Web-based taxi firm Careem pledges to hire more women drivers

Aasia Abdul Aziz, one of the pioneer women drivers of Careem, drives her car in Karachi in this December 6, 2016 photo. (Reuters)
Updated 08 March 2018
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Web-based taxi firm Careem pledges to hire more women drivers

DUBAI: The CEO and co-founder of the web-based taxi company Careem on Thursday pledged to hire more women drivers and have as much as 20,000 female captains by 2020 to address rising demand in the Middle East.
“We realize that up until today we have focused our efforts predominantly on attracting and catering to male captains. It’s time for us and the entire industry to wake up,” Mudassir Sheikha, CEO and co-founder of Careem, said in a statement to coincide with the celebration of International Women’s Day.
“Not only is there a moral obligation to do so, but there’s also a huge opportunity to grow our business around women and give them the economic opportunity to excel. Women are often the primary breadwinners and looking for alternative, flexible ways to support their families.”
Careem currently has female captains – as the company calls its drivers – in UAE, Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan, Morocco, Lebanon and Palestine in its 13-country network. Pakistan has the most number of women captains, who drive bikes, rickshaws as well as cars.
In Saudi Arabia, Careem registered more than 2,000 women in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam after the government announced in September that women would now be allowed to drive.
“With a female-only call center already operational in Jeddah, Careem will look to launch a female-only training center in the Kingdom later this year with specialized training materials and women coaches,” the company said.
Careem will also address the needs of mothers wishing to register on their platform, looking into incentive structures and comfortable, flexible environments for them to work in, it added.
The company recognizes the economic impact of women, wanting to enable that growth, Careem said.


Maalem Financing raises $26m in debut sukuk

Updated 17 October 2018
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Maalem Financing raises $26m in debut sukuk

  • The sukuk from Maalem, a shariah-compliant commercial and consumer financing firm, is a small but novel deal
  • The three-year unsubordinated deal was sold through a private placement and Maalem could tap the market again

LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s Maalem Financing has raised SR100 million ($26.6 million) from a debut sale of Islamic bonds, or sukuk, as the firm seeks to develop a crowdfunding product and expand its operations, a senior executive said on Tuesday.
The sukuk from Maalem, a shariah-compliant commercial and consumer financing firm, is a small but novel deal in a market that is dominated by issuance from sovereign institutions and Islamic banks.
The three-year unsubordinated deal was sold through a private placement and Maalem could tap the market again as early as January next year, said John Sandwick, a member of Maalem’s board of directors.
“The program is for SR500 million and with 3.6 times oversubscription, there seems to be a lot of demand,” he said.
Additional sales of sukuk aimed to raise between SR100 million and SR200 million, depending on market conditions, he said, adding that Maalem may consider a dollar-denominated sukuk issuance at a later stage.
The debut transaction used a structure known as murabaha, a cost-plus-profit arrangement commonly used in Saudi Arabia. The firm hoped to use an asset-backed structure for future deals, Sandwick said.
Established in 2009, Maalem received regulatory approval to operate as a non-real estate finance company in 2016 and increased its capital in 2017 to SR150 million.
The company plans to open several regional offices by the end of 2018 and is awaiting regulatory approval for a crowdfunding license, Sandwick said.
Crowdfunding enables startup firms to collect small sums of money from many individuals as an alternative to bank loans.
Albilad Capital, the investment banking unit of Bank Albilad, served as sole lead manager and arranger of the sukuk.