers with three and two each in e-commerce and crypto exchanges.
Dubai: Forbes Middle East has unveiled its fourth annual 50 Women Behind Middle East Brands 2022 ranking, honoring the women leading the region’s most successful brands. The full list reveals 30 female founders of fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands, and 20 female founders of tech brands.
The 30 women behind the Middle Eastern brands run businesses in various categories, including accessories, baby care, beauty, fashion, footwear, jewelry and fragrance. The list was built based on the brand’s celebrity endorsements, social media following, geographic presence, years of experience, and media coverage. For the fourth year in a row, Huda Beauty co-founder Huda Kattan reigns at the top spot. In 2021, Forbes recognized the beauty mogul as one of America’s Self-Made Women, with a net worth of $490 million as of April 8, 2021. She is followed by Azza Fahmy, Amina and Fatma Ghali, who are behind Azza Fahmy Jewellery. KAYALI’s Mona Kattan, Atelier Zuhra’s Rayan Al Sulaimani and shoe designer Andrea Wazen round out the top five.
Of the 30 brands, 13 are headquartered in the United Arab Emirates, followed by Egypt with eight and Lebanon with five. The ranking represents 18 different nationalities. The Egyptians top the list with 11 entries, followed by the Lebanese with four entries. Fashion is the most popular category with 13 listings, followed by beauty and jewelry with seven and five brands respectively.
The 20 women behind Middle Eastern tech brands were also rated on the amount of external funding they received as well as disclosed revenue. Leading the pack is co-founder of logistics company iMile, Rita Huang Zhen. iMile secured $40 million in a Series A funding round in November 2021, bringing its total funding to $50 million since inception and making it the ninth most funded startup in the MENA region in 2021. Mumzworld veterans Mona Ataya and Leena Khalil ranked second. In a landmark outing, the e-commerce platform was acquired by Tamer Group in June 2021. Fintech powerhouses Nadine Mezher from Sarwa, Ambareen Musa from Souqalmal and Fatma El Shenawy from Khatna make up the top five.
This year’s winners come from 17 different nationalities working in 13 sectors. The Jordanian founders reign with three entries, followed closely by the British and the Saudis with two entrepreneurs each. Fintech is the most popular category with five entries, followed by logistics providers with three, and two each in e-commerce and crypto exchanges. Companies are mainly based in the United Arab Emirates, with 13 entries. Egypt and Saudi Arabia are each home to two companies.
Click on here to view the full 2022 ranking of Women Behind Middle Eastern Brands.
Top 5 Women Behind Middle Eastern Brands 2022
- Huda Kattan: Brand: Huda Beauty; WISHFUL, Category: Beauty, Creation: 2013; 2020, Nationality: Iraqi-American, Headquarters: United Arab Emirates
- Azza Fahmy, Amina & Fatma Ghali: Brand: Azza Fahmy Jewellery, Category: Jewellery, Creation: 1969, Nationality: Egyptian, Headquarters: Egypt
- Mona Kattan: Brand: KAYALI; Huda Beauty, Category: Fragrances; Beauty, Creation: 2018; 2013, Nationality: Iraqi-American, Headquarters: United Arab Emirates
- Rayan Al Sulaimani: Brand: Atelier Zuhra, Category: Fashion, Creation: 2015, Nationality: Omani, Headquarters: UAE/Oman
- Andrea Wazen: Brand: Andrea Wazen, Category: Footwear, Creation: 2013, Nationality: Lebanese, Headquarters: Lebanon
Top 5 Women Behind Tech Brands in the Middle East 2022
- Rita Huang Zhen: Brand: iMile Delivery Services, Category: Logistics, Creation: 2017, Nationality: Chinese, Headquarters: UAE
- Mona Ataya & Leena Khalil: Brand: Mumzworld, Category: E-Commerce, Creation: 2011, Nationality: Palestinian; British, Headquarters: UAE
- Nadine Mezher: Brand: Sarwa, Category: Fintech, Creation: 2017, Nationality: Lebanese, Headquarters: UAE
- Ambareen Musa: Brand: Souqalmal, Category: Fintech, Creation: 2012, Nationality: Mauritian, Headquarters: UAE
- Fatma El Shenawy: Brand: Khazna, Category: Fintech, Creation: 2019, Nationality: Egyptian, Headquarters: Egypt
About Forbes Middle East
Forbes Middle East is a licensed edition of Forbes for the Arab world, championing inspiring business journalism and entrepreneurial capitalism. Its online and social platforms disseminate information on billionaires, business, investing, technology, economics, entrepreneurship, leadership and luxury lifestyles. The monthly magazine, which features in-depth interviews with the Middle East’s most influential and innovative leaders, is published in print in English and Arabic, with digital versions available online for regional and global audiences.
Forbes Middle East extends the Forbes journalism brand across the Arab world, conducting its own extensive research to publish original listings that adhere to strict methodologies. Its content attracts business leaders, investors, active and potential entrepreneurs, as well as a wide audience of ambitious and influential executives.
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