Speakers | Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival

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Mohamed Alabbar

Chairman, Emaar Properties

Mohamed Alabbar

A global entrepreneur with active interests in high-value property development, retail, luxury hospitality, mining and commodities, Mohamed Alabbar is the founder and chairman of Emaar Properties PJSC. Ranked second in the list of the ‘World’s 100 Most Powerful Arabs – Leaders’ 2014 by Arabian Business, the leading regional business magazine, Mr. Alabbar is well-known for his pioneering role in positioning Dubai as a world-class city. He spearheads the growth strategy of Emaar, which has a presence in over 18 countries, with a focus on developing prime real estate, shopping mall and hospitality and leisure assets. Mr. Alabbar heads Emaar’s joint venture with Giorgio Armani to set up the Armani-branded luxury hotel and resort chain in key international destinations. He is also the Founder and Chairman of Africa Middle East Resources (AMER), which unlocks the value of natural resource opportunities in Africa and links them with large consumer markets in Asia. He is a board member of Eagle Hills, an Abu Dhabi-based investment and real estate development company that funds and develops large-scale projects in high-growth international markets. Mr. Alabbar is the Chairman of Tradewinds Corporation, a premier leisure and hospitality owner-operator in Malaysia, focused on developing world-class real estate developments in the country and Southeast Asia. He is also the founder and major shareholder of RSH, the leading Singapore-based pan-Asian marketer, distributor and retailer of some 60 international fashion and lifestyle brands through more than 70 outlets in over 20 countries. Mr. Alabbar sits on the board of Noor Investment Group, an affiliate of Dubai Group, the leading diversified financial company of Dubai Holding. He is also a member of the Dubai World Expo 2020 Preparatory Committee. He was the founding Director General of the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED), and served as a member of the Dubai Executive Council and Dubai Economic Council. A graduate in Finance and Business Administration from the Seattle University in the US, Mr. Alabbar also holds an Honorary Doctorate from the University, and serves on its Board of Trustees. A keen sportsman, Mr Alabbar is an active member of the UAE’s endurance horse racing community.

Arif Naqvi

The Abraaj Group

Arif Naqvi

Arif Naqvi established The Abraaj Group in 2002 and has served as its Group Chief Executive since inception, building it into one of the leading private equity firms in the world. He is the Chair of the Global Investment Committee at the Firm. Abraaj is widely recognized as a pioneer of growth markets investing with over 17 offices including five regional hubs in Dubai, Istanbul, Mexico City, Nairobi and Singapore. Mr. Naqvi has over three decades of experience of investing in public and private companies and has led the Group’s investment strategy, resulting in some of the most notable private equity transactions across growth markets over the last decade. Mr. Naqvi is a Trustee of the Interpol Foundation, Board Member of the United Nations Global Compact, B Team Global Business Leader and Founding Commissioner at the Business and Sustainable Development Commission. He is a member of the International Advisory Board of Allianz SE, Columbia Global Leadership Council, and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art in London. Mr. Naqvi has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Oslo Business for Peace Award, the highest form of recognition given to individual private sector leaders for fostering peace and stability through business, and the Sitara-i-Imtiaz, a prominent civilian honor awarded by the Government of Pakistan. In 2011, Private Equity International named him as one of the 50 most influential people in the global private equity industry. In 2008, Mr. Naqvi and his family established the Aman Foundation, the largest private social sector enterprise in Pakistan, which supports sustainable development in healthcare, nutrition and education. Mr. Naqvi is a graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Fadi Ghandour

Executive Chairman, Wamda Capital

Fadi Ghandour

Fadi Ghandour is the Executive Chairman of Wamda Group, a Venture Capital fund and a platform that helps nurture and build entrepreneurship eco-systems in the MENA region. Fadi is also the Founder and a Board Member of Aramex, one of the leading global logistics and transportation companies. Fadi is a member of the Board of Abraaj Capital, the Board of Endeavor Global and the Board of Trustees at the American University of Beirut (AUB). Additionally, he serves on the Advisory Council of the MIT Media Lab. Passionate about social entrepreneurship, Fadi is the Founder and Chairman of Ruwwad for Development, a private‐sector led community empowerment initiative that helps disadvantaged communities across the region overcome marginalization through activism, civic engagement, education and financial inclusion.

Alex Hunter

Digital Brand and Loyalty Expert

Alex Hunter

Alex Hunter is a digital brand and loyalty expert who worked as Head of Digital for the Virgin Group. He’s also an investor in and advisor to start-ups, and is the creator of the online travel show Attaché. Recently Alex served as CEO of a venture-backed digital music company, with investment from the backers of Twitter, Tumblr, Medium, and Kickstarter. He steered the company through initial financing, a successful international M&A deal, and multi-national growth in under a year. He is on the Board of Trustees for the non-profit Drinkaware. He has also served as an advisor to the Prince of Wales’ Rainforest Trust, specifically around the use of social media and engagement to propagate the Trusts’ message.

Najla Al Midfa

Sheraa

Najla Al Midfa

Najla Al-Midfa is General Manager of Sheraa - Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center - a government entity that aims to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and provide startups with a launchpad for growth and success. Launched in January 2016, under the chairmanship of HE Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, Sheraa has grown to become an integral part of Sharjah’s startup ecosystem, with a community of over a thousand aspiring entrepreneurs and an inaugural cohort of ten ventures graduating in February 2017. Najla is also Founder of Khayarat, a platform that empowers young, high-potential Emiratis to make informed career choices, and enables them to succeed in the private sector. In her previous role, as Senior Manager at Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, Najla led a team of business counselors through the due diligence process of selecting ventures for financing. She also set up and operated the Northern Emirate branch of Khalifa Fund, covering Ajman, Dubai, and Sharjah.   Prior to joining Khalifa Fund, Najla was a senior associate at McKinsey and Company‘s New York office, primarily serving clients across the financial institutions sector. Her experience also includes roles within PricewaterhouseCoopers and Shell. Najla is a board member of United Arab Bank, where she also chairs the Board Audit Committee and is a member of the Board Risk Committee. She is Vice-Chairperson of Young Arab Leaders, and a fellow of the Aspen Institute’s Middle East Leadership Initiative. Najla holds an MBA from Stanford University.

Dana Farouki

Abraaj Group Art Prize

Dana Farouki

Dana Farouki is a Palestinian-American independent curator and collector of international contemporary art, based between Dubai and New York. Farouki was the first member of the Guggenheim Museum Abu Dhabi curatorial staff, serving as Assistant Curator until June 2010. She received her bachelor’s degree in History of Art and Architecture from Brown University in 2003, and completed her master’s degree in the History and Theory of the Art Museum at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London in 2005. She also held a one-year fellowship at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. She is currently a Trustee of MoMA PS1, the leading New York museum committed to emerging art and artists and Creative Time, NYC’s foremost public arts projects organization. She is the founding Chair of The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s Middle East Circle and sits on the board of Bidoun Projects. A great advocate of Middle East cultural initiatives, she has been on the Board of Patrons for Art Dubai since the fair’s inception and has been the Chairperson for the Abraaj Group Art Prize since 2015. Farouki is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Bilbareed, an online platform for Arabic and English digital invitations and greetings designed by the Arab world’s most creative talent. Bilbareed was launched in 2017.

Badr Jafar

Crescent Enterprises

Badr Jafar

Badr Jafar is CEO of Crescent Enterprises, a multinational company headquartered in the UAE, with diversified global businesses across six core sectors. He is also President of Crescent Petroleum, the region’s first independent and privately-owned petroleum company in the Middle East.

Khalid Al Ameri

Emirati Social Commentator

Khalid Al Ameri

Khalid Al Ameri is an Emirati opinion writer and social commentator with The National on issues such as employment, entrepreneurship, and social development in the Arab region. Khalid co-founded a food and beverage startup Slices based in Abu Dhabi. Khalid has recently returned from completing his MBA at Stanford University, and is currently working with youth on education and employment readiness, as well as continuing his work on highlighting social issues we face in our day-to-day lives through his column with The National newspaper.

Hussain Al Mahmoudi

AUSE

Hussain Al Mahmoudi

Mr. Hussain currently serves as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the American University of Sharjah Enterprises (AUSE) and CEO of the Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP). A project set up by royal decree to help create collaborative long-term relationships between industry, academia and the public sector, creating an ecosystem of enterprise and innovation.

Fatima Alnaqbi

Chief Innovation Officer at UAE Ministry of Finance

Fatima Alnaqbi

Fatima Alnaqbi is the Chief Innovation Officer, working at Ministry of Finance, UAE to promote the culture of innovation through a number of initiatives. Also responsible of managing a number of strategic innovation initiatives within the core business of the ministry to contribute to supporting the innovation ecosystem in the UAE such as Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund. Fatima was also responsible of managing the project of electronic and smart transformation of Ministry of Finance services. Received her Master’s degree in business administration from University of Sharjah and a Diploma in Public Sector Innovation from Cambridge University.

Chris Guillebeau

Author of Side Hustle

Chris Guillebeau

Chris Guillebeau is an American nonfiction author, blogger and speaker. He is best known for The Art of Non-Conformity blog and book. He has also written guides for travel and small business topics under the brand Unconventional Guides. He organizes the annual World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon.[2] The Art of Non-Conformity blog discusses entrepreneurship, travel, and personal development topics; its traffic grew substantially after the online publication of A Brief Guide to World Domination in 2008. The site has an Alexa ranking of under 30,000[3] and is among the top 15,000 most visited sites in the United States.

Elissa Freiha

WOMENA

Elissa Freiha

Elissa Freiha is an entrepreneur, investor, public speaker, women’s rights advocate and co-founder of WOMENA, a Dubai-based angel investment platform that empowers and educates women to invest in tech startups in the Middle East. As a prominent speaker on women's involvement in entrepreneurship and active angel investor with over 30 investments between North America and MENA, Elissa has been frequently recognized in various media outlets, appearing on BBC’s 30under30, Forbes Middle East’s “50 Business Leaders Inspiring The UAE”, and Arabian Business’ “100 World’s Most Influential Arabs”, “100 Most Powerful Arab Women”, and “100 Most Influential Arabs under 40.” Prior to co-founding WOMENA, Elissa has previously worked in marketing, sales, and events in entertainment and media. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Global Communications from the American University of Paris, the city in which she was born and raised. She is an Emirati of Lebanese and American descent.

Dr. Khalid Al Midfa

Shams

Dr. Khalid Al Midfa

H.E. Dr. Khalid Omar Al Midfa is the chairman of Sharjah Media City (Shams). A media economic city spanning over 1 million square meters and with vision to change the media landscape in the United Arab Emirates and the region. He is also a board member of the Sharjah Media Council entrusted to regulate and develop the media sector in the emirates of Sharjah.

Sheikh Mohammed Al Thani

Co-founder Musafir.com

Sheikh Mohammed Al Thani

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulla Al Thani is one of the prominent successful young leaders. His official role is the Chairman of the Department of Statistics and Community Development in Sharjah, UAE. He is also a successful Entrepreneur, Co-founder of UAE- based travel portal Musafir.com -adventurous traveler- mountaineer- philanthropist sportsman-and photographer and Motivational Public Speaker. He accomplished his quest to climb the Seven highest Summits of the seven continents including Mount Everest, on 22nd May 2013 m, at an altitude of 8,850, a feat accomplished by only a few hundred climbers over the past 25 years. Today, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulla Al Thani’s goal is to continue enjoying his passion for Mountaineering for fundraising for a charitable cause and to inspire the youths, through Public Speaking, to overcome their perceived limitations and to reach new heights of success, showing how anyone can achieve peak performance by defining goals and committing to a vision.

Sara Al Madani

Board member at Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Sara Al Madani

Her Excellency Sara Al Madani is a well-known fashion designer, Restaurant Owner and entrepreneur. In 2014, she was selected by His Highness Sheikh D.r Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qassimi as a board member at Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, making her the youngest on the board. Sara was inspired to start her own business at the age of 15. Following her success as a young entrepreneur and business woman, Sara was selected to inspire women in the UAE to be more active and self-confident in order to achieve business success. Recognized for her creativity and hard work, Sara is an honoured speaker in many universities, colleges and institutes. She truly believes that it is important to be an active member of the community, inspiring the younger generation and continuously sharing knowledge, experience and information therefore she started her public speaking journey, speaking and giving Keynote speeches in more than 110 events in the year 2016 - 2017.

Jassim Al Bastaki

Secretary-general at Emirati Entrepreneurs Association

Jassim Al Bastaki

Jassim Al Bastaki is one of the leading entrepreneurs in the United Arab Emirates, and has many national contributions in motivating young Emirati people to enter the field of entrepreneurship. Jassim Al Bastaki an active member of several governmental and international organizations, including the Board Member and The secretary-general of Emirati entrepreneurs Association, in addition to that he is a member in the Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for the development of small and medium-sized enterprises, member in the Khalifa bin Zayed Fund to support small projects medium, and also participating in the Group of Twenty Entrepreneurship G20. He has over 20 years of experience in public and private sectors, including asset and property, hotels, travel , Airlines and Hospitality management. Al Bastaki is a graduate from the Management Faculty of International Hotel and Hospitality Industry of the University of Central Florida, USA. He also holds a degree in Financial Management from the College of Business Administration in the UK. Recently he founded Envelope Investment Company that supports the small enterprise sector. He serves on the board of several governmental entities.

Muhammad Chbib

tajawal

Muhammad Chbib

An internationally experienced manager, Muhammad Chbib served several successful startup organisations in Europe and the MENA since the late 1990’s and joined McKinsey & Company in 2004, where he worked on large-scale transformation projects with Fortune 500 companies in Europe and the Middle East. In 2011, he moved to Dubai to take the entrepreneurial plunge with Sukar.com which he exited successfully to souq.com in 2012. Muhammad Chbib is the Head of travel giant Al Tayyar Group’s Online Business Unit, its technology lab in the online travel space. The Online Business Unit successfully operates two online travel agency brands, Almosafer and tajawal. Muhammad has a passion for entrepreneurship and coaching young aspiring leaders, topics he regularly advocates and promotes across the region and beyond. Muhammad is German of Syrian descent, proud husband and father of four. His heritage, upbringing and professional experience in working on multi-national organisations in different countries have taught him to be fluent in Arabic, German, English and French.

Abdullatif Al Sayegh

Alsayegh Media

Abdullatif Al Sayegh

Abdullatif Alsayegh, CEO of Alsayegh Media, is one of the most successful Emirati entrepreneurs in the marketing and communications industry. Previously heading the Arab Media Group, he has brought world-famous brands like MTV and Nickelodeon to the UAE audience amongst many of the headliner publications in circulation today. In 2010, he established Alsayegh Media, the first and only Emirati owned and operated full-service integrated agency, offering a range of services in-house. Today, 7 years from inception of the agency, the firm is a full-service communications company with near 150+ media professionals headquartered in one of Dubai’s coolest office spaces, the renown AM Hub. The award-winning agency offers 15 integrated services and manages some of the largest campaigns from Dubai Holding to the Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government, Dubai Municipality, Abu Dhabi Tourism, and much more. He has been the winner of 'CEO of the Year', ‘SME of the Year’ and one of the 'Top 25 Most Influential Personalities in the Arab World.' More recently, he has been nominated as a Power Profile on Linkedin, one of the top 10 most viewed and interacted with personalities on Linkedin in the UAE. An incredible personality, Mr. Alsayegh was personally invited to be a chair-person of the newly merged initiative by His Highness to combine the Football teams, resulting in the new team Shabab-Al-Ahli. He regularly offers advice and expertise in various entrepreneurial initiatives as a mentor, judge and speaker. He is deeply invested in the future of the UAE, the growth of the media sector and the Emirati workforce within it. In his spare time Abdullatif enjoys reading and has a keen interest in innovation, concept technology and exploring the local Food & Beverage culture.

Mai Medhat

Eventtus

Mai Medhat

Mai Medhat is the CEO and co-founder of Eventtus; an events engagement platform and the leading event app provider in the Middle East. Mai is an Egyptian tech entrepreneur holds a Computer Engineering degree from Ain Shams University. She co-founded Eventtus in 2012 with a mission to mobilize events and help attendees make the most of events. The company served 9,000 events and 150,000 attendees since then and growing into 15+ countries. Mai has been recognized by the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2016 as one of the most promising entrepreneurs and was invited to represent Middle East startups in an iconic panel with Former President Barak Obama and Mark Zuckerberg, Founder of Facebook.

Tanaz Dizadji

insydo

Tanaz Dizadji

As the Founder and CEO of insydo, Tanaz has used her background in marketing, finance and tech to build an undercover city guide to Dubai. This search-centric product provides people with curated recommendations and has gained a following of over 450,000 unique visitors per month since its launch in January 2016. In September 2017, Tanaz launched her second company, Brand Ripplr, a micro-influencer marketplace that is set to stir the region’s advertising sector. Graduating with a BSc in Accounting and Finance from the University of Warwick, Tanaz started her career as a chartered accountant in investment management at PwC in London.  Before delving into the world of technology, Tanaz was the Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for Omnicom Media Group and led philanthropic and artistic projects for the Elephant Parade and START.

Chad Fox

Chad Fox

Founder and Managing Director at Disruptive.Legal - Startup Lawyer - Angel Investor - Advisor

PK Gulati

Founder of SmartStart Fund & The Assembly

PK Gulati

Prashant K. “PK” Gulati is a technology innovator, angel investor, mentor, idea accelerator, and writer with over two decades of experience building, investing in and supporting technology companies. He currently serves as the CEO of Optimistix Ventures, a venture catalyst and consulting company based in Dubai Internet City, and he is the Founder of the SmartStart Fund, via which he invests in early stage startups. With a portfolio of ventures in India, Middle East and US, he provides mentorship to startups at various levels, and works to connect technology clusters around the world, building bridges between India, the Arab world, and Silicon Valley. PK also serves as a Trustee on the Global Board of TiE, the Chairman of Gulfcom Group, and the Chairman of Prokraft Group, India, and is a board member for the Indian Documentary Foundation, the in5 incubator at TECOM, and the Dubai Enterprise Centre. PK holds an M.S. with Honors in Computer Science and Management.

Khaled Al Huraimel

Bee'ah

Khaled Al Huraimel

Driven by a passion for excellence, Khaled Al Huraimel has played a pivotal role in transforming Bee’ah from a modest waste management company, to a regional leader in innovative environmental management solutions. Al Huraimel’s conscientious efforts have helped Bee’ah raise the bar of sustainable living practices in Sharjah and pursue endeavours that further His Highness’s vision of converting the emirate into a sustainable city. His core responsibilities at Bee’ah include devising and implementing business strategies, which are focussed on innovation, community needs and ensuring continued alignment with corporate customers.

Tammer Qaddumi

VentureSouq

Tammer Qaddumi

Tammer Qaddumi is a founding partner of VentureSouq. Previously, he was Vice President of Private Equity at Waha Capital, a diversified investment company based in Abu Dhabi with assets of c.$3 billion. Prior to joining Waha, Tammer worked in investment banking with UBS and HSBC in New York and Dubai, respectively. He served as a Fulbright Scholar in Damascus, Syria and worked with the Office of Presidential Personnel at the White House in Washington, D.C. Tammer holds a B.A. from Yale University and serves on the Board of Directors of Addax Bank in Bahrain and of the Yale Arab Alumni Association. VentureSouq (VSQ) is the leading GCC-based early stage equity funding platform, which strives to democratize capital allocation by enabling individuals to invest into sustainable enterprise. To date, VSQ has invested into 19 regional and international technology companies across 29 funding rounds, and now manages a growing network of c.700 angel & institutional investors across the GCC. In addition to its investment vertical, VSQ works with institutional partners across the region to deliver a proprietary educational curriculum and content relating to venture and early stage investing. VSQ’s ultimate goal is to create a new regional class of informed venture investors that will serve as a viable funding source to startups and early stage technology companies globally.

Heather Henyon

WAIN & Dubai Angel Investors

Heather Henyon

Heather Henyon has 18 years of experience in venture finance, entrepreneurship, emerging markets, angel investing, financial technology, credit and impact investment. She is an activist investor with a passion for global fintech and women-led start- ups. She is a Founding Partner of Athena CFO, now known as Growth Partners, an outsourced CFO and finance advisory firm for start-ups, SMEs, growth companies and investors. Previously, she was Investment Director with Eureeca, a regulated global equity crowdinvesting firm, where she was responsible for curation, products, and investments. Heather founded Balthazar Capital, a social enterprise investment advisory firm for the Arab region in 2010. As the founding general manager of Grameen-Jameel, a social business jointly owned by Grameen Foundation and Abdul Latif Jameel Group, she originated, structured and closed $44 million in leveraged commercial debt financing for microfinance institutions in Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. In 2013, Heather started the Women’s Angel Investor Network (WAIN), the first women’s angel investment group in the Middle East, and served as Interim CFO for Little Thinking Minds, WAIN’s first investment, and is currently CFO of NeedsList, a WAIN investee refugee aid matching platform. Heather started her career on Wall Street where she worked for Standard & Poor’s as a corporate bond ratings analyst in the capital goods and auto supplier sector. Past roles include project finance, 3G wireless consultant for Middle East & Africa and Vint Cerf’s internet architecture group at WorldCom.

Will Hutson

LMTD

Will Hutson

Having launched Disney into social media years ago, Will now leads LMTD's agency and consulting business. As founder and CEO, his extensive experience success in all forms of digital development, creative & social media both in MENA and around the world, position him as one of the foremost high impact executives in the GCC.

Rami Salman

Wrappup

Rami Salman

Rami is the co-founder and CEO of Wrappup. He is a lifelong entrepreneur, starting his first company at 13 years old in Washington D.C. After graduating as a Mechanical Engineer from the University of Maryland, he worked as a consultant with Bain and Company for 4 years, advising on high profile projects for clients across industries. He came up with the idea for Wrappup when he needed a tool to help him manage 7 different teams on a particular project. He was up until 3am every-night deciphering his badly written notes in order to send out the minutes of meeting. He met his co-founders at a Hackathon in Dubai, and what they managed to build in 24 hours not only won the competition, but Rami began using it in meetings the next week, and quit the next month.

Nour Al Hassan

Tarjama FZ LLC

Nour Al Hassan

Nour M. Al-Hassan is the founder and CEO of Tarjama, a leading translation company based in the United Arab Emirates, with offices extending across the region. Since its establishment in 2008, Tarjama - the Arabic word for translation – has translated over 150 million words in 30 languages for companies and organizations across the world. Nour is a staunch advocate of women’s empowerment, and Tarjama’s high impact business model is a reflection of this passion. The model utilizes a unique approach, training and employing the largest network of Arabic- speaking female translators in the world. Mindful of cultural and traditional barriers and opportunities, the company offers these women flexible schedules, work-from- home options, and competitive salaries. Over 300 women have been trained in this manner, and over 200 of them have been hired by Tarjama on a full-time or part-time basis. Nour has also pledged to train a total of 300 Saudi women by the end of 2018, enabling them with skills that can offer them better employment opportunities. Building on Tarjama’s success in women’s economic empowerment and the regional and international network of partners it has created, Nour has recently launched Ureed, a ground-breaking online platform designed to maximize the global economic impact of women’s contribution to the workforce by serving as a marketplace for all Arab translators, editors, and interpreters in the region. With more than 15 years of experience, Nour is an Aspen Fellow, a certified life coach, and a member of both the advisory board at Saint Joseph University in Lebanon and the Jordan Festival. She holds a Bachelor of Laws from the Al-Ahlia University in Jordan.

Paul Epping

Singularity University

Paul Epping

Paul Epping is an experienced program manager and technical solution architect and serial entrepreneur. Prior to joining Philips, Paul worked as an independent consultant, program manager, entrepreneur, associated professor (innovation) and interim CIO in several Dutch hospitals. Consultancy and management role were mainly in the area of innovation and IT. He was responsible for the implementation of electronic patient record systems in several hospitals. Paul is experienced in designing new IT-infrastructures in new hospitals including moving existing IT-environment to new facilities. He mentored a number of start-ups, professional presenter worldwide about impact of exponential technologies. Worked in different continents in a variety of roles such as program manager of building new hospitals. Innovation is a red thread throughout his career.

Magnus Olsson

Chief Xperience Officer and Co-Founder Careem

Magnus Olsson

Magnus looks after product and technology. A geek at heart, Magnus started his first company at the age of fifteen. After moving to the Middle East in 2006, Magnus couldn’t wait to ditch his suit and tie and roll his sleeves up. You will often find him picking up a customer phone call, or chatting to a Captain about his day. Careem is his passion and he loves to hear customer feedback at every opportunity.

Samer Choucair

VP at Crescent Enterprise Ventures

Samer Choucair

Samer is currently the VP of CE-Ventures, a division of the Crescent Group that endeavors to create and develop innovative businesses that generate a sustainable social impact and address economic, social, and environmental challenges. This is driven by the strong belief that such a triple bottom line approach to doing business is the most effective way to generate shared value for all stakeholders. Samer comes from an entrepreneurial background with more than 19 years of experience in the start-up space across a variety of industries, from entertainment to F&B, e-commerce, media, and healthcare in Canada, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Singapore. Prior to joining Crescent Enterprises in 2014, Samer was the COO of Groupon Middle-East where he was instrumental in building the company to its current leading market position. Samer is a member of several startup communities and organizations and provides mentorship on a personal level as well as through business competitions, universities, and other organizations such as the Khalifa Fund. He also sits on the investment committee of Dubai Angel Investors

Aby Sam Thomas

Entrepreneur Middle East

Aby Sam Thomas

Aby Sam Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Middle East, a business magazine catering to the region's entrepreneurs and business-minded readership. In this role, Aby heads a team that builds Entrepreneur Middle East's monthly print publications, as well as its website. As a proponent for the MENA entrepreneurial ecosystem, Aby is especially interested in stories on startups and the enterprising people behind them. Before working in the media sector, Aby was an analyst programmer with Accenture, where he worked with J. P. Morgan Chase's investment banking arm at offices in Mumbai, London and New York. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York. He can be contacted on Twitter at @thisisaby.

Katharine Budd

NOW Money

Katharine Budd

Katharine Budd is the cofounder & CEO of Dubai-based NOW Money, a mobile money and remittance app designed for the Middle East’s low-income population. 70% of the Middle East are unbanked due to not meeting the salary requirements at traditional banks. Prior to founding NOW Money, Katharine was a data scientist for Cardlytics, a US and UK fintech now valued just under $1bn. She has worked extensively with retail banks in Australia, the UK and Middle East.

Patricia Letayf

Five One Labs

Patricia Letayf

Patricia is the Director of Operations of Five One Labs, a startup incubator for refugee and conflict-affected entrepreneurs in the Middle East, launching first in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. She co-founded the organization with the aim of empowering individuals to rebuild their lives and livelihoods with dignity and to contribute to the economic growth of their communities. Prior to Five One Labs, Patricia worked as a Middle East political risk analyst for the Dubai office of consultancy Control Risks. She is also a volunteer facilitator for the Soliya Connect Program, an online cross-cultural education program. She obtained her Master of Public Administration degree from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, where she concentrated in economic and political development, and her BA in International Relations and Economics from Tufts University, with a focus on the Middle East.

Saad Umerani

Enabling Future

Saad Umerani

Saad is a Managing Partner at Enabling Future, a venture capital firm headquartered in Dubai and investing in start-ups globally. At Enabling Future, Saad has lead early stage investments in promising and truly unique companies like Cowlar (the Fitbit for cows), Alem Health (Radiologist in a box) and Alesca Life (0 mile farming). Saad is a former technology and social entrepreneur. He has created two fintech software programs at his previous company ValuStrat. These softwares have added efficiency to banks’ lending and KYC processes in the Middle East.

Wassim Malak

Awakening Worldwide

Wassim Malak

Wassim Malak is the Co-Founder of Awakening Worldwide, and Director of Awakening Live. Born in Lebanon, Wassim grew up in the Silicon Valley, California. He worked at Seagate - one of the Silicon Valley's leading technology companies - in the R&D department. As one of the pioneers behind Awakening Worldwide and Awakening Live, Wassim led the company's global expansion strategy which now has presence in over 65 countries. He has worked in partnership with media companies, multi-nationals, governments. NGOs and media companies in harnessing the full potential of faith based and value driven music. Together with Awakening's senior management team, Wassim established Awakening's Middle East office and managed the careers of two of the biggest icons of Islamic music: Sami Yusuf and Maher Zain. He is married with three children and resides in the Bay Area, California.

Joy Ajlouny

Fetchr

Joy Ajlouny

Joy Ajlouny is an e-commerce industry professional whose influence in business and entrepreneurship has spanned the globe.  Joy is the co-founder of Fetchr, a Silicon-Valley backed Technology Company based in Dubai aimed at solving the "no-address" problem hindering growth in emerging markets. Fetchr uses patented technology allowing people to use their mobile phone's GPS location as their address. Fetchr is the first start-up in the Middle East to be funded by a top venture capital firm in Silicon Valley. Joy, on behalf of Fetchr, was on the cover of Forbes Magazine in the Middle East, which named Fetchr #1 startup in the region. The company has raised $52 million in investment, including a $41 million series B round in May 2017. Prior to Fetchr, Joy founded Bonfaire, an e- commerce discovery platform for luxury footwear and accessories. Bonfaire was acquired in 2013 by fashion e-commerce giant Moda Operandi, owned by LVMH and Condé Nast.  While only 2.7% of venture capital funding has been raised by women, Joy has successfully raised funds for two startups from the most prestigious Silicon Valley venture capital firms. This puts her in the top 1% of female entrepreneurs. Joy is passionate about using technology to solve persistent issues in emerging markets, as well as empowering women entrepreneurs to break out of traditional roles, especially in the Middle East.

Anas Bukhash

Bukhash Brothers

Anas Bukhash

Anas Bukhash is one of the leading entrepreneurs in the UAE. He is the co-founder of Ahdaaf Sports Club and the founder of Bukhash Brothers. A seasoned professional with over 12 years experience in various corporate sectors, he possesses strong qualities for entrepreneurship and business leadership. In addition, he gives motivational talks on entrepreneurship at UAE universities and organizations. Anas is also a Board Member of the Dubai Sports Council. His social media profiles engage his followers in conversation through his questions and features his lifestyle and interests.

Hasan Haidar

500 Startups

Hasan Haidar

Hasan Haider is a Partner at 500 Startups, the most active Venture Capital firm in the world, based in Silicon Valley, with 1,800+ investments in 50+ countries and $330m in AuM. Hasan heads up the firms practice in the MENA region, with the Arabic speaking market being a core area of focus. 500 Startups has invested in close to 40 startups in the region over the course of the last 3 years, including Wuzzuf, Jamalon and fetchr. Hasan is also the CEO and founder of Tenmou, the first business angel’s organization in Bahrain and one of the first in the MENA region, and a founding member of the MENA Angel Investors Network (MAIN), an association of all the active angel investment groups in the region. Hasan’s work in developing angel investment in emerging markets through Tenmou has been picked up as a case study by the World Bank and is taught to Entrepreneurship Policy makers at Babson College.

Danish Farhan

Xische & Co.

Danish Farhan

Danish is an investor, strategist, entrepreneur, sailor and father. He is the founder of hybrid advisory boutique Xische & Co. in Dubai, New York & Kuala Lumpur.

Faisal Al Hammadi

Slices

Faisal Al Hammadi

Slices is a homegrown F&B company based in the UAE that offers nutritious meals in educational institutes with the goal of combating lifestyle diseases. Since its inception, the company has served more than 1,500,000 healthy meals and offered nutrition education programs to more than 1,200 students. Al Hammadi holds a Master in Business Administration degree from Columbia Business School, USA, and a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from the American University Dubai, UAE.

David Munir Nabti

Elevate Impact Accelerator & BootcampLB

David Munir Nabti

DMN works to support high impact innovation & entrepreneurship in Lebanon and the EuroMENA region. He is GM and Startup Trainer at BootcampLB (www.bootcamp-lb.com), a leading early-stage startup program in Lebanon established in partnership with Al-Mawarid Bank and Banque du Liban. He is also GM of Elevate Impact Accelerator (www.elevatemena.com), a social impact startup accelerator established in partnership with UNICEF. These efforts are designed to expand entrepreneurial skills, improve startup creation, foster innovation around critical challenges (including the LCRP and the UN-SDGs), and to develop and support a culture of creativity, collaboration, inclusivity, innovation, and high-impact entrepreneurship.

Tatiana Antonelli Abella

Goumbook

Tatiana Antonelli Abella

Tatiana Antonelli Abella is the founder and managing director of Goumbook, a Social Enterprise dedicated to raising awareness among the local community on Sustainability and Green Living: launched in 2009 it was the first green information resource for the MENA region. Today Goumbook manages different projects such as Sustainable Mena, a green directory dedicated to promote green products and services in the region; the Give a Ghaf Tree Planting Program, the only tree planting initiative of the GCC with over 30,000 seeds planted in the past 5 years, and the Drop It campaign to help businesses and individuals stop using plastic bottles. Tatiana is actively involved in the green arena and is considered one of UAE's top Environmental Influencers.

BIG HASS

Radio Host

BIG HASS

Hassane Dennaoui , a.k.a "Big Hass" is the radio host of Saudi's first & only FM Hip-Hop Radio Show "Laish Hip-Hop?" & also is the founder of Re-Volt Blog & Re-Volt Magazine. He believes in Music Liberation and supporting local & regional artists. His passion is all about being true to Hip-Hop culture. He also founded "THE BEAT" in 2013 which is a series of events aimed to support local artists by having them perform live. He has interviewed the likes of LL Cool J, Russell Simmons, K'naan, Dj Premier, Dj Kool Herc, Omar Offendum, The Narcicyst, Outlandish and many local & regional talent. Big Hass has recently relocated to Dubai to enhance his Autistic kid's life since the awareness in the UAE is much better than KSA. In August 2017, he has joined Music Streaming Service Anghami as a Hip-Hop Editor.

Wael Attili

Kharabeesh

Wael Attili

Wael is an architect by training, an avid blogger, a young entrepreneur, and a passionate storyteller.. He started his career at a very young age of 15 when he was in high school as a digital artist for Byte ME Magazine where he built his passion for design, media and technology. He followed his career as a graphic designer at Arabia.com in 1997 while he was still a student of Architecture in Jordan University. Later in 2002 he progressed his path in information design, user experience, branding and innovation in a leading branding and design company in Jordan (Syntax Design). While he was part of Syntax he co-founded the first video and photo sharing platform in the Arab world called ikbis.com back in 2005, also with the same team they tried to create an Arabic twitter clone, watwet.com and other web innovations. At the same year he launched his personal blog sha3teely.com which gained a lot of popularity and was a major reason behind initiating Kharabeesh in 2008. Kharabeesh now is considered one of the fastest growing entertainment network based on Youtube that serves Arab internet users around the world. It started as a small storytelling house for the new Arab generation and it was aiming to place Arab entertainment on the WEB map. His hobby turned career has resulted in a large profile of productions recounting stories stemming out of his society to reflect its daily realities. Wael is a 2014 Eisenhower fellow, and a 2010 Endeavor entrepreneur.

Christos Mastoras

Iliad Partners

Christos Mastoras

Christos is the Founder of Iliad Partners, a venture capital firm based in Dubai investing in early stage tech startups in MENA. He is a digital executive, tech entrepreneur and venture investor with experience in the US, Europe and MENA. Based in Dubai for the last ten years, he was previously the Head of Business Development of Yahoo Maktoob, and a management consultant with Booz & Company. He is co-founder, seed investor and Board Member of GlamBox.ME and on the Advisory Boards of Magnitt, Eventtus and The Box. Christos holds an MBA from MIT and a B.S. in International Relations from Georgetown University.

Tena Pick

The Sustainability Platform

Tena Pick

Tena is a Social impact consultant passionate about women empowerment, community development and social impact measurement. She is based in Dubai with extensive experience in the Middle East, Caribbean, Africa and South and Southeast Asia. She is a Co- founder and CEO of The Sustainability Platform, a social impact consultancy dedicated to integrating social business principles into core business operations. TSP clients include non- for profit organizations, social enterprises and CSR departments. Tena is also the Head of Social Impact for C3-Consult and Coach for a Cause. She is currently launching Project Kal, a gender leadership academy focusing on gender-based violence in India. As a mentor, Tena has traveled to Gaza, India, Africa and all over Europe to help female- owned startups grow, and is a board member for a number of impact-driven organizations. Tena is a regular speaker at social business conferences around the world and a contributor to Training Magazine Middle East and Entrepreneur ME. She focuses on female-run enterprises, gender equality and social responsibility. She has been awarded Global CSR Leadership Award, 100 Global Sustainable Leaders Award and the Iconic Women award. She holds a Master of Social Entrepreneurship from Hult International Business School and a Bachelor’s Degree in Entrepreneurial Economics from VERN University of Applied Science. She is currently pursuing a MSc in Sustainable Development from School of African and Oriental Studies, University of London.

Ramzy Ismail

Techstars

Ramzy Ismail

Ramzy is currently Director at Techstars, a leading global accelerator and $300M venture fund for early stage technology start-ups. Previously he was the Program Manager at Techstars Connection, an accelerator in partnership with Anheuser-Busch InBev and their corporate venture arm, ZX Ventures. During his time in the UAE, Ramzy was the interim Managing Director for Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi, helping lead the launch of a $10M early stage media fund and accelerator. Before relocating to the UAE, Ramzy worked for EnterBridge Mobility, a SaaS product company as the Director of Business Development. Prior to Enterbridge, Ramzy served as the Co- founder and CEO of Venuable, a mobile and web-based unique venues marketplace that was accelerated through a top 25 U.S. accelerators, Lighthouse Labs. Before becoming a founder Ramzy was an Associate in Genworth Financial’s Leadership Development Program where he rotated through M&A tax and expense analytics roles. His experience also includes corporate strategy and product development roles with VeriSign, Capital One, and the CFO of Virginia Commonwealth University, a top 100 public university in the U.S. Ramzy graduated from VCU in 2012 with dual degrees Finance and Entrepreneurship

Tamara Pupic

Entrepreneur Middle East

Tamara Pupic

Tamara Pupic is the Managing Editor of Entrepreneur Middle East, a regional business magazine based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It is the guide for the region's entrepreneurs and future business leaders. Published monthly by BNC Publishing, Entrepreneur ME has an extended distribution across the MENA region.Prior to starting her career in journalism in 2012, Tamara worked in the international trade policy development field, especially focusing on the World Trade Organization (WTO) law. She holds a master’s degree in international law and economics (MILE 8) from the World Trade Institute in Bern, Switzerland, and an LL.B. from the Faculty of Law, Belgrade, Serbia.

Dr. Shayma Fawwaz

Gossip The Brand

Dr. Shayma Fawwaz

Dr. Shayma Nawaf Al Fawwaz leveraged her world-class entrepreneurial and strategic planning skills to establish GOSSIP The Brand, which is based on innovation and creativity. Under GOSSIP’s umbrella falls several concepts such as ‘GOSSIP Cafe and Desserts,’ a gourmet cafe serving Euro-American cuisine and Emirati-inspired dishes, ‘Event Management,’ and several new upcoming concepts. GOSSIP is popular for using fresh organic ingredients in its 5-star cuisines and specialty desserts served in a warm, cozy cafe setting.

Iba Masood

TARA

Iba Masood

Iba Masood is the co-founder and CEO of TARA, the Intelligent Product Builder. Iba is a YC Alum, and was part of YCombinator's Winter 2015 class. In August 2017, Iba became a permanent resident of the United States, through the EB-1A award, which presents individuals of outstanding ability with the green card. She is also a past winner of the MIT Global Business Plan competition, and a recipient of the UN ITU Young Innovator's Award. Iba has been featured in TechCrunch, Wired and Huffington Post for her work in algorithmic pre-screening mechanisms for recruiting, and is passionate about machine learning in the world of work. She has spent the last seven years building mechanisms for pre screening and project deployment in software, for hundreds of enterprise customers. Iba is the youngest winner of the Cartier Women's Initiative Award, and has an undergraduate degree in Finance from the American University of Sharjah, graduating magna cum laude at the age of 19. Latest Achievements: 43North: $500k prize winner, Gartner: Top 20 Product Roadmapping Tools for the Enterprise, MIT Global Business Plan Competition- First Place Winner, UN ITU Young Innovator's Award- Grant of $10k, Cartier Women's Initiative Award-Grant of $20k

Ehteshamuddin PA

CEO & CO-Founder of Junkbot Robotics

Ehteshamuddin PA

CEO & CO-Founder of Junkbot Robotics. Junkbot is a Forbes listed robotic kit manufacturer founded in UAE. Junkbot is trying to bridge the gap between purists who focus on science, technology, engineering, math and those who add the 'A' for art to the mix. One pillar is that it enables learners to creatively use ordinary things available around them, including junk, to build working robots. Junkbot is now used by more than 500 schools around the world.

Karl Naim

ChefXChange

Karl Naim

Karl is the Co-Founder and CEO at ChefXchange, the online destination for Culinary Experiences, with services ranging from private dinners and catering, to cooking classes, consultancy and home cooked meals delivery. He has an extensive international background in Finance, spanning from Wealth Management, Asset Management and Private Equity with UBS AG, Goldman Sachs, and Mubadala Development Company. He also is an avid Angel Investor and mentors start ups. He received a MBA from the London Business School and a MSc in Economics & Finance from the Warwick Business School. In his free time, Karl can be found working out or cooking a storm in the kitchen.

Ghizlan Guenez

Founder & CEO at The Modist

Ghizlan Guenez

Ghizlan Guenez is the Founder and CEO of The Modist, the first global luxury ecommerce destination where leading fashion brands are curated for women who prefer to dress modestly. With offices in Dubai and London and shipping to over 120 countries, The Modist aims to address an underserved market of women who want to dress fashionably yet in a demure way, across religions, age groups and ethnicities. The modest market is estimated at $260bn and growing to reach $500bn by 2019, and The Modist is first to address this market with a luxury proposition that has, in its core, the mission to be an inclusive and empowering community platform for women globally. Originally from Algeria, Ghizlan lived most of her life in Dubai and the Middle East, and holds a first-class BSc from the London School of Economics. Ghizlan has over ten years experience in Private Equity with The Abraaj Group where she cultivated an experience in emerging markets and was responsible for brand development and partnership development in more than 30 countries. Her work in entrepreneurship, art and sustainability lead to successful long- standing partnerships with the World Economic Forum, Art Dubai, Endeavor Global to name a few. She has built and spearheaded a program responsible for the deployment of over US$100M in sustainability programs across emerging markets.

Tarig El-Sheikh

Co-founder of Beneple

Tarig El-Sheikh

Tarig El-Sheikh is an experienced entrepreneur and finance professional with a 15-year track record across emerging markets in building global businesses, technology startups and finance. Tarig is the co-founder of Beneple (formerly known as Aythan DMCC), an HR and health management platform that was successfully acquired in August 2015 after only eight months of operations. Before that, he co-founded a global e-commerce custom menswear company, Knot Standard, specializing in online and retail sales of custom clothing using proprietary online measurement technology. Tarig’s on-the-ground and direct experience in developing business plans, budget, sales and marketing, corporate development strategy, managing corporate & board responsibilities, has successfully lead to numerous million dollar growth capital funding rounds from prominent investors such as Fadi Ghandour (founder of Aramex) and Arif Naqvi (founded Abraaj Capital). He holds MBioch in Molecular Biochemistry from Oxford University, and also graduated top of his class with a Distinction MSc in Finance from the prestigious Cass Business School, London.

Mohamed Al Awadhi

Award-winning Emirati filmmaker & entrepreneur

Mohamed Al Awadhi

Mohamed Parham Al Awadhi is an award-winning Emirati filmmaker, entrepreneur, and adventurer. His career spans two decades and includes building growth strategies for some of the world's leading global brands. He is the recipient of "The 40 Most Influential Emiratis Under 40" title on the occasion of the United Arab Emirates' 40th National Day anniversary. Mohamed is widely recognized as a pioneer in social media marketing and communication in the UAE. His work on building digital communities is renowned and has been the subject of numerous industry and academic case studies, research, and white papers. Today, he is the founder of Qissa, a design and innovation consultancy that helps government organizations in the Arabian Gulf build social movements through story-telling. Qissa is actively helping its clients develop sustainable and engaging strategies that foster growth and revenue. It's resulted in some of the Gulf region's most notable campaigns like #mydubai, #ARABsmis, #VisitBritain and @shjSEEN.

Mohamed Abboud

Territory Manager at UAE IBM Middle East

Mohamed Abboud

In his role Mohamed oversees the IBM business in the North Emirates Territory, working with clients and partners across industries. His international career includes work assignments in the South Africa and Saudi Arabia. Mohamed has a passion for thought leadership around Digital Transformation, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, IOT, Security and Cloud and has spoken at many international and regional conferences. Mohamed began his career with IBM in 2007 and held several positions in services, procurement, sales & marketing. He holds a BS in Management Information Systems from the Lebanese American University in Beirut, Lebanon and many certificates like ITIL, CISA and others.

Serag Meneassy

Botler

Serag Meneassy

Serag is the co founder and COO at Botler.io - a Dubai based AI Product Studio. He and his team are determined to establish a regional AI hub and have successfully launched the Botler Bot platform, secured funding from TA Telcom - one of the leading telco technology providers and are on track to launch a suite of AI products in 2018. Serag studied at the University of Massachusetts and started his career at Groupon, before joining Deloitte and later Rocket Internet. He is determined to assemble a world class team of AI enthusiasts, engineers and help cultivate an entire eco-system.

Dana Horska

twofour54

Dana Horska

Overseeing all the direct and indirect strategic investments and partnerships at twofour54, the Abu Dhabi Media Free Zone. Supported more than 100s of startups in the region and worked closely with over 20 early and growth stage companies in the investment portfolio. Dana is also supporting the tech accelerator Flat6Labs and working closely with entrepreneurs. Focusing on growing the Abu Dhabi ecosystem through various strategic private and governmental partnerships. Previously she has been part of the team that has built the largest co-working entrepreneurship space called DTEC in Dubai Silicon Oasis.

Omar Tom

Dukkan Show

Omar Tom

Omar Tom, commonly known as OT, is a business man, communication & brand strategist, guest lecturer, and public speaker. OT is the cofounder & managing partner of the communication strategy & content agency, Cause Culture. Throughout his career, OT has developed award winning communication strategies for a diverse range of brands such as Nike, GMC, Brach’s Candy Corn, Kiva, Whole Foods, and Omantel to name a few. He currently guest lectures at AUD and gives talks at AUS. His expertise extend to building unique, purposeful brands. OT was the driving force behind the multimedia content platform known for its deep culturally rooted identity, the Dukkan Show. OT is a graduate of both AUD & Miami Ad School.

Khaled Zaatarah

360VUZ

Khaled Zaatarah

An entrepreneur with ventures in media. Innovation, creativity and digital runs in his blood. He is notably the founder and CEO of 360VUZ the pioneer virtual reality solutions in the Middle East. He graduated from the American University of Sharjah with Honors in Management and was nominated as the Entrepreneur of the Year by Arabian Business and he managed to build a client and partners portfolio including major firms globally and in the Middle East such as Dubizzle, Choueiri Group, MBC, Samsung, Apple, Facebook, Zain, du, Jordan Government, Dubai Government, King Abdullah II Development Fund and many more. Khaled’s dream is to help millions of people around the world and bring a better change. He is currently helping people travel in time virtually to see the FULL picture with full authenticity and help them save time and money. His biggest why ; is to build an educational institute in underdeveloped countries each year. Zaatarah was featured in some of the top business publications in the region such as Forbes, CNN, Reuters, Entrepreneur Magazine, Arabian Business, Al Arabiya, Khaleej Times, Gulf News, Wamda and many more.

Manal Rayess

Founder at The Garage Kids

Manal Rayess

A social entrepreneurship and the founder of The Garage Kids; an edutainment concept for children that originates from winning the first place at the Google-powered Startup Weekend DXB 2013 competition. Co-founded HerMiles meetup club as woman-to-woman empowerment initiative. An Excom member in Dubai Toastmasters Club for public speaking. Had designed many educatainment courses, conducted more than 200 workshops, developed and directed creative content and Concepts. Having a Masters degree in IT- Data and Knowledge Management from the British University in Dubai where I also worked as a research assistant, and 15+ years of experience first in the Academic field as a teaching assistant, then as IT system analyst and project management in big companies such as Dubai World Trade Center and the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing in Dubai Government. Excels at strategic planning: creating the vision, mission, identity, and processes for businesses, social enterprises, and volunteering initiatives. Published many articles in magazines and scientific papers in International conferences. Find my joy in generating creative content and concepts that made a positive impact. Enjoys reading, writing, and participating at cultural events. Engaged in the entrepreneurs community, and do volunteer work related to knowledge, global citizenship, and youth empowerment.

Ritesh Tilani

Co-founder & CEO at Joi

Ritesh Tilani

Ritesh Tilani is a serial entrepreneur and investor, with venture capital, blue chip MNC and top-tier global consulting experience. Ritesh is currently Founding Partner at 'enhance', a holding company consisting of online businesses that provide life-enhancing services to consumers. enhance has also formed strategic alliances with leading international VCs to support their portfolio companies with growing their businesses in the Middle East. enhance's current portfolio includes joi (www.joigifts.com), the leading online gift platform in the Middle East and Medigo (www.medigo.com), a global disruptor in the medical travel space. In addition, Ritesh is as a mentor, advisor, angel investor and board member to multiple startups and accelerators, a regular speaker and judge at various events and startup competitions, and the former Head of UAE at iMENA Group, making him an active player in the region’s startup ecosystem. He has also been a consultant with Bain & Company’s Singapore Office, and the Head of Strategy for MENA at Nokia. Ritesh is a native of the UAE with over 25 years of experience in the region. He holds a B.Sc. in Economics from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and an MBA from INSEAD.

Gaurav Dhar

Marshal Equipment

Gaurav Dhar

Gaurav Dhar is the Manager at Payments Solution Provider Marshal Equipment. Gaurav has been working at Marshal for over 12 years now, handling the day to day business, delivering solutions, building long-term partnerships and payment ecosystems. He personally leads the charge on innovation, with a view to the future of payments both locally and globally via his network and clients around the world which include VC's, incubators, accelerators, and start-ups. Marshal Equipment has clients in over 17 countries, with all of its IP developed in-house, based out of Dubai for the last 36 years. The company looks to cater to, foster and work with FinTech solution innovators locally and globally, depending on the maturity of the company and technology.

Jan Bijsterbosch

Co-founder & CEO at Savarin

Jan Bijsterbosch

Jan is a food service professional with over 25 years’ of international experience in design, construction and management of large central production units for meals, meal components, snacks and desserts. He is the co-founder and CEO of Savarin, a dessert company specialised in producing gourmet desserts for the hospitality, (travel) catering and retail market.

Elie El Tom

Founder of Yalla-Pickup

Elie El Tom

Founder of Yalla-Pickup FZCO, a company that will allow business owners and individuals to have an easy access to the nearest available pickup truck via web or app.

Yousuf Luiz Caires

Vice President of Expo Live

Yousuf Luiz Caires

Yousuf L. Caires is the Vice President of Expo Live, an innovation and partnership programme launched by Expo 2020 Dubai to fund, accelerate, and promote creative solutions that improve lives while preserving our planet. Expo Live will harness the convening power of a World Expo to demonstrate how innovations coming from all places and people can advance the pace of progress and inspire a more inclusive and prosperous future. In the build-up to the World Expo in 2020, Yousuf’s role is to run Expo Live’s operation and deploy of a combination of grants, challenge prizes and knowledge- sharing events focused on the universal drivers of progress: Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability, also know as the three subthemes of Expo 2020 Dubai. In addition to his current role, Yousuf is also a founding member and Managing Director of the Milele Zanzibar Foundation, a local NGO working to accelerate progress in the areas of health, education and livelihood opportunities in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Yousuf has considerable experience in managing programmes that touch on innovation with a social impact. His career includes previous leadership roles at Dubai Cares, a philanthropic organization working to improve children's access to quality primary education in developing countries, Staples Inc and the Gillette Company. Yousuf received his B.A. from Northeastern University and M.S. from Michigan State University on international trade and supply chain management.

Shant Oknayan

Regional Head of e-Commerce at Facebook MENA

Shant Oknayan

Shant Oknayan is the Regional Head of E-commerce, Retail, Online Services and Media at Facebook Middle East & North Africa As part of his role, Shant will lead efforts to enable e-commerce, retail and online services businesses in the region to scale growth and engage with consumers on Facebook.  Shant Oknayan brings with him over 15 years of experience in leading business development, with subject- matter expertise in digital and investment strategies for governments and corporations. Formerly heading Google’s market development for small & medium businesses in the Middle East & North Africa, he has a successful track record in online services. His understanding of the start-up space saw him co-found GlamBox, the first and leading beauty e-commerce company in the MENA region. Oknayan is also a regular speaker at entrepreneurship and digital business events across the region, and was nominated a ‘Top 50 SME Executive’ in 2013 by Arabian Business Start-up. He also holds a MBA from MIT and a MEng with Hons from Imperial College London.

Craig Moore

Founder & CEO at Beehive

Craig Moore

As Founder and CEO, Craig is responsible for overseeing the overall strategic direction and managing the day-to- day operations of Beehive. Before founding Beehive, Craig was a Founder & COO of Butterfly Software, a data analytics and migration software company acquired by IBM in September 2012. Prior to Butterfly his experience includes various sales, consulting and finance roles at numerous multinational companies such as Dell, EMC, Hitachi and HSBC with an emphasis on shaping effective go to market and value propositions.

Shahzad Bhatti

The bureau dubai

Shahzad Bhatti

Shahzad Bhatti, "The Anti Expert" shares his knowledge not claiming to be an expert but an example of a self-taught entrepreneur. His motto is if he can launch and grow a startup then any entrepreneur who puts in the time, has a passion and drive can as well. With a real estate background, Shahzad launched one of the first co-working spaces in Dubai and is creating an ecosystem of concepts to make it easier and more affordable for startups and entrepreneurs to start and grow their business. His latest tech startup, Share This Space, is an online booking platform similar for Airbnb but for commercial spaces. This has gained him a unique insight into developing a tech product, raising funding and how to disrupt one of the biggest industries in the world.

Chaker Khazaal

StepGroup

Chaker Khazaal

Editor-in-Chief of STEP Group, acclaimed author of Confessions of a War Child trilogy and Tale of Tala, speaker, and reporter — graduated with a B.A. in International Development Studies from York University in Canada. He has won several awards for his novels and articles in the Huffington Post. Chaker has spoken at numerous venues and panels such as the United Nations (New York), Google HQ (San Fransisco), Thomson Reuter Foundation (London), Harvard Conference (Jordan), etc. An advocate for humanitarian causes, Chaker was named Esquire Man of the Year (2015) and Most Influential Arab Under 40 (2016).

Mona Ataya

Mumzworld

Mona Ataya

Mona Ataya has proven to be one of the Middle East’s most prominent of women entrepreneurs. The co-founder of Bayt.com, arguably the most successful online search engine for jobs in the Middle East, is now working to disrupt the well-ingrained retail space in the Middle East with the goal of assisting mothers with their maternity, infant and childcare product needs. Ataya’s latest venture is Mumzworld.com, a leading gold standard e-commerce vertical for baby and child shopping in the Middle East region that has been going from strength to strength.

Abdulsalam Haykal

Haykal Group

Abdulsalam Haykal

Abdulsalam Haykal is CEO of Haykal Group, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The group includes companies in enterprise software (Transtek Systems), media (Haykal Media Group, publisher of the Arabic editions of Harvard Business Review, Popular Science, and Aliqtisadi.com), and Labeeb Labs which develops digital services, e-commerce ventures, and Arabic language technology products. Haykal is a graduate of the American University of Beirut, and SOAS, University of London. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the American University of Beirut and Kalamoon University in Syria, and the advisory board of EARTH University in Costa Rica. He is a member of the Young Global Leaders at the World Economic Forum, and a recipient of the Arab Thought Foundation’s Innovation Award.

Khalid Alkhudair

Glowork

Khalid Alkhudair

Khalid; is a serial entrepreneur and his current role is the Founder and CEO of Glowork, an employment organization that has created thousands of jobs for women and placed over 30,000 women thus far. He is the first Saudi Ashoka Fellow, Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum & an Endeavor Entrepreneur. Previously at the age of only 28 he held the role of Chief Operating Officer- Markets at KPMG in Saudi, Kuwait and Jordan. Khalid managed to lead the firms he worked with to over 30 key awards which were aligned to the firm's overall corporate goals and strategy.in 2013 Khalid led Glow Group to an investment to expand its current operations into different verticals and has led it from startup to a well-established business with over 120 employees. He has a Bachelors in Commerce degree from Saint Mary’s University in Canada with three majors, Marketing, HR and Psychology, and has completed his Executive Education in Leadership at the University of Yale, and in Political Science From Harvard Kennedy School. Khalid is an active writer in international publications such as the Huffington Post, all this led him to being awarded The King Salman Award for Entrepreneurship, #3 Most Influential Arab by Arabian Business, Amends Fellow at Stanford university, and ranked #1 Most influential Saudi by Arabian Business. Khalid also sits on a number of Advisory boards throughout the Globe such as the L'Oréal Global Panel of Critical Friends.

Sonia Weymuller

VentureSouq

Sonia Weymuller

Sonia Weymuller is a Founding Partner of VentureSouq, a UAE-based early stage investing platform that has funded tech ventures from the US, UK, Africa, India and the MENA region. Previously, she headed Advertising Sales for Turner Broadcasting’s portfolio of children’s platforms across MENA and Africa. Prior to Turner, Sonia worked with Viacom’s Emerging Markets’ Strategy Group and Microsoft’s Strategy and M&A team in London. Sonia holds a B.A. from Yale University and a MSc from the London School of Economics. She is a Charter Member for TiE's Dubai chapter, serves as the UAE Director for the Yale Alumni Schools Committee, is a Board member and mentor for e7 Daughters of the Emirates and an advisor to Air Shepherd, a non-profit that harnesses the power of technology to pre-empt poaching activities in Africa.

Yasmine Hammad

Salaty

Yasmine Hammad

Yasmine Hammad, is the founder and Creative Director of Salaty and a mother of two beautiful girls. She founded Salaty with sincere passion towards making prayer a beautiful experience, especially for children. Her own children were her true inspiration to the process of designing and producing interactive educational products as well. Before devoting her work and full attention to Salaty, she worked with Non-Governmental organisations like UNICEF as a consultant. Also, worked in the Egyptian government straight after majoring in Political Science from American University in Cairo. She hopes that one day, she will be able to see the Aurora Borealis and start a foundation focusing on unfortunate children and further inspire younger generations.

Nida Sumar

Nida Sumar

Nida Sumar is an entrepreneur, chef, trader and a CFA charterholder. She has over a decade of experience in the finance industry followed by two years in the catering business. Her passion for food and business has led her to currently becoming the founder and CEO of KEZA (www.keza.it), a food tech company that optimizes the logistics and availability of healthy, local and sustainable ingredients and food concepts in the region. Her work has been recognized by the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, as well as MENA’s Achieving Women by Entrepreneur ME. Her company, KEZA, has also been featured in the likes of Khaleej Times, The National, Arabian Business, MergerMarket and the likes. Nida has previously worked with KPMG, US and E&Y, Dubai from the Big4 in the finance industry as well as CHEP, ME - the leader in logistics before moving her focus to SME development. She was a financial advisor to three local SMEs and served as CFO for Pioneer Kinetics, another SME, while operating her catering business. Nida was born and raised in the UAE and is an Alumni of American University of Sharjah and Minnesota State University where she majored in Accounting and Finance and later pursued her charter from the CFA Institute. She also trained as a chef at Le Cordon Bleu and Roxbe and is currently pursuing a degree in Plant Based Nutrition from Cornell University.

Medea Nocentini

Medea Nocentini

Medea Nocentini is Co-Founder and CEO at Consult and Coach for a Cause (C3), a UAE-based organization fostering the social enterprise ecosystem in the MENA region. Prior to that, Medea was Senior Vice President Strategy at OSN, the leading Pay TV platform in the MENA region, where she was responsible for corporate development, strategy planning and management, as well as market and consumer intelligence. Before joining OSN, she spent several years at Booz & Co developing strategies for media, consumer, and social sector’s clients across Europe, the United States, and Middle East. She holds an MBA from Columbia Business School (New York, USA), a BA in mechanical engineering from Politecnico di Torino (Italy) and an engineering diploma from Ecole Centrale Paris (France).

Hashim Alzaabi

Hashim Alzaabi

An economics graduate from AUS working at BCG and running 4 startups simultaneously. The startups are interrelated from software development, iot, blockchain and digital marketing.

Daniel Ludwig

Daniel Ludwig

Daniel is bi-lingual (English / German - native) Venture Development Associate at Sheraa. With work experience in US, UK and Asia first in event and conference industry, he decided to focused on teaching soft skills to young social entrepreneurs in the last years. Solving local social issues in an entrepreneurial way together with the young generation has always been an important part in his work. As Co-Founder of SocialStartup.co and core member of TEDxLondon, priority for him is to advice and consult on design and digital products that customers want, while applying Social Entrepreneurship for local social change.

Farida El Agamy

Farida El Agamy

Farida F. El Agamy is the General Manager of the Tharawat Family Business Forum, the private network and knowledge hub for family-owned companies in the Middle East and North Africa, since 2009. With her professional background as a lawyer, Farida F. El Agamy joined the founders of the Tharawat Family Business Forum to support and foster the sustainability, innovation, and growth of family firms. She has set up a variety of programs around corporate entpreneurship for business owners and is a founding member of the global Women in Family Business (WIFB) network. She is currently also Editor-at-Large of the Tharawat magazine, and a Director at Target Developments LLC, and Orbis Terra Media LLC her family’s firms in Switzerland. Farida read law in Switzerland and the UK and qualified as a barrister at the Swiss bar. She practiced administrative, corporate and contract law in a leading Swiss law firm, and worked for several local and federal government agencies. Her previous professional experience include positions as associate lawyer at the United Nations in Geneva, and as executive level advisor on corporate structures and transformation of family-owned firms. Speaking six languages, Farida's Dutch and Egyptian family backgrounds and international upbringing have shaped her global understanding and her active social engagement, always striving for a better understanding within families, between regions and people.

Monty Munford

Monty Munford

Monty Munford is an emcee/panellist/moderator /interviewer ​ and speaker at events such as SXSW, ​BDL Accelerate, ​The Europas, Slush, STEP, Zest, Digital K, Startup Village, South Summit, Mobile Web Africa and others in cities such as London, San Francisco, Beirut, ​Helsinki, Moscow, Dubai, Lagos, Madrid, Sofia, Austin and Dublin. "He writes a weekly tech columnist for Forbes in New York and a monthly business/tech columnist in London for the BBC and writes regularly on technology for The Economist, MIT Tech Review, Wired UK, Newsweek, VentureBeat TechCrunch, Mashable​,​ Fast Company and The Memo​ among others​.​ He has a well-trafficked tech blog, Mob76 Outlook, which has more than 110,000 unique visitors per month."The highpoint of his interviewing career to date was in November 2016 was a 60-minute one-to-one conversation with Steve Wozniak in front of 8,000 people in Beirut.

Hamza Hawsawi

Hamza Hawsawi

Hamza Hawsawi, whose rich and soulful vocals evoke R&B greats of generations past, rocketed into the limelight after winning the fourth season of The X Factor Middle East in 2015, winning him a record deal and a trip to London to meet Simon Cowell. Two years later, the Saudi singer, has left his label and independently released his soaring debut single, “Love A Little”, with the expertise of British-Filipino music producer Max Herman. Recorded at London’s prestigious Metropolis Studios with a string quartet and choir, and filmed in Los Angeles, “Love A Little” champions the importance of feeling emotions and encouraging love. The 25 year old is currently based in Dubai and working on collaborations, recording and shooting videos for his all-English album coming soon. Hamza opened up for Justin Bieber's Purpose World Tour date in Dubai on May 6th and performed to a crowd of over 12000 fans. He had the honor of singing the American and Saudi National Anthems for the Harlem Globetrotters game in Riyadh. At TEDx Jeddah, Hamza gave a talk and performance, demonstrating music as a global language that emerges between cultures and nations. At the STEP Music Conference, he shared his journey and insight about the R&B scene and its’ future in the MENA region. Hamza also collaborated and stars in his own ‘Make Your Mark’ episode of Netflix original series “The Get Down” which was shared across all platforms and available globally. In 2016, Hamza collaborated on Saudi Telco Mobily’s TV Commercial, Aljay Afdhal (The Best Is Yet To Come) annual Eid advert. Featured on TV screens across the Gulf, the tune, which touched on themes like hope and faith, went to rack up over 5.6 million views on Youtube and won awards at leading marketing industry festivals in the MENA. In December 2016, Hamza performed at Dubai Airports’ musicDXB. The project offers a platform to regional and international stars, both physically via live performances in the airport and virtually - via Dubai Airport’s social media channels with a reach of nearly 2 million.

Noha Mahdi

Noha Mahdi

Noha Mahdi is the Founder of The Mawada Project. Her organization empowers youth to serve their communities and develop their character and life skills. Also an education consultant, she has worked on a broad range of educational projects, creating programs in the UAE related to design and innovation, technology in education, STEM camps, adult professional development and community-service learning. Passionate about education at all levels, Noha is a lifelong learner who enjoys cultivating experiential, interdisciplinary and holistic learning experiences. She believes in the indispensable role of culture and community in the learning process and deeply enjoys contributing to the expansion of people's mental, social and emotional horizons. Noha holds a Master of Education degree in Educational Neuroscience from Harvard University as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from McGill University.

Hanane Benkhallouk

Hanane Benkhallouk

Hanane Benkhallouk is a consultant with a broad scope of expertise, a business practitioner with over 18+ years of professional experience holding senior managerial positions in Fortune 500 companies, government and non-profit organizations, across a multitude of industries, and global markets within Europe, U.S. and the MENA region. In Dubai since 2005 coming from New York where, she graduated with an MBA in marketing and finance. Hanane is passionate about human capital development and has undertaken major consultancy projects in the field. While heading projects at the entrepreneurship and innovation department at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum foundation, she supervised the production of The Arab Human Capital Challenge report in collaboration with PWC, as well as the Arab Knowledge report in collaboration with UNDP. She is the Co-founder of Sustain Leadership, a Dubai based consultancy focused on cultivating, talent, leadership, Entrepreneurship and social Innovation, she is also the founder of C2C from concept to completion, a small consultancy that worked with startups and micro entrepreneurs on developing their ideas from ideation to implementation. Hanane has been actively involved in entrepreneurship development since her university days in New York, with a focus on women economic empowerment that she is passionate about, she participate as a speaker and organizer at many related events, such as the MENA business Network Forum in Dubai, as well as the celebration of Entrepreneurship, the Cherie Blair foundation UAE program for women entrepreneurs in UAE and others. Hanane is a mentor, business coach, facilitator and a trainer at major incubators and accelerators in the UAE, such as the Cribb, Impact hub, the entrepreneurship center at Abu Dhabi university, Intelak at Dubai SME and DTEC. Hanane was recognized by the Emirates Foundation in Abu Dhabi as a senior mentor in November 2015. In March 2016, Hanane received the “Saphira” award by the Moroccan government as leader in her field, and for her dedication to youth and female talent leadership development, and in March 2017 she was awarded by Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Humaid of Ajman, for her contribution to the Abdulaziz Leadership Program, that aims at developing regional leaders from the GCC. Hanane’s profile has been featured by the world bank among a number of the members of the diaspora of the MENA region living abroad and who are willing to give back to their region. Hanane aspires to contribute to the MENA region’s move towards an innovation and knowledge based economy.

Ibrahim Colak

Ibrahim Colak

Ibrahim Colak is the core founder and current Chief Executive Officer of mrUsta. Prior to launching mrUsta in 2014 with three other co-founders, Ibrahim spent the best of the past two decades in leading roles in engineering and marketing for global brands such as Vestel, Nokia, and Microsoft. His core strength as a problem-solver for Nokia lead to the development of mrUsta, a company with the aim to solve the headache of customers trying to connect to the right service provider in the UAE and beyond. His role at the helm of mrUsta has not gone without attracting attention, having been nominated for ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2014’, ‘Business Excellent Leadership Award’, and as testament to his vision, mrUsta was nominated for ‘Startup of the Year’ in 2016. In addition, mrUsta was awarded ‘Life-Admin App of the Year’, also in the same year. Ibrahim and mrUsta have also become favorites with the media, having been featured in CNN, The National, Arabian Business, Entrepreneur Middle East, Inc. Arabia, and other leading international and regional news platforms. Aside from his day-to- day corporate undertaking in mrUsta, Ibrahim also takes the time to mentor up-and- coming young entrepreneurs, helping them maneuver through the complexities of all aspects of running a start-up in the UAE. Ibrahim holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Yildiz Technical University and an MBA from Beykent University, both top-tiered educational institutions in his native Istanbul, Turkey.

Walied Albasheer

Inbound L.L.C.

Walied Albasheer

Walied is a serial entrepreneur brings over 20 years of expertise in technology, innovation, sustainability, tourism, mobility & data science, He is a Top 50 Most Impactful Social Innovator (Global Listing), Top 100 Sustainable CEO's (Middle East), Young Arab Leader (YAL) and a member of Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), an entrepreneur, who has scaled ventures from start to global success such Formula Word Sport who has been the exclusive promoter to UIM F2 World Cup. Walied is currently the founder & CEO of INBOUND a Connected Vehicles & Intelligent Mobility Startup from Dubai severing the region most mission-critical to solve daily mobility challenges through IOT, M2M, Autonomy, AI & Machine Learning. Walied has been a supporter of the entrepreneurship in the region, during the course of his career Walied has trained 10th of local and expertise students from HTC, Sharjah University, Singapore Management University he has always believed in the young youth as main drivers for the economy. In 1998 he joined the founders of cityshow.com which was the first listing directory in GCC starting from Oman. In 2000 he then joined the founding team for a major government online initiative in UAE to promote commerce & tourism “sharjahtourism.ae”; he was also a founding member of the committee to establish sharjah.ae. In 2006 he co-founded Formula World Sport as the first sports marketing agency in the region, taking it to global success by acquiring the exclusive world promoter-ship for UIM F2 World Cup Powerboats championship. In 2008 he joined the advisory board for Emirates Investment Group providing corporate strategy & business performance consultancy to subsidiaries such as Enshaa PJSC, Capital Club, Palazzo Versace, and Emirates Financial Tower. In 2011 he founded INBOUND in Dubai to bring the latest innovation in digital sphere to the region, INBOUND is providing service such as Driver Behavior Management, Student Transportation Safety Monitoring, Environmental Driving Enhancement, to clients such as Emirates Transport, Emirates Airline, Emirates Post, Abu Dhabi Education Council, Government Summit, ARMS Group, Qatar Post etc. In 2013 he founded Stationery, Inc as the first and largest school & Office Supplies eCommerce service, as a pure play, dropship e-commerce Stationery, Inc is bringing efficiency, availability & value to clients in the region through a partnership with top-tier suppliers. In 2014 Walied has introduced Elance to the UAE through the mobilization program; he worked with In5, The Cribb, Arabian Business, Turn8 to introduced “Work from Anywhere”, “Reinvent Work” and “The Pulse Community” to support entrepreneurship and to fight unemployment, after only 6 months from the launch the effort was very successful that Elance-Odesk now has started a full operation in UAE. Walied has been working with Dubai Tech Night, Capital Club, Startup weekend, i360 Accelerator, Ibtikari, Tejar Dubai, Ruwad, In5, YAL, Elance-Odesk, and Impact HUB, to add value to the ecosystem through mentorship, events, and presentations.

Dunia Othman

Dunia Othman

Dunia Othman co-founded mrUsta in 2014 along with three other partners. Coming from a diverse background and calling two vastly different countries home (the UAE and New Zealand), Dunia’s over 15 years of professional life has seen her leading development and marketing efforts across a plethora of countries – including New Zealand, Canada, Iraq, and the UAE – for major brands such Microsoft, Nokia, and software firms in New Zealand. Her experience brings an analytical mind, creative thinking, and strategic outlook to the table and has been a deciding factor in the success of mrUsta. Outside of mrUsta, Dunia has been very active supporting and mentoring women entrepreneurs in the UAE, playing key roles with groups such as Executive Women, Mompreneurs Middle East, and others to provide the right tools for budding female entrepreneurs in the country. She has also been regularly featured in the media, with Zawya (Thomson Reuters) and MBC covering her story, amongst others. In addition, she’s a regular speaker in key events in Dubai and the UAE, and has spoken in events such as INSEAD’s International Women’s Day panel. Dunia holds a bachelor in electrical and electronics engineering from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and post-graduate diploma in management from the New Zealand Institute of Management.

Sharene Lee

Sharene Lee

Sharene Lee is the cofounder of Melltoo No-Meetup Classifieds. She is working to make the world a more sustainable place by reselling and reusing. Melltoo not only makes buying and selling preowned items so easy it becomes second nature, the marketplace also helps charities transform in-kind donations into cash for a cause. #Resell4aCause. Sharene is a serial entrepreneur, having successfully exited businesses in Los Angeles and Paris. Having spent many years in consumer-facing businesses, she spends a lot of time testing and implementing different user acquisition strategies.

Morrad Irsane

Morrad Irsane

Morrad Irsane is the cofounder of Melltoo, a peer2peer marketplace for secondhand things with in-app payments and door to door delivery. A serial entrepreneur, Morrad has had several successful exits in Los Angeles and France and has been in the UAE since 2005. Having been raised in a family of 15, buying and selling secondhand has always been a way of life. However, classifieds are full of scams and are generally a headache. Morrad wanted to create a buying and selling experience in a community of trust and that was hassle-free. In addition, he wanted to use the marketplace as a way to give back to society. In addition to being p2p, Melltoo is also c2c, Cash2Cause. Melltoo helps you transform your stuff into cash for a cause. #Resell4aCause

Shamek Farrah

Shamek Farrah

A veteran in the music industry with a solid experience of over 13 years as a Music Composer for London music collective, The Company. Once signed to Grammy award-winning label Superstar Records, the experience and connections gained within the industry lead to the birth of Licata Records. Shamek is now currently developing new talents in the UK, Europe and the Middle East and pushes for the day to bring to light the birth of a new sound of music.

Abdulla Matar

Abdulla Matar

Abdulla; is a social entrepreneur that loves travelling and passionate about meeting other cultures. He transferred his passion into being the Co-Founder of Meet The Locals; a unique culture, tourism and social enterprise created thousands of interactions between expats and the local community. MTL plans to strategically enhance the tourist journey in the UAE & promote sustainable tourism all over the Emirates. Abdulla is an HR expert worked in different multicultural organizations such as Emirates Group. He is sparing his time at the moment to invest in empowering and training UAE nationals to be competent Tour Guides & Cultures’ experts.

Sabah Al Binali

Sabah Al Binali

Dr. Sabah Hamad al-Sabah al-Binali is an active investor and entrepreneurial leader, with a track record of financing, building and growing companies in the Mena region. He shares his experiences in The National newspaper and other media. Dr. al-Binali has served as the Chief Investment Officer and CEO of Credit of SHUAA Capital, Director of the Board at Credit Suisse Saudi Arabia, Chairman of Shuaa Capital Saudi Arabia, Vice Chairman of Gulf Finance Co., Chairman of Gulf Installments Co., Chairman of Zawya, founding CEO and CIO of Saffar Capital and Head of the Treasury and Investment Division at Union National Bank as well as Director of the Board at Visa International CEMA Region. Dr. al-Binali holds a Diploma in Company Direction from the UK Institute of Directors. Dr. al-Binali received his Ph.D. from Columbia University, dissertation title: Competitive Analysis of Risk-Taking and Valuation of Financial Derivatives, and a B.S.E from Princeton University.

Maha Abouelenein

Maha Abouelenein

Maha Abouelenein is one of the region’s top communications executives. From working with tech giants like Google and Netflix to homegrown regional brands like Careem and Orascom, Maha has built her career advising fortune 500 companies, high growth tech startups and top governments in the USA, UAE and Egypt. She is the founder of Organizational Consultants and you can read all about her breadth of experience in media, marketing, PR, events, digital communications and crisis management on her upcoming blog DigitalandSavvy.com which launches December 1st. Raised and educated in the USA to Egyptian parents, she is home in both West and Arab worlds. She thrives on storytelling, building scalable campaigns and thought leadership.

Vijay Tirathrai

Vijay Tirathrai

Vijay Tirathrai is Managing Director of Techstars Dubai Accelerator, where he is currently launching the first GCC-based accelerator that attracts global talent backed by the $300M Techstars Ventures Fund. Prior joining Techstars, Vijay was the former CEO and Chairman of the Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) based in Washington D.C. where he led 12,000 leading entrepreneurs worldwide whose combine revenue of $600billion, learn and grow through an extensive network with access to global resources. Vijay is a serial entrepreneur having founded 3 successful start-ups in Asia. In earlier years, he also lead mid-size organizations in retail and manufacturing for international markets. He is proactive in the entrepreneurial ecosystem as mentor and investor, as well as served on several non-profit boards such as the Young President Organization (YPO) and Richmond University.

Moe Al-Husseini

Moe Al-Husseini

Moe Al-Husseini's interest in sustainable technologies began during his engineering studies at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada and continued to evolve during his time at international companies such as Husky Energy and Jacobs. In his pursuit of a greater good and seeking to challenge the status quo, Moe made the switch from Chemical Engineering to his current role as Business Development Manager at Taka Solutions where he strives to do his part in growing an emerging industry and deliver comprehensive energy solutions to his clients every day.

samya ayish

Journalist

samya ayish

Samya Ayish is a freelancing journalist, with more than 10 years experience in digital media and content production. Her area of focus is premium content and the promotion of life style content on different social media platforms. Samya has worked for a number of digital platforms, including CNNArabic, the Emirates Policy Center in Abu Dhabi and the Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein Campaign for FIFA Presidency. Her scope of work also includes writing about cinema, and specifically Arab Independent Filmmaking, and through her podcast “Scene Cinema”, Samya tries to initiate a wide discussion about the stories told in the Arab world through film. Samya Ayish has also conducted several workshops for children with Kalimat, in Sharjah, where she also published her first children’s book.

Dia Haykal

Haykal Media

Dia Haykal

BA in Business Administration, American University of Beirut; two Master's degrees in Corporate Communication, and in Visual Media, IE Business School, Madrid. Head of Content, Haykal Media, a leading publisher and content maker, based in twofour54 Abu Dhabi and known for publishing Harvard Business Review Arabia and Aliqtisadi.com. Leads the content creation and translation. Editor-in-Chief, Popular Science Arabia. Member: President's Young Advisory Board, EARTH University, Costa Rica; international fundraising committee, British Red Cross. Advises non-profits on content, social media and online presence. Works in empowering Syrian refugees through entrepreneurship education.

Ala’ Alsallal

Jamalon

Ala’ Alsallal

Ala' Alsallal is the Founder and CEO of Jamalon, the largest online store for Arabic and English books in the MENA region, offering more than 10 million titles with worldwide delivery. Jamalon’s ultimate aim is to develop from an e-commerce offering for books into a disruptor of the publishing industry in the MENA region by enabling authors and IP rights owners to bypass the dysfunctional regional publishing industry and access the full value chain for publishing including printing, distribution and discovery. Ala' has worked on web development projects since 2004, and he has been working to administer the translation process of Wordpress.com into Arabic since 2006. As an undergraduate, Ala’ supervised a team of volunteers who translated “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” into Arabic and it crossed 1M downloads in 1 month, which was a driving force in the later creation of Jamalon.com. He holds a Masters of Science in Information Technologies and Telecommunications from Athens Information Technology and a Bachelors of Computer Science from Philadelphia University. Before starting Jamalon, he worked for CCC as an Automation Engineer in five different countries.

Badr Ward

Lamsa

Badr Ward

Badr Ward instigated the industry of Digital Edutainment Content for Children across the Arab World. He is the founder and CEO of Lamsa, MENA’s 1st and leading Edutainment Platform for Children which is ranked as the number one application for Children across more than 10 Arabic markets on both Google’s Play and Apple’s App Store, and continues to produce, publish, and deliver hundreds of Interactive Digital Content to more than 9 Million Arabic speaking Children globally. Lamsa is a state-of-the-art digital platform that delivers knowledge and literacy and allows child development in an interactive, perceptive, and exciting manner to Arab-speaking children throughout their childhood journey. The ever- growing, internationally elite team of specialists at Lamsa have been working assiduously to provide its users with a new level of revolutionary technological capacities and brand new characters, thus leaving the user with an edifying encounter.

Gary Sheynkman

Gary Sheynkman

Gary is principal at The Fly Labs, an advisory and investment firm responsible for launching Techstars Dubai and GINCO Investment's first early-stage fund. He also advises Dubai's government on policy and programming initiatives to support its startup community - most recently Area 2071. Previously, Gary was a product lead at VICE Media and Abu Dhabi Media. Gary can be found everywhere online under the username @sheynk. Say hello!

Chad Fox

Chad Fox

Founder and Managing Director at Disruptive.Legal - Startup Lawyer - Angel Investor - Advisor

Walid Aradi

Walid Aradi

Walid Aradi is the co-founder of Tahseen Consulting, one of the Arab Region’s fastest growing public policy consulting firms specialized in the intersection of technology, government, and public policy. Tahseen Consulting is the Arab World’s first strategy firm focused on helping technology companies and startups partner with governments. Since cofounding the company, Aradi has led more than 100 client engagements serving leading global technology companies and startups in the Arab World and South Asia. Among his recent engagements, Aradi has advised on the regional go-to-market government relations strategy of a global sharing economy company, supported a leading agtech startup establish operations in the region, and provided strategic planning and execution support to establish a leading entrepreneurship center in the GCC.

Asher Siddiqui

Asher Siddiqui

Asher Siddiqui is a Partner at 500 Startups, dividing his time between Dubai and San Francisco, where he is a partner leading the global Opportunity Fund - which plans to make investments in selected existing portfolio companies, to double down on "our winners", typically at the Series B stage and onwards. Asher brings extensive board and management experience to 500 and to the Opportunity Fund. Asher was previously Head of M&A and later Head of Venture Capital at Etisalat Group (c. $43bn market cap) where, for 10 years, he was part of the management team that led the transformation of Etisalat into a major regional operator. He led over 36 advanced stage deals valued at approximately $34bn and closed 18 transactions valued at c.$8bn (9 significant sized transactions and 9 VC deals). Asher started his career in the late 90's and founded several startups in the UK and the USA. - Website: www.500.co - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ashersiddiqui - LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashersiddiqui

Mashal Waqar

the tempest

Mashal Waqar

Mashal Waqar is the co-founder and CTO of The Tempest, the fastest growing media company changing the narrative of diverse millennial women in the world. She is a strong advocate of accessibility, diversity, and inclusion, and has been awarded the "Young Leader of the Year" at the 19th WIL Economic Forum. She previously worked on Deaf accessibility initiatives at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), Dubai campus, and is currently leading the accessibility pivot at The Tempest. Waqar strongly believes in empowering women and bringing their voices to the forefront; her prior work experience comes from transitioning in roles in cyber security, digital marketing, and tech while working for various startups. She is also passionate about bringing forward conversations of mental health; she recently worked on a UNHRD project in collaboration with RIT Dubai, to help children in crisis, from a behavioral and neuroscience perspective. She has given a TED talk on the power of social media and has been a speaker at the Global WIL Economic Forum. She’s been an active part of the community, advocating for changes at RIT Dubai, and globally at the RIT Student Government Consortiums in Croatia and the U.S. She started the Dubai campus’ first student-run publication as editor-in-chief of WRITERS Magazine, served as Student Government President 2016, IEEE Student Branch chair, and was the UAE delegate for the RIT 2017 Commencement Ceremony. She was also awarded the President’s Cup award for her contributions to the RIT community.

Colin Rhys

Hyperloop One

Colin Rhys

Colin Rhys’s desire to explore the human experience in relation to environment and creativity launched in 2004, with his role as owner/executive director of the RHYS art gallery. Nine years, stunning international exhibitions in six different continents & over thirty-two countries later, RHYS was a globally-recognized brand. Ignited by his unequivocal success in fine arts, Colin was driven to the intersections of design and architecture in 2010. He began building and designing bespoke residences in the greater Los Angeles area for the Xanadu Group, with the purpose to enrich human experience in physical spaces. By 2016, after recognized successes on multimillion dollar projects—several of which earned international acclaim, awards and critical acknowledgement, including multiple features on Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing – Colin was ready for his next creative evolution. Hyperloop became that visionary opportunity, where Colin’s experimentalist passion and expertise in design intersect with a company whose mission will rewrite our ideas of transportation.

Noah Raford

Noah Raford

Chief Operating Officer & Futurist in Chief at the Dubai Future Foundation. 21st Century approaches to 21st Century challenges. Weaponised foresight, design and innovation for governments and large institutions, with a focus on pre-legal policy prototyping and emerging technologies. Working for a better world.

Shahd AlShehail

Shahd AlShehail

Shahd AlShehail’s career has been dedicated to building sustainable and scalable models to promote social and economic development. In 2014, she co-founded Project JUST, a social enterprise that leverages technology to create transparency and accountability in fashion supply chains. She also launched Herfah by Naeema, a RTW line in collaboration with her aunt designer Naeema AlShuhail that is committed to preserving the craftsmanship “herfah” of regional artisans by giving them a sustainable source of income, and combining their work with modern aesthetics and designs that transcend time and culture. She has been a guest speaker at major global events such as Ted Talks, Harvard Social Enterprise Conference and the Global Competitiveness Forum. Shahd is from Saudi Arabia, holds an MBA from Johns Hopkins University, and has worked globally in Rwanda, Turkey, Armenia, and India.

Adil Al Zarooni

Adil Al Zarooni

Mr. Adil Ismail Al Zarooni has 16 years of experience in executive management, investments, sales, logistics, IT security and special economic zones development within UAE government entities and family owned businesses. Adil founded Al Zarooni Emirates Investments LLC (ZEI) in 2009, which is the UAE holding company managing his family assets that span over private equity, public equity, investment funds and real estate. Mr. Al Zarooni holds directorship positions in firms in the sectors of healthcare, financial services, logistics, media, real estate and more. Prior to that, Adil held the role of Senior Vice President for Development and Sales at Economic Zones World (EZW) and JAFZA. He also assisted in the setup of Mobily Telecom in Saudi Arabia and worked for Etisalat Telecoms in the UAE. While structuring his family business, Adil grew an academic interest in the subject of institutionalising family businesses in the UAE and the region. He carries a social goal to help families sustain their businesses as he does his own, and is often a speaker on the subject and a reference point. He holds a bachelor degree in Engineering from Etisalat College of Engineering, and an MBA from the American University of Sharjah. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in the subject of family businesses.

Jassem albloushi

Jassem albloushi

Deputy head of retail banking group at Sharjah Islamic Bank

Marwan Al Serkal

Marwan Al Serkal

Sharjah Investment & Development Authority - Shurooq, Experienced Chief Executive with a demonstrated history of working in the investment management industry. Skilled in Negotiation, Business Planning, Operations Management, Analytical Skills, and Coaching. Strong business development professional with a Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.Sc.) focused in Applied Science in Business Administration from Higher College of Technology.

Saud Al Nowais

Saud Al Nowais

Mr. Saud Al Nowais, Commercial Counselor for the United Arab Emirates to the United States of America, took office in July 2009. Since then, Mr. Al Nowais has focused on strengthening the bilateral trade relationship between the US and the UAE, assisting both countries in identifying mutually beneficial trade and investment opportunities. Mr. Al Nowais operates at all levels of government and business in a continued effort to bring prosperity and growth to both economies as well as facilitate the development of commercial relationships between the two nations. 
 Previously, Mr. Al Nowais held a managerial position at the Executive Affairs Authority of Abu Dhabi (EAA) in the Economic Department. Mr. Al Nowais worked on energy- related projects and programs, such as oil and gas initiatives, alternative sources of energy and most recently the UAE’s nuclear program. He also worked on environmental and social issues in tandem with industry representatives to affect positive change throughout the country. The Executive Affairs Authority is a government entity that supports the Chairman of the Executive Council of Abu Dhabi, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi & Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. EAA is responsible for creating policy and the implementation of special projects in the Emirate.
 Saud is the founder of goldcleats.com . Regionally he is invested in BitOasis, Bayzat, and Mr. Usta. Internationally, Saud is invested in over 65 Companies through The Arab Angel Venture Fund of Which he is both an LP and GP off. Mr. Al Nowais recently completed a master’s degree in Strategic Intelligence & Security Studies from the U.S. National Defense University - College of International Security Affairs in Washington, DC. Mr. Al Nowais obtained his bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the American University of Sharjah (AUS). Mr. Al Nowais graduated from the American Community School of Abu Dhabi (ACS).

Fatima Alnaqbi

Chief Innovation Officer at UAE Ministry of Finance

Fatima Alnaqbi

Fatima Alnaqbi is the Chief Innovation Officer, working at Ministry of Finance, UAE to promote the culture of innovation through a number of initiatives. Also responsible of managing a number of strategic innovation initiatives within the core business of the ministry to contribute to supporting the innovation ecosystem in the UAE such as Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund. Fatima was also responsible of managing the project of electronic and smart transformation of Ministry of Finance services. Received her Master’s degree in business administration from University of Sharjah and a Diploma in Public Sector Innovation from Cambridge University.

Eman Al Mahmoud

Sheraa

Eman Al Mahmoud

Programs Manager, Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center - Sheraa

Sami Khoreibi

Sami Khoreibi

Sami Khoreibi is Enviromena’s Chief Executive Officer and a founding partner of the company. Since its incorporation in Abu Dhabi in October 2007, Enviromena has grown to become the largest solar developer in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Enviromena has proven highly successful, securing over 35 projects in 7 countries, including the largest PV solar power plant ever built in the MENA region. Enviromena has attracted a broad base of leading international cleantech investors including Masdar, Good Energies Invest and zouk Ventures. He led Enviromena to become one of the first CarbonNeutral companies in the UAE, and was awarded “Entrepreneur of the Year” for 2008 at the Alternative Energy Awards. In 2009 Mr. Khoreibi was named by Arabian Business as one of the “Top 30 Under 30”, awarded “Young CEO of the Year” at the 2010 CEO Middle East Awards, recognized as a Young Global Leader at the 2012 World Economic Forum, awarded “Top 5 Arab Innovators” by the MIT Technology Review in 2012, and recognized by the Middle East Solar Industry Association as a “Solar Pioneer” in 2014. Mr. Khoreibi regularly presents at local and international industry events including the World Future Energy Summit, the London Renewable Energy Finance Forum, and provides commentary for international and local publications including TIME magazine, the Financial Times, BBC and CNN. Previous to Enviromena, Mr. Khoreibi was a founding partner of Candax Energy Inc., an international upstream oil and gas company which was publicly listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange in 2005. As an Abu Dhabi based energy entrepreneur, Mr. Khoreibi’s key focus is developing clean, carbon neutral alternative energy projects throughout the MENA region.

Padmini Gupta

Padmini Gupta

Social Entrepreneur aiming to develop a sustainable growth path for millions of migrant workers, in the Middle East. Advisor and investor in several start-ups in the region. Managing her families’ businesses and assets gave her an in-depth view into the UAE market and business practices. A Global Leadership Fellow of the World Economic Forum, MBA from the University of Oxford, and Bachelors from the University of San Diego in Finance. Padmini was selected as a World Economic Forum’s Global Leadership fellow - one of 30 selected globally from thousands of applicants. She worked on the Gleneagles Dialogue – set by Prime Minister Tony Blair – to develop business agreements on climate change for the G8 governments. She engaged heads of government, multi-national corporations, and NGO’s to determine these principles for the mobilities industries. Her entrepreneurial foresight enabled creation of new projects, including smart cities, where she enabled engagement on urbanization and the rights of movement of people and goods. She diligently worked with the North America team in engaging with leading Senators and Cabinet Secretaries, on topics related to security, climate change, and urbanization. In her banking career, Padmini was a leader, building strong portfolios, engaging with her clients, and developing outreach programmes that allowed her institutions to benefit from community engagement. She was a key advisor to the San Diego US SBA, including speaking on international trade and development, and working on pilot programs with them. She also developed a lending program which was technologically forward thinking, while allowing credit worthy clients to obtain funds. Padmini has been awarded by the US SBA for her efforts in engaging disenfranchised groups in the USA. She has served on the City of San Diego Reinvestment Task force and Accion’s Banker’s Board.

Badr Ward

Lamsa

Badr Ward

Badr Ward instigated the industry of Digital Edutainment Content for Children across the Arab World. He is the founder and CEO of Lamsa, MENA’s 1st and leading Edutainment Platform for Children which is ranked as the number one application for Children across more than 10 Arabic markets on both Google’s Play and Apple’s App Store, and continues to produce, publish, and deliver hundreds of Interactive Digital Content to more than 9 Million Arabic speaking Children globally. Lamsa is a state-of-the-art digital platform that delivers knowledge and literacy and allows child development in an interactive, perceptive, and exciting manner to Arab-speaking children throughout their childhood journey. The ever- growing, internationally elite team of specialists at Lamsa have been working assiduously to provide its users with a new level of revolutionary technological capacities and brand new characters, thus leaving the user with an edifying encounter. Lamsa finds a balance between acquiring content from renowned regional and international publishing houses and writers and producing content internally to target and address the immediate needs of the users. Consumers are presented with a variety of different themes by which content is categorized and available in a multitude of formats; be it stories, learning activities, games, or videos. Ward has developed and nurtured partnerships with content providers, such as publishers, authors, and illustrators, as well as academic institutions, NGOs and government entities. Lamsa’s content is created by an in-house team of over 70 staff, some of whom have backgrounds working at Disney, Nickelodeon, DreamWorks, Cartoon Network, Warner Bros, and Fisher-Price. On account of his vast and diverse knowledge, Ward was selected by the World Summit Awards as the regional specialist in e-content and innovation for instigating the UN Agenda for the advancement of the Information Society and Millennium Development Goals. He is serial Entrepreneur passionate about creating value to consumers by using a mix of innovation, content, and technology. Ward has held management and leadership positions across Content and ICT companies delivering business and value growth, with deep knowledge and hands-on experience in both Consumer and Enterprise products and services, with thought leadership in the MENA Mobile, Digital, and Content landscape.

Ali Al Saeed

Museland Records

Ali Al Saeed

Ali Al Saeed is a Bahraini award-winning author and music entrepreneur who founded Museland Records four years ago, as a community-driven initiative to support local artists and develop the music scene. Between 2006 to 2014, he ran Elham, an influential grassroots arts movement in Bahrain, organizing art festivals, music concerts, and creative workshops. Ali, currently based in Dubai, was also selected for the prestigious International Writing Program at the University of Iowa in 2013.

Rana Nawas

GE

Rana Nawas

Rana Nawas is a published writer and sought-after speaker on a mission to inspire women of all backgrounds to shine. Born in England to a Palestinian father and Lebanese mother, Rana grew up like many Western-educated Arabs facing the dichotomy of liberal and traditional values. Rana’s education at Oxford University and Harvard Business School gave her a strong foundation to solve problems and negotiate effectively. A foundation which she used over her 17-year corporate career spanning McKinsey & Company’s London Office, the Dubai Government, and GE Capital. Nothing prepared her for the harsh reality that women face as they rise through the corporate world. Dealing with everything from unconscious bias to archaic processes, she eventually realized the game was rigged. Over the course of her corporate career she led the charge in rewriting policies, championing pay parity, and helping women rise in their professional and personal lives. Rana is a mother of two and a wife of one. She’s the Dubai chapter president of Ellevate Network, a global organization that brings professional women together. Rana is the creator and host of the podcast When Women Win, sharing inspirational stories as well as practical tools that international boss ladies have used on their journeys. Rana has been featured in the press, on TV and on radio. You can You might find her at the top of Kilimanjaro, at the bottom of the South China Sea or salsa dancing in Cuba. Otherwise find Rana on Instagram and LinkedIn @rananawas. Her podcast is on iTunes, Stitcher, or here: whenwomenwinpodcast.com

Sharif Banna

Sharif Banna

Sharif Banna MBE is the Co-Founder & CEO of Awakening Worldwide. Awakening is a pioneering global media company with particular focus on music and publishing. It seeks to educate and entertain within a framework which is both inspiring and compels social change. Awakening is headquartered in London with operations in USA, South East Asia and the Middle East. Awakening curated content is recognized as the most popular Islamic media brand on YouTube attracting over several billion views. Awakening’s artists and cultural icons are household names across the global Muslim market and have been successful in attracting corporate sponsorship from multi-national companies like Vodafone, Porsche and BP. In 2013 Sharif Banna received the Islamic Economy Award during the inaugural Global Islamic Economy Summit where Awakening was recognized as the world’s leading Islamic media company. He is also listed in the IsFin List of 500 most influential people who are pioneering the Islamic Economy. Sharif is the Executive Chairman of One Family Global – a digital first charity which leverages the power of music, technology and big data for impact driven social ventures. Sharif read Law and Arabic Literature at SOAS, University of London and is a published author. In recognition of his contribution to civil society, the Queen of England awarded him an MBE, making him one of the youngest recepients of a royal award. Sharif resides in London and is married with three children.

Mentors

Dino Wilkinson

Clyde & Co

Dino Wilkinson

Dino Wilkinson is a Partner with international law firm Clyde & Co who has been based in the UAE for more than ten years. Dino is recognised as one of the leading technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) lawyers in the Middle East. He has advised clients throughout the region on a range of issues including technology procurement, data protection, cybersecurity and the regulation of emerging technologies. Dino has also worked with regional governments and regulators on a number of significant legislative developments in this area, including drafting the Electronic Transactions Law for DIFC, supporting Sharjah Government on the launch of Sharjah Media City (Shams) and working with the UAE Federal Government on a data sharing and open data programme. Dino has been consistently ranked in the top tier of TMT specialists in the UAE for a number of years by independent legal directories Legal 500 and Chambers Global.

Kamel Al-Asmar

Wamda

Kamel Al-Asmar

Arab social entrepreneur with more than 7 years of experience in impact communications & youth engagement; Head of Communications & Community Engagement at Wamda: the enabling platform for entrepreneurs in the MENA region; Founder, Nakhweh: the first development & volunteerism network for the Arab world; Ex-founder of Ideation Box, which provided leading organizations in MENA with impact communication solutions. Active involvement in entrepreneurship, volunteerism & social entrepreneurship; working closely with youth to spread a culture of proactive citizenship, critical thinking & social responsibility. Takreem Young Entrepreneur of The Year 2014; Forbes 30 under 30 Social Entrepreneur (2014); Ashoka Fellowship (2012); KAAYIA Fellowship (2011). BSc. in Computer Science, Princess Sumaya University for Technology (2007).

Lucy Chow

Director of WAIN

Lucy Chow

Lucy is a Director of WAIN (Women’s Angel Investor Network) and Little Thinking Minds (creators of Arabic education content). She is a Non Executive Director for Sparkle Malawi and sits on the Canada150 Committee with the Canadian Consulate in Dubai. She is also an investor with NextWave Ventures and the Founder Institute, both based out of the US. Recently she was honored to be a Judge for the GEMS Global Innovation Challenge (student entrepreneurs) and the MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab & Challenge 22 Prize (an innovation award that promotes creativity in the Arab world). During her 10 years in Dubai, Lucy has garnered a strong reputation for originating business focused events that target captains of industry, as well as trendsetters in the UAE through her firm, The Elements Group. She is Chairman of the Events Committee with The Capital Club (a prestigious private business and social club located in the Dubai International Financial Centre), and founded the Dubai Chapter of Room to Read. Previously, she sat on the UAE committee for Acumen, Non Executive Director for Educate Girls Globally and was a Co-Chapter Chair for Techfugees (UAE). Lucy holds an EMBA from Kellogg Graduate School of Management Northwestern University and HK University of Science &Technology and a BA in International Relations from the University of British Columbia. Lucy was featured in the photography book, Women of the UAE and was one of Ahlan!’s Hot100 in 2012 , under the Entrepreneur category. She is particularly focused on the innovation space, both in terms of supporting students and as an investor. Lucy contributes regularly to media and at conferences in her role as a business leader in the UAE.

Issa Aghabi

IFC - World bank

Issa Aghabi

Private equity and venture capital professional with significant experience in value creation and realisation. Have built unique experience, in the MENA region, originating, appraising ,structuring, negotiating and executing private equity investments and venture capital transactions across the board with focus on TMT . Closed over 50+ investment deals (from $100K to $25M per transaction), managed over $150m in MENA Venture funds and served as a BOD member for a number of companies, providing commercial and business strategies, along with general operational, financial, and strategic support as needed. In 2015, he led the successful exit of twofour54's largest two investments. ALso lead the exit of IFC largest venture funded opportunity in MENA. Currently working with IFC focusing on MENA venture capital - ifc.org/vc - Investment mandate include direct growth stage investments and indirect (Fund of Funds)

Tarek Ghobar

1776

Tarek Ghobar

A two time entrepreneur with a passion for startups. Tarek holds two degrees in Aerospace Engineering from Canada and the Netherlands while working on his first startup, IcySolutions. The latter is a sports heath hardware company whos products were used by the likes of Manchester United, German National Team and several Olympic Teams. He later founded an e-health startup gamifying medical equipment training for hospitals and medical professionals. His last position before joining 1776 Startup Incubator in Dubai is working with Rocket Internet on their online food ordering startup Foodpanda, managing the Middle East and later Saudi Arabia in specific. At 1776 Tarek is the startup services manager working with the portfolio startups on growth and building their network.

Karim Helal

ProTenders

Karim Helal

Karim Helal is an Engineer, Entrepreneur, Mentor & Angel Investor. After working for 5 years in Ericsson Canada, he returned to the Middle East to take over the family architecture business and then started ProTenders, leading it to become the fastest growing B2B Platform for the Construction Industry with over 7500 members from 105 countries and used to process $25B in bids. He is also an active Mentor, having taken part in the Seed Startup and Flat6Labs accelerators and has done over a dozen angel investments locally and globally.

Laura Toma

Education consultant

Laura Toma

Consultant with 8 years’ experience in public relations, marketing and education. Laura is currently the Managing Partner for The Improbable Agency, a PR agency for the brands challenging the status quo. She is keeping her passion for education active by providing consultation on meaningful projects. Laura has managed complex local and regional PR & marketing projects for international brands, graduate programs and ran an edtech startup in UAE.

Sirine Fadoul

VISA

Sirine Fadoul

Sirine Fadoul was Incubation Manager at DTEC Tech Startup Incubator, looking after the investment selection process, the incubation program as well as securing follow-on funding for the incubated startups. She is also a member of the investment selection team screening seed and growth stage ventures. DSOA's portfolio includes ShortPoint, Wrappup, Melltoo, Clip The Deal, 360VUZ, Compareit4me, Step Group, Nabbesh and more. Sirine was awarded Mentor of the Year 2016 by Arabian Business Awards. She sits on the advisory board of several tech startups in MENA, Europe and the US. She is a founding member of Girls in Tech Middle East and a Mentor and Coach for The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women’s Mentoring Women Program. Sirine holds a Master in Marketing from University Paris XII and a Performance Management degree from Harvard University.

David Martinez de Lecea

Narrativa

David Martinez de Lecea

David is the Chief Operating Officer of Narrativa. Narrativa transforms data into human-sounding narratives using Artificial Intelligence. He is an entrepreneur, consultant and investor with a unique combination of business management expertise and deep technological acumen. Previously, David has worked with Bain, Deloitte and Accenture and was the Chief Executive and Investment Officer of Finerd, an automated investment management firm applying state-of-the-art technology to asset and wealth management. His experience spans Europe, America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. He holds an MBA with distinction from INSEAD, Singapore; BSc's and an MSc in Computer Science and in Electronic Engineering from the University of Deusto, Spain; and a BSc in Economics from the University of London / London School of Economics, UK.

Petar Stojanov

Ebtikaar

Petar Stojanov

Petar is Founder and Managing Partner at Ebtikaar, he has navigated a number of careers as an academic, experimental scientist, corporate intrapreneur & entrepreneur. Petar focuses on turning the art of disruptive innovation into a science. Ebtikaar, the English translation for the Arabic "Innovation", helps organisations change systems & cultures, with transformative processes founded in the Scientific Method.

Noor Shawwa

Managing Director at Endeavor UAE

Noor Shawwa

Noor Shawwa is the Managing Director at Endeavor in the UAE, which was launched in December 2013 to help high-impact entrepreneurs scale up their businesses. Since launching the office, Noor guided Endeavor to select 10 entrepreneurs from six companies and built a network of mentors that includes some of the region’s most prominent business leaders. Before joining Endeavor, Noor was the Head of Strategic Initiatives at Bayt.com, the Middle East’s largest job portal. At Bayt, Noor worked with the senior management team across functions to optimize the company’s processes and performance. Before Bayt, Noor was the Head of Content at Zawya.com, the Middle East’s first business and financial information provider, which was acquired by Thomson Reuters in 2012. Noor played an integral role in Zawya’s growth by establishing its content to rival and beat international giants such as Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters, and others. Before Zawya, Noor was a full time lecturer at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. He lectured on Entrepreneurship and Business Strategy. Noor has an MBA degree and a Bachelors degree in Psychology from Concordia University.

Ahmad Ghazawneh

Digital Innovation at IT University of Copenhagen

Ahmad Ghazawneh

Ahmad Ghazawneh is a Swedish of Palestinian origin professor, serial entrepreneur, business mentor, speaker and author. Dr. Ahmad is a Professor of Digital Innovation at IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark and Halmstad University, Sweden. He is a serial entrepreneur and the founder of several startups in Sweden such as Innovation Villa AB a digital marketing agency. He also founded Comodus AB a high quality European fashion and shoes brand and most recently the food-tech company Levanta AB that was acquired several months after being launched. He is a business mentor and consultant for several Swedish firms. He is a strategic consultant for Almi Företagspartner AB, the Swedish governmental firm that provides business consultancy to SMEs. He is an innovation mentor at SOPACT a Social Impact Accelerator – a startup accelerator for social ventures. In addition, He started mentoring at E.ON, the European firm that runs one of the world's largest investor-owned electric utility service providers. He is a social media influencer with more than 600,000 followers across social media platforms. He reaches millions with his online content which is about motivation, education, business and life.

Omar Yaghmour

Managing Director & Co-founder at Fetchr

Omar Yaghmour

Managing Director & Co founder at Fetchr

Renuka Gunjahalli

Principal Consultant at Centurion Consulting

Renuka Gunjahalli

Experience across a wide range of industries like Education, Entertainment, Hospitality, Insurance and Finance, Investment Banking, Hospitals and Pharmaceutical, Tourism, Manpower consultants, Retail and more.

Ludmilla Figueiredo

Kharabeesh

Ludmilla Figueiredo

Ludmilla Figueiredo is the founder of Rule Number One, her recent initiative to bridge business and investment opportunities between Brazil and the Middle East. She is currently part of the advisory team at Blockvisory and mentor of several entrepreneurial initiatives including Startup Weekend, Abu Dhabi Global markets, GEMS Education, to name a few. With experience in emerging markets, equity crowdfunding and strategic advice in business development for startups and SMEs, she has over one decade of hands-on experience and is triple-award winner for supporting entrepreneurs. Besides working for reputable and innovative companies such as Kellogg, Endeavor, Eureeca and Kharabeesh, she also completed her Executive Education in Harvard Business School. Since 2012 she has been appointed as a thought leader in events for Stanford Ventures Program and INSEAD Abu Dhabi.

Tiberiu Iacomi

Tiberiu Iacomi

A geek at heart and a creative mind, nonetheless. After 9 years of working in market research, PR, data analytics, edtech and entrepreneurship-focused companies in 4 different countries, Tiberiu has gone rogue became the founder and CPO (Chief Probability Observer) (hi, Star Wars fans!) of The Improbable Agency - what he calls a brand & PR agency for challengers and underdogs.

Shimi Shah

Shimi Shah

Shimi has been actively involved in investing and venture capital for over 20 years and has made over 50 investments in early and expansion stage transactions, of which many have been successfully exited with superior returns for investors in Europe, the US, and the Middle East. Shimi is the Chairperson of Carousel Solutions, a technology and business advisory group with offices in London and Dubai focusing on assisting companies navigate expansion into and out of the Middle East and Europe, build diversified businesses, appoint high profile and ROI driven boards, and provide efficient technology solutions to mitigate security risk and increase productivity. Carousel Solutions works with SMEs, family offices, and private equity and sovereign wealth funds. Carousel Solutions also has an early stage corporate investment arm with a portfolio of six companies. Shimi is also an active independent director and advisory board member. She currently holds an advisory board role with StartAd, the New York University in Abu Dhabi’s accelerator initiative. Shimi is also a board director of Bboxx (www.bboxx.co.uk) a $25m revenue distributed energy business. Shimi also chairs the leading kid’s club design company called Worldwide Kids Club. Additionally, Shimi is part of the advisory committee for the Green Gateway Fund, a $250m clean technology and sustainability fund. Shimi is also a firm believer in social capital and CSR, and sits on the board of the Pay It Forward Foundation based in the US (www.pifexperience.org). The Pay It Forward bracelet initiative founded by Shimi and Carousel Solutions has distributed over 5 million bracelets globally. Shimi was previously CEO at FORSA LLC, a UAE based Investment Company owned by the Government of Dubai with a specialized focus on women in the GCC region, where she managed over $250m in proprietary and third party funds. Prior to joining FORSA, Shimi was a Partner at a global venture capital company with assets of over $300m under management, focusing on investments from Government Departments and Universities, specializing in commercializing technologies and taking them to market. Shimi has invested over $150m and managed a portfolio of over 25 companies, with numerous board seats, as well as having full operational control of the business. Prior to that Shimi was a Managing Partner at Partnerships UK (PUK) in London for over three years. PUK was the UK Treasury’s venture capital arm by which public funds were invested to commercialize new start-ups from UK based research departments and universities. Shimi set up and established PUK's equity business, having invested in a number of spin-outs from Government Departments and Universities in the UK. In this role, Shimi was responsible for all investment activities, as well as management of the investment portfolio. She also held a number of board seats as a PUK representative. Shimi was also Chief Investment Officer at Hanson Capital previous to this, managing an Anglo-American technology fund of over $50m, which focused on making investments in Silicon Valley and across Europe. Shimi made several investments whilst at Hanson as well as establishing the UK office and managing the US office out of California. Shimi began her career in private equity and venture capital with 3i plc, where she was instrumental in helping to establish its early stage business in the UK. Shimi invested in over 25 businesses whilst at 3i, many that have since managed successful exits either as trade sales or IPOs. Before joining 3i, Shimi started up and established an international jewellery distribution business based on the direct marketing model which she built over a number of years prior to selling the distribution network to a European organization. Shimi started out in project finance covering Africa and Asia, with Citigroup, where she joined as a graduate associate, having graduated from Queens’ College Cambridge with a Masters in Management. Prior to that, she received a 1st Class Hons degree from King’s College, London, in Management and Economics. Shimi is an active member of the Young President’s Organization (YPO) in Europe and Africa. Shimi is of Indian origin born and brought up in Kenya.

Lina Hourani

Lina Hourani

Lina Hourani is the Director of Al Ahli Holding Group CSR Division, since 2008, responsible for several youth development programs and initiatives. The Global Business Opportunities program (GBO) was a major milestone in Lina’s professional path, helping Al Ahli Group to identify business opportunities, develop the entrepreneurial skills for youth, shifting them from being job seekers to job providers. Her success with GBO and also CSR in Action Program – an initiative that brings together students with professionals and CSR Leaders- was spread across 4 different continents benefiting youth from UAE, Jordan, Lebanon, South Africa, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Greece and the UK. Prior to that, Lina filled several positions focusing on youth development and training at some of the leading NGOs and institutes in Jordan, including the Royal Health Awareness Society. She also conducted training to more than 2000 senior professional and young leaders in UAE, Jordan, Egypt, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, UK and USA. Lina holds a master’s degree in Public Relations and Communications from the University of Westminster in London, a BA in Political Science & French Literature from the University of Jordan and a Diploma in Neuro-Linguistic programming from Canada. She has undergone extensive training, including Leadership, TOT, mind mapping, creativity and is certified as an international trainer on the interpersonal skills segment. She is frequently invited as an expert speaker in regional and international CSR, Entrepreneurship and youth development seminars and programs. The Swiss Institute for Quality Standards, through its Socrates Committee has nominated Al Ahli Holding Group with the prestigious International Award in Quality and Management Spheres – Best Enterprise. This is a recognition of the Al Ahli excellent business reputation, effective management and constant growth of the enterprise while managing to give back to the society. The head of the enterprise, represented by Lina has received the award of the Best Manager or the Year and a personal certificate. The nomination took place in Montreux, Switzerland in the framework of the International Excellence in Quality annual gathering.

Tariq Alimohamed

TSA Advisory

Tariq Alimohamed

Tariq Alimohamed is The Founding Partner of TSA Advisory, a firm specialising in business, finance and tax advisory including VAT implementation for GCC based enterprises. His career has been shaped by taking senior roles at PricewaterhouseCoopers & Pepsico, gaining experience in financial and operational roles including audit and forensics across Europe, the Middle East and Africa as well as qualifying as a chartered accountant. Focusing on a core in finance, Tariq took on a senior role within The Dangote Group. His role evolved to overseeing the Group's international procurement, shipping and logistics departments. He worked closely with senior board members developing strategies whilst remaining heavily involved in its implementation and monitoring, allowing for a top-to-bottom overview of all operations. TSA Advisory, under Tariq's guidance is engaged with different sized enterprises in a broad range of industries, identifying unique problems companies in the GCC face, allowing for unique solutions.

Ahmed Ahmed

Ahmed Ahmed

Ahmed Abdulwahab, Founder and CEO Next Arabia. which is a boutique advisory firm that helps corporate companies, government institutions and startups to develop and implement innovative business models. Ahmed is also a Senior Advisor to Forbes Middle East, which is a licensed edition of Forbes Media, a global media company with a focus on news and information about business, investing, technology, entrepreneurship, leadership and affluent lifestyles He is also a Member of the Global Advisory Panel and the LeanStartup & Innovation Lecturer at The United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) in Al Ain/UAE. Ahmed was most recently a Senior Advisor to and Head of TURN8 Seed Accelerator & VC Fund in Dubai/U.A.E. TURN8 is a collaboration between enterprise and innovators to foster a global entrepreneurial and innovation culture. He was previously the founding Head of the Incubation at Qatar Business Incubation Center (QBIC), the largest in the Arab world. Under his leadership more than 1,000 people participated in innovation and entrepreneurship activities, 90 new startups and high-growth companies were developed and coached, 20 startups and 10 high-growth companies were incubated, and the 20 incubated startups generated a combined QAR 2 Million in revenues in less than a year. Prior Ahmed was the founding manager for the Entrepreneurship Center at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia. After two years of launching the center, KAUST was select as the Best Higher Education Institution in the Arab World supporting entrepreneurship in 2012 during the 3rd Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Dubai, UAE. Earlier Ahmed was the CEO and Co-Founder of an international e-Learning and Intelligence startup company in Zurich/Switzerland and San Francisco/U.S.A., which was sold to one of the leading eLearning providers. Prior Ahmed joined Siemens AG as Manager for Planning, Strategy and e-Business at the headquarters in Germany and Director Enterprise Networks in Siemens Saudi Arabia where he oversaw the operation's turnaround from a product business to a solution and service business. Ahmed earned his MBA at the Arthur D. Little School of Management in Boston/M.A./U.S.A.

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