Women Innovators Fellowship gears up for 2023 cohort

Women Innovators Fellowship gears up for 2023 cohort
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Building on the success of the inaugural cohort in Saudi Arabia, the fellowship has expanded to Bahrain and the UAE, focusing on the rising prominence of female talent and leadership. (AN Photo by Saad Al-Dosari)
Women Innovators Fellowship gears up for 2023 cohort
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Left to right: Wael ismail, VP of corporate affairs, PepsiCo MENA; Dena Elkhatib, general counsel, Riyadh Air; and Hattan Ahmed, entrepreneurship director, KAUST, at the panel discussion moderated by Hanaa Al-Moaibed. (AN Photo by Saad Al-Dosari)
Women Innovators Fellowship gears up for 2023 cohort
3 / 3
Building on the success of the inaugural cohort in Saudi Arabia, the fellowship has expanded to Bahrain and the UAE, focusing on the rising prominence of female talent and leadership. (AN Photo by Saad Al-Dosari)
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Updated 27 July 2023
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Women Innovators Fellowship gears up for 2023 cohort

Women Innovators Fellowship gears up for 2023 cohort
  • ‘When women succeed, we all succeed,’ says Princess Reema at session on female workforce

RIYADH: The WIn (Women Innovators) Fellowship has returned with its second cohort, as part of PepsiCo’s commitment to empowering female entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa region. 

First launched in Saudi Arabia, the fellowship was established in 2022 through a partnership between the Atlantic Council and Georgetown University, with support from the US Embassy in Riyadh, and PepsiCo. 

PepsiCo held an in-depth panel discussion on the evolving landscape of the Kingdom’s private sector during a recent event, “The Rising Female Workforce in Saudi Arabia and its Impact on the Private Sector.”

Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the US Princess Reema bint Bandar commended last year’s inaugural program during her opening remarks, and said: “Judging by the women who were selected for this year’s program, I’m sure this will be another great year.”

She thanked the collaborators for their support on the fellowship program and for “helping shape the leaders of tomorrow.”

She added: “Support like this for women entrepreneurship is just so important and not just for the women who are here today, but for all of us in the future.

“Half of the world’s population are women, and yet we still make up a fraction of leadership positions, of business owners, of middle management, and still too small a part of the overall workforce. That needs to change because when women succeed, we all succeed.”

She added that a “more inclusive and equitable society” would result in actual advancement, and spoke about the multiplier effect women’s leadership participation had on leading economic and societal gains.

Building on the success of the inaugural cohort in Saudi Arabia, the fellowship has expanded to Bahrain and the UAE, focusing on the rising prominence of female talent and leadership.

Princess Reema noted that the Kingdom is undergoing a substantial socioeconomic transformation under Vision 2030, and that women’s empowerment is a cornerstone of today’s changes. 

US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Michael Ratney said: “The idea was to have 30 percent female workforce participation by 2030 in Saudi Arabia. Now, in 2023, the Kingdom is already at 37 percent with a third of the tech sector comprised of women, which is higher than that of Silicon Valley.” 

The exceptional upsurge of Saudi women’s participation in the labor force has signaled a significant shift in government policies to foster rather than hinder their involvement.

Dena Elkhatib, the general counsel for Riyadh Air, shed light on the integration of women in the aviation sector as she has been an expert in the industry for the past 20 years. 

She said: “The aviation sector is a male-dominated industry worldwide, not just in the Kingdom. Today we have engineers, pilots, and air traffic controllers.”

Hattan Ahmed, entrepreneurship director at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, said that women’s participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics was significant.

He said: “Our female concentration of the student body at the university’s graduate level is around 39 percent, which is way above the global average in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.” 

He said there was much work to accomplish, and women had delivered amazing stories in their move forward.

He added: “From there, if we cascade to entrepreneurship, we also see staggering records in terms of women’s engagement in different flagship programs.”

Ahmed added that in one of the university’s accelerator programs in partnership with a Saudi British bank: “We see 49 percent female founders engaging into the portfolio that we run into those kinds of programs, with 55 to 60 per cent engagement outperforming that of men in those activities.”

Elkhatib spoke of looking beyond genders and advocating for more involvement from women, with male support.

She said: “Allyship is anybody who can be your ally, whether it’s somebody you know, a different gender, different nationality, younger or older. It is about opening your mindset.”

She added that it was all about creating friendships and breaking boundaries to lift each other, despite gender. 

Elkhatib also explained that it was crucial to witness allyship and mentorship without gender, adding: “It’s crucial to think of that person at the table as being just a person, and not being gender specific.” 

The fellowship believes in substantially increasing women’s economic participation, entrepreneurship, and leadership, which will contribute toward positive consequences for the overall economic prosperity of the region.

The year-long program, from June 2023 to March 2024, will give the opportunity to 34 Saudi women entrepreneurs to extend their networks, gain practical knowledge, and develop meaningful US-Saudi relationships and business ties.

Its goal is to assist them in scaling their businesses at local, regional, and global levels.


King Salman, Crown Prince congratulate King Abdullah II on Jordan’s national day

King Salman, Crown Prince congratulate King Abdullah II on Jordan’s national day
Updated 58 min 17 sec ago
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King Salman, Crown Prince congratulate King Abdullah II on Jordan’s national day

King Salman, Crown Prince congratulate King Abdullah II on Jordan’s national day

RIYADH: King Salman sent a cable of congratulations to King Abdullah II of Jordan on the occasion of his country's independence day on Saturday, Saudi Press Agency reported.

King Salman wished King Abdullah continued good health and happiness, and the government and people of Jordan further progress and prosperity.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also sent a similar cable to the Jordanian king.

The messages from the Saudi leadership were among dozens sent by global leaders and heads of international organizations, including the speaker of the Arab Parliament.

Adel bin Abdulrahman Al-Asoumi wished Jordan and its people “more security, stability, and prosperity.”

He also praised the “civilizational achievements made by the kingdom under the leadership of King Abdullah II in all areas that have made the kingdom a leading regional and international model.”  


Saudi, Kosovo officials discuss parliamentary ties

Saudi, Kosovo officials discuss parliamentary ties
Updated 25 May 2024
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Saudi, Kosovo officials discuss parliamentary ties

Saudi, Kosovo officials discuss parliamentary ties

RIYADH: The Saudi-Kosovo Parliamentary Friendship Committee, led by Khalid Al-Bawardi, the committee’s chairman and Saudi Shoura Council member, met with Kosovo’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Kreshnik Ahmeti and other officials in Pristina.

Discussions aimed to boost bilateral relations and parliamentary cooperation between the Shoura Council and Kosovo Parliament, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.

Faisal Hifzi, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Albania and non-resident ambassador to Kosovo, Montenegro, and North Macedonia, attended the meeting.

Additionally, the committee met with Podujeva’s Mayor Shpejtim Bulliqi and discussed cooperation in municipal affairs. The mayor praised Saudi Arabia’s environmental conservation efforts.

The Shoura Council delegation also engaged with local companies, reviewing Kosovo’s future projects and discussing opportunities for economic cooperation.


Saudi authorities arrest 17,030 illegals in one week

Saudi authorities arrest 17,030 illegals in one week
Updated 25 May 2024
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Saudi authorities arrest 17,030 illegals in one week

Saudi authorities arrest 17,030 illegals in one week

RIYADH: Saudi authorities arrested 17,030 people in one week for breaching residency, work and border security regulations, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.

According to an official report, a total of 10,662 people were arrested for violations of residency laws, while 4,147 were held over illegal border crossing attempts, and a further 2,221 for labor-related issues.

The report showed that among the 1,119 people arrested for trying to enter the Kingdom illegally, 71 percent were Ethiopian, 27 percent Yemeni, and 2 percent were of other nationalities.

A further 65 people were caught trying to cross into neighboring countries, and 17 were held for involvement in transporting and harboring violators.

The Saudi Ministry of Interior said that anyone found to be facilitating illegal entry to the Kingdom, including providing transportation and shelter, could face imprisonment for a maximum of 15 years, a fine of up to SR1 million ($260,000), as well as confiscation of vehicles and property.

Suspected violations can be reported on the toll-free number 911 in the Makkah and Riyadh regions, and 999 or 996 in other regions of the Kingdom.


KSrelief continues aid projects in Sudan, Somalia, Lebanon and Yemen

KSrelief continues aid projects in Sudan, Somalia, Lebanon and Yemen
Updated 25 May 2024
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KSrelief continues aid projects in Sudan, Somalia, Lebanon and Yemen

KSrelief continues aid projects in Sudan, Somalia, Lebanon and Yemen

RIYADH: The Kingdom’s aid agency KSrelief  continued its humanitarian projects in Sudan, Somalia, Lebanon and Yemen.
In Sudan, the agency distributed 950 personal hygiene kits to displaced and needy families in Kosti, benefiting 5,463 individuals. In Wad Sharifi, 330 food parcels were provided to displaced families, benefiting 1,710 individuals. 
Meanwhile in Lebanon, KSrelief continued its implementation of the Al-Amal Charitable Bakery Project in Akkar and Miniyeh. The project distributed 150,000 loaves of bread daily to Syrian and Palestinian refugee families, or about 62,500 individuals.
In Yemen, 897 food parcels were delivered in Al-Abr, benefiting 6,237 individuals, as part of the Kingdom’s humanitarian initiative.
in Somalia, KSrelief continued providing medical services in collaboration with the Kidney Dialysis Center at Banadir Hospital in Mogadishu. The center catered to a total of 384 patients and assisted dialysis, medical examination and emergency sessions.


12 arrested in qat smuggling attempt in Saudi Arabia

12 arrested in qat smuggling attempt in Saudi Arabia
Updated 25 May 2024
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12 arrested in qat smuggling attempt in Saudi Arabia

12 arrested in qat smuggling attempt in Saudi Arabia
  • A separate smuggling attempt of 70kg of qat was thwarted in Jazan Region

RIYADH: Saudi authorities arrested 12 Yemeni nationals for attempting to smuggle 266kg of qat through the borders of Asir region, state news agency SPA reported.
The items were seized and handed over to the relevant authority, SPA said on Friday.
A separate smuggling attempt of 70kg of qat was thwarted in Jazan region. Border authorities said the suspects were arrested and the seized items were transferred to relevant authorities for further action.

Mostly chewed by users, Qat is a mild stimulant and illegal across most of the Arab world.

The government has urged citizens and residents to report any information they have regarding drug smuggling or sales to the General Directorate of Narcotics Control. Reports can be made by calling 911 for Makkah, Riyadh and the Eastern Province, and 999 for other regions. Alternatively, information can be emailed to [email protected]. All reports are treated confidentially.