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VIDEO: 3 Middle Eastern Female Founders that Will Surprise You

Hailing from Syria, Palestine, and Lebanon, female founders Nada Ghanem, Samah Ayyad and Nowar Rahmouni are re-shaping the face of the Middle East’s innovative scene. Meet the entrepreneurs of our Startups on the Move Incubation Program.

By SWB Team 

The Startups On the Move incubation program, built by Startups Without Borders in partnership with SPARK and Google, saw incredible founders creating innovations across a variety of industries, from Agritech, to Edtech, to VR, AI and E-commerce.

Driven, resilient and immensely resilient, and incredibly resourceful, female entrepreneurs were the majority of the 130 entrepreneurs who embarked on a journey from idea to business across Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq between March and September 2022.

Amongst the multitude of valiant entrepreneurs, Nada Ghanem, Samah Ayyad and Nowar Rahmouni took to the stage during the networking events in Ramallah, Beirut and Erbil. Hailing from Syria, Palestine, and Lebanon, these three female founders are re-shaping the Middle East’s innovative scene.

Nada Ghanem, founder of Dooda Solutions

Dooda Solutions is an earth-worm farm that is transforming agriculture in the Middle East, by raising worms and creating vermicompost, a solution that is organic, and 5 times more effective than compost.

“Our biggest milestone we achieved is transforming our farm through automation, so the entire process is automated,” she narrates, while sharing her biggest dream: installing mega-farms in the MENA region.

“As a female entrepreneur, I faced many challenges, especially in the agriculture sector,” says the entrepreneur, who did not let any obstacle stop her and reached the finals in Amsterdam, winning the People’s Choice Award during the Ignite Conference.

Samah Ayyad, founder of Sook

Based in Ramallah, Samah Ayyad started her entrepreneurship journey at a very young age, by selling cosmetics through social media. Having seen the potential of online sales, she ventured into business, building Sook, an integrated e-commerce and gaming platform.

The app allows customers to find their desired products in a entertaining way, while also enabling vendors to expand their markets and boost their sales. “We let vendors open their own stores on our platform and we have a game center, where people can play and earn money to buy what they want on Sook,” Samah explains.

With over 12,000 downloads on the app and 23,000 products listed, the platforms is making waves in the Palestinian market, and was one of the 10 finalists that pitched in Amsterdam last September 13th during the Ignite Conference.

Nowar Rahmouni, co-founder of AI Citizen

For Nowar Ramouni, this is not her first startup. The entrepreneur, who arrived to Lebanon in 2013 after the break out of war in her home country of Syria, had earlier launched Gharna Halaby, a company that produces and sells olive oil soap (a specialty of Aleppo) shipping to customers worldwide.

Now, as she embarked on a new journey at the Startups on the Move incubation program, she is part of the team that launched AI Citizens, a platform that offers AI services to support the machine learning sector and avatar making, while creating employment opportunities for refugees.

“The biggest challenge here in Lebanon is that we have so many; especially with the current situation and the economic crisis,” she explains. “But we are trying to adapt and find solutions; this is the role of entrepreneurs in the region.”

“The most important thing I learned at Startups on the Move is that it’s not just about focusing on the idea itself, it’s more about sharing this idea with people to get their advices,” she says.

Watch all the videos of the Startups on the Move Incubation program here.

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