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Three Egyptian startups win $10,000 grants from She’s Next competition 

Egypt

Visa, the world’s leader in digital payments and Egypt’s leading private-sector bank, CIB, announced Hadeer Shalaby, the founder of Green Fashion, Salma Tammam, the founder of Reme-D and Nihal Ali, the founder of Fincart as the much-anticipated winners of its second She’s Next grant program in Egypt.  The winners were selected at an award ceremony held at the Hyatt Regency Cairo West. 

Handpicked from over 4,000 applicants across Egypt, the winning women-owned small businesses each received grants worth US$10,000 along with a year of business coaching from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).  The winners were chosen from a pool of applicants representing a range of sectors, including technology, business, real estate, healthcare, social enterprise, and fashion. 

A jury evaluated entries based on the following criteria: the progression of applicants’ entrepreneurial journey; robustness of their business metrics; digital presence; and those who demonstrated the ability to solve problems. The members of the jury included Malak El Baba, Egypt Country Manager, Visa; Hany El Deib, Head of Business Banking, CIB; Hany El Sonbaty, managing partner of Sawari Ventures, a Cairo-based VC; and Karima El Hakeem, CEO of Plug & Play Egypt. 

For the first time, She’s Next included a People’s Favorite award, voted for online by members from the general public. This award with a cash prize of US$10,000 went to Nihal Ali, founder of Fincart.

She’s Next is part of Visa’s efforts to support the digitalization of women-owned businesses and has marked the launch of Visa’s first Women SMB Digitalization Index where the majority of women entrepreneurs surveyed in Egypt (97%) acknowledged the growing significance of digitalization within today’s business environment. The survey also revealed that 68% of women entrepreneurs in Egypt are in favor of moving from cash-dominant to cashless businesses. Notably, more than one-third of respondents (35%) found it challenging to secure funding for their business endeavors. 

Through their participation in the She’s Next program, these women entrepreneurs have already gained access to practical insights from women leaders, valuable tools, educational resources, and facilitated trainings. USAID will also provide one-on-one advisory support for the 20 finalists, equipping these individuals with guidance and insights to boost their business and financial strategies. 

“Visa is truly honored today to recognize the incredible resilience and forward-looking spirit of Egypt’s women entrepreneurs, and we are more than proud to empower these trailblazers, addressing their unique challenges and fostering an environment where they can thrive. This initiative addresses the importance of access to capital, mentorship, and a robust digital infrastructure for the growth and scalability of women-led businesses. We extend heartfelt congratulations to the She’s Next winners in Egypt and eagerly anticipate supporting them in their entrepreneurial journeys,” said Leila Serhan, Visa’s Senior Vice President and Group Country Manager for the North Africa, Levant and Pakistan (NALP) region. 

Commenting on the collaboration, Hany El Dieb, Head of SME Business at CIB said, “We are very pleased to have partnered with Visa, as this partnership underscores CIB’s commitment towards empowering female entrepreneurs. CIB is delighted to commemorate She’s Next winners, and we look forward to providing them with the needed support to run, fund, and grow their businesses.”

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