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