Boom in entrepreneurs expected after ban on Saudi women driving lifted

Sara Al-Madani said Saudi women are ‘graceful, smart and educated.’ (AN Photo)
Updated 08 November 2017
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Boom in entrepreneurs expected after ban on Saudi women driving lifted

SVETI STEFAN, Montenegro: More local women are likely to become entrepreneurs after the ban on them driving is lifted in Saudi Arabia, according to a prominent Emirati fashion designer and businesswoman.
Sara Al-Madani, an entrepreneur and board member of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCI), said: “I’m so happy about this, the women in Saudi (Arabia) are a huge wealth and it needs to be properly invested into the economy.
“Imagine the effect it will have when millions of women can move and get to work. It will transform the country and it’s undeniable that force will have a big impact.”
Al-Madani, founder of Sara Al-Madani Fashion Design and the new British restaurant Shabarbush in Dubai, added that not being able to drive has never stopped women from setting up their own business ventures, but “this freedom opens up more opportunities for them so we will see more women on board.”
The entrepreneur, speaking to Arab News on the sidelines of the recent Global Citizen Forum, said that the word “innovation” is now trending globally.
“I tell everyone, before you innovate in business or at your work, you need to innovate in yourself, you need to believe in yourself and break the stereotype.
“You need to stand up for your rights and believe in your dreams and accomplish them and, once you’ve done that, you can innovate externally … Women are strong, we just need inspiration.”
Al-Madani ventured into the business world at a time when very few Emirati women were doing so. Defying cultural norms, she started her fashion label Rouge Couture, now known as Sara Al-Madani Fashion Design, at the age of 15.
In 2014 Al-Madani, now 30, was selected by Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi, ruler of the UAE emirate of Sharjah, as a board member of the SCCI.
Al-Madani also runs the creative consultancy Social Fish, and is a brand ambassador for Nivea and Natura Bissé in the Middle East.
She said: “This is just the beginning (of freedoms) for Saudi women. I wish the Saudi women all the best — they are graceful, smart and educated.”


BlackBerry quarterly results beat on software strength

Updated 22 June 2018
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BlackBerry quarterly results beat on software strength

BENGALURU: Canadian software maker BlackBerry Ltd. on Friday reported quarterly revenue and profit that topped analysts’ estimates, driven by strong growth in its high-margin software and services business.
US-listed shares of BlackBerry rose 2.6 percent to $11.89 in premarket trading.
The Waterloo, Ontario-based company said revenue from its enterprise software and services business rose 18 percent to $189 million in the first quarter.
Blackberry, which dominated the smartphone market nearly a decade ago before losing out to Apple Inc’s iPhones and Android devices, has been trying to win investor confidence and make money by selling software to manage mobile devices to corporations and government agencies.
As part of the transition, the company is focusing on making software for next-generation driverless cars based on its QNX platform.
“I am pleased that BlackBerry QNX software is now embedded in over 120 million automobiles worldwide, doubling the install base in the last three years,” Chief Executive Officer John Chen said in a statement.
The company’s net loss was $60 million, or 11 cents per share, for the first quarter ended May 31, compared with a profit of $671 million, or $1.23 per share, a year earlier.
BlackBerry received a one-time arbitration payment of $940 million from Qualcomm Inc. in the year-ago quarter.
Excluding items, the company earned 3 cents per share. Analysts were expecting the company to break even on a per share basis, according to Thomson Reuters.
Total revenue fell 9.4 percent to $213 million, but still beat analysts’ estimate of $208 million.