Female entrepreneurs highlight success stories at AmCham Saudi Arabia event in Jeddah

The Women in Business Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Saudi Arabia recently organized an event in Jeddah. (Supplied)
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The Women in Business Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Saudi Arabia recently organized an event in Jeddah. (Supplied)
Dania Shinkar, founder and creative director of Dania Shinkar Ltd. (Supplied)
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Dania Shinkar, founder and creative director of Dania Shinkar Ltd. (Supplied)
Maha Al-Juffali, founder, director, and supervising board member of the Help Center. (Supplied)
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Maha Al-Juffali, founder, director, and supervising board member of the Help Center. (Supplied)
Jehan Alallah, IT manager at Amazon. (Supplied)
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Jehan Alallah, IT manager at Amazon. (Supplied)
Marriam Mossalli, founder of Niche Arabia. (Supplied)
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Marriam Mossalli, founder of Niche Arabia. (Supplied)
Nora Al-Jindi, director of Dar Al-Hekma University’s marketing program. (Supplied)
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Nora Al-Jindi, director of Dar Al-Hekma University’s marketing program. (Supplied)
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Updated 21 May 2024
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Female entrepreneurs highlight success stories at AmCham Saudi Arabia event in Jeddah

The Women in Business Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Saudi Arabia recently organized an event in Jeddah.
  • The event featured an enlightening panel discussion on women’s empowerment and economic inclusion

JEDDAH: The Women in Business Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Saudi Arabia recently organized an event in Jeddah dedicated to honoring the remarkable achievements of female entrepreneurs in the Kingdom.

Maha Al-Juffali, founder, director, and supervising board member of the Help Center, highlighted her journey as an entrepreneur and the establishment of her NGO supporting individuals with intellectual disabilities in Saudi Arabia during a time when their needs were largely overlooked.

She said: “It demanded resourcefulness, innovation, and hands-on engagement at every turn. We overcame challenges, and with the support of my family and friends, we achieved significant progress in reshaping societal perceptions and providing essential support to individuals with disabilities.”

Al-Juffali highlighted the essential ingredients that empower women entrepreneurs to thrive, stating: “It’s about fostering a supportive ecosystem that nurtures their ambitions, providing access to mentorship, networks, and tailored financial instruments. Additionally, it involves changing the narrative and challenging outdated stereotypes by celebrating female role models and showcasing their achievements to inspire others.”

She also emphasized the significance of leveraging the digital revolution, stating: “It is crucial to embrace the opportunities presented by the digital revolution, which have opened unprecedented avenues for women entrepreneurs. Technology has become a great equalizer, enabling individuals with vision and determination to launch and scale businesses.”

The event featured an enlightening panel discussion on women’s empowerment and economic inclusion, moderated by Nora Al-Jindi, director of Dar Al-Hekma University’s marketing program.

Joining the panel were esteemed guests such as Marriam Mossalli, founder of Niche Arabia; Dania Shinkar, founder and creative director of Dania Shinkar Ltd; Jehan Alallah, IT manager at Amazon; and Mohammed Khan, associate professor in the marketing, entrepreneurship, and strategy department at Effat University.

The session delved into a range of topics, including effective scaling strategies, leveraging networks, and attracting investors, offering valuable insights from experienced business leaders. Moreover, the event served as a platform to showcase the exceptional talent, innovation, and resilience of female entrepreneurs who are playing a pivotal role in shaping the business landscape of Saudi Arabia.

Mossalli emphasized the importance of networking and relationships in the Saudi entrepreneurial landscape, saying: “Events like these facilitate networking and relationship-building. Despite the digital advancements and various platforms, it still boils down to who you know. I eagerly anticipate the next one.”

She highlighted the challenges of scaling a business, noting the psychological shift required to delegate responsibilities. “Scaling is the most challenging part, especially when your business is your baby. Delegating and letting go is a psychological change you have to get used to. It’s not about stepping down but about trusting others. Taking risks, like expanding Niche into large events, was scary but necessary. It's about pushing through fear and embracing competition.”

She also commended the government’s efforts in breaking down taboos around working women, calling it “a positive change from the top down.”

For aspiring entrepreneurs, Mossalli advised: “Immerse yourself in the industry you aim to enter. Work in various roles and gain a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of the business before embarking on their entrepreneurial journey.”

Shinkar said: “My involvement in the event centered around fashion female entrepreneurs. The event has been fantastic for networking and raising awareness about female entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia. The recent reforms under Vision 2030 have provided significant opportunities and support for female entrepreneurs through initiatives, programs, and incubators. These have been invaluable in offering mentorship, funding, and access to trade shows and fashion exhibitions, helping us gain brand exposure regionally and internationally.”

Zeina Alnouri, AmCham Saudi Arabia Jeddah chapter coordinator, emphasized the importance of women supporting each other in business to pave the way for current and future success.

She said: “To excel as women in business, it’s important to work with one another to pave the path for those who are currently working towards their success and those who will come after them. We are proud to have brought together so many influential females from various fields this evening. It is inspiring to witness the accomplishments and experiences of each of our guests, and we eagerly anticipate hosting similar events of this caliber in the future.”

Attendees had the opportunity to engage in networking and knowledge-sharing activities, gaining valuable perspectives on the successes and challenges faced by women in business.


Specialist hospital organizes Advanced Therapies Forum

Specialist hospital organizes Advanced Therapies Forum
Updated 15 sec ago
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Specialist hospital organizes Advanced Therapies Forum

Specialist hospital organizes Advanced Therapies Forum
  • Event in Riyadh will bring together 30 representatives from various government organizations and academic institutions alongside advanced therapy manufacturing companies
  • Forum’s agenda seeks to build bridges between academic healthcare institutions, industry stakeholders, funding agencies, investors, regulators, and government agencies

RIYADH: The King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center is set to host the Advanced Therapies Forum which will take place from June 23-24, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The event in Riyadh will bring together 30 representatives from various government organizations and academic institutions alongside advanced therapy manufacturing companies. It will aim to foster a collaborative environment where industrial partners can showcase their research and forge strategic alliances with healthcare institutions.

The forum’s agenda seeks to build bridges between academic healthcare institutions, industry stakeholders, funding agencies, investors, regulators, and government agencies. It also strives to increase the number of clinical research studies in the fields of T-cell therapy and gene therapy.

Industrial partners, including pharmaceutical companies of all sizes, will have the opportunity to explore avenues for launching clinical research initiatives at KFSH&RC.

The forum will feature 15 keynote speeches, over 30 presentations on ongoing projects by industry leaders, five panel discussions, and numerous other sessions. The goal is to cultivate a shared vision for the future of advanced therapies in the Kingdom and to localize manufacturing technology for cellular and gene therapies.

In recent years, KFSH&RC has emerged as a beacon of hope for patients who faced limited treatment options, using genetically modified immune cells to successfully treat more than 120 individuals.

The journey began with a positive outcome for the first child from the region to be treated using T-cells. More recently, the hospital successfully applied advanced gene therapy to eight patients with hereditary hemophilia. The single-dose therapy effectively elevated levels of the missing clotting factor, empowering patients to reclaim their lives.

KFSH&RC has been ranked 20th among the top 250 academic healthcare institutions worldwide, according to SPA, and has held the top spot in the Middle East and Africa region for two consecutive years.

Currently, more than 30 gene and genetically modified cell therapies have been officially approved for clinical use. Experts predict that the global cell and gene therapy market is poised for exponential growth, outpacing the traditional pharmaceutical industry to surpass a staggering $50 billion annually by 2027.

It is estimated that more than 2 million patients will benefit from T-cell therapy within the next decade, with more than a thousand clinical research studies actively underway across the globe.


Award-winning Saudi film ‘Norah’ premieres in theaters across the Kingdom

A special screening of award-winning Saudi film “Norah”  was held on Wednesday night at Roshn Front’s Vox Cinema.
A special screening of award-winning Saudi film “Norah” was held on Wednesday night at Roshn Front’s Vox Cinema.
Updated 14 min 36 sec ago
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Award-winning Saudi film ‘Norah’ premieres in theaters across the Kingdom

A special screening of award-winning Saudi film “Norah”  was held on Wednesday night at Roshn Front’s Vox Cinema.
  • “Norah” achieved great success at the 78th annual Cannes International Film Festival
  • Film was first screened last December at the Red Sea International Film Festival, where it won the “Best Saudi Film” award

RIYADH: The award-winning Saudi film “Norah” made its premiere in the Kingdom on Thursday after its international success at the Cannes Film Festival.

A special screening was held on Wednesday night at Roshn Front’s Vox Cinema, where director Tawfik Al-Zaidi was in attendance alongside the film’s star, Maria Bahrawi, and her acclaimed co-stars Yaqoub Al-Farhan and Abdullah Al-Sadhan.

Al-Farhan told Arab News: “To be accepted in Cannes is an indication of how important this film is, and also an indication of how much progress the film industry (has made) here.

“Although it’s still the beginning of it, we’re starting to see the results of the huge work that’s happening right now.

“I’m very positive about the future. If this is the beginning, I think after five or 10 years, we’ll be seeing a lot of great films from Saudi.”

“Norah” achieved great success at the 78th annual Cannes International Film Festival, where it was the official selection for the “Un Certain Regard” competition, one of the most critical titles of the event. It also received the Special Mention from the jury, making it the most notably recognized Saudi film at Cannes.

The film takes place in a remote Saudi village in the 90s, where Norah (played by Bahrawi) dreams of seeing horizons beyond her small village. As a new teacher, Nader (played by Al-Farhan) makes his way to her hometown, and Norah’s world begins to open up through art, knowledge and creativity, leading her to discover more about her own family history.

“The fact that they chose me for the role only two weeks before production was a surprise for me. But, thankfully, my first role in a film was a success and reached international audiences. I’m very proud and happy that today it’ll be in cinemas and the world can see it, and I’m excited to see people’s reactions,” Bahrawi told Arab News.

While it was first screened last December at the Red Sea International Film Festival, where it won the “Best Saudi Film” award, the nationwide cinema premiere is a culmination of the film’s journey to its intended audience: the Saudi public.

Bahrawi said: “The fact that they chose me for the role only two weeks before production was a surprise for me. But, thankfully, my first role in a film was a success and reached international audiences. I’m very proud and happy that today it’ll be in cinemas and the world can see it, and I’m excited to see people’s reactions.

“Since I was young, I’ve always dreamed of being an actress, and today I can say that I’ve reached that and acted in my first film as a lead role… AlUla was the city that made my first dream come true.”

Taking public participation even further, a competition was presented to the public last Thursday inviting all girls named Norah to play a part. About 500 girls took part, and two winners received tickets to the special pre-screening event.

“Norah” is the first Saudi feature to be filmed entirely in AlUla. “The city itself and its locations really complemented the film’s story, so that was a wonderful choice for the location,” Bahrawi said.

While the film is both Bahrawi’s debut on the big screen and Al-Zaidi’s first feature film, it was also a personal experience for Al-Farhan, who is widely known for his role in the TV mini series “Rashash.”

“There’s so many similarities between me and the character, which is why it’s a very personal project for me and it’s so dear to my heart, especially after the achievement of the Cannes Film Festival,” he said.

In preparation for the role, Al-Farhan spent time with a professional sketch artist in order to learn the craft for his role — even simple things like holding a pencil the right way.

He said that the beginning sketches featured in the film were his own work, but the final results were “by a real artist.”

Production was supported by the Film Commission through Daw, a national initiative to support and encourage Saudi filmmakers. The film also received support from Film AlUla, the Red Sea Film Fund and Generation 2030.

The inspiration for “Norah” came to Al-Zaidi in 2015 from his need to express something within him. In the same way that Al-Farhan’s character, Nader, portrays his feelings on sketchbooks and canvases, Al-Zaidi uses the big screen.

He told Arab News: “I’m a lover of art in all its forms, whether its music, drawing or visiting museums, cinema encapsulates all of these arts and shows them beautifully through a film’s crew.

“I wanted to create these emotions between two people who love art, Norah and Nader. Art is a means of communication between people, and a means of expression as well.”

As the Saudi film scene continues to develop and grow toward global horizons, Al-Zaidi is confident that the industry can overcome challenges.

“Challenges will always be there, but as they say, ‘success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan’ ... if you believe in yourself, you will get there,” he said.


OIC marks World Refugee Day

OIC marks World Refugee Day
Updated 42 min 15 sec ago
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OIC marks World Refugee Day

OIC marks World Refugee Day
  • Hissein Brahim Taha called for prioritizing the humanitarian needs of vulnerable people forced to flee their homes due to wars, conflicts and natural disasters
  • Brahim Taha said that offering aid and protection to migrants is not only a humanitarian obligation, but also an Islamic duty

JEDDAH: Organization of Islamic Cooperation Secretary-General Hissein Brahim Taha has reiterated the OIC’s support and solidarity with world refugees.

He called for prioritizing the humanitarian needs of vulnerable people forced to flee their homes due to wars, conflicts and natural disasters.

In a statement released on Thursday to mark World Refugee Day, observed annually on June 20, Taha expressed deep gratitude and admiration toward OIC member states for their efforts in providing refuge to displaced people.

He said that offering aid and protection to migrants is not only a humanitarian obligation, but also an Islamic duty.

Taha acknowledged that OIC member states shoulder the largest share of global responsibility in hosting more than half of the world’s refugees. He urged the international community to stand in support of the OIC member states and highlighted the importance of establishing equitable partnerships.

The secretary-general praised the pivotal role played by UNRWA in alleviating the suffering of Palestinian refugees.

He called on the international community to exert concerted efforts to hold the Israeli occupation accountable for its disregard of international laws.


Authorities at Halat Ammar crossing see off departing Hajj pilgrims

Saudi authorities at the Halat Ammar border crossing, in the northwest of the Kingdom, continue to bid farewell to pilgrims.
Saudi authorities at the Halat Ammar border crossing, in the northwest of the Kingdom, continue to bid farewell to pilgrims.
Updated 49 min 9 sec ago
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Authorities at Halat Ammar crossing see off departing Hajj pilgrims

Saudi authorities at the Halat Ammar border crossing, in the northwest of the Kingdom, continue to bid farewell to pilgrims.
  • Worshippers expressed their gratitude to the Saudi government after being offered copies of the Qur’an, SPA said

RIYADH: Saudi authorities at the Halat Ammar border crossing, in the northwest of the Kingdom, continue to bid farewell to departing pilgrims.

Pilgrims expressed their gratitude to the Saudi government after being offered copies of the Qur’an, Saudi Press Agency reported. 

Hajj 2024 ended on Tuesday and those pilgrims who visited Madinah before the annual pilgrimage have started to leave the Kingdom.  


Ministry supervises Riyadh slaughterhouses for Eid

Slaughterhouses in the Riyadh region received 8,623 slaughters on the fourth day of Eid Al-Adha. (SPA)
Slaughterhouses in the Riyadh region received 8,623 slaughters on the fourth day of Eid Al-Adha. (SPA)
Updated 20 June 2024
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Ministry supervises Riyadh slaughterhouses for Eid

Slaughterhouses in the Riyadh region received 8,623 slaughters on the fourth day of Eid Al-Adha. (SPA)
  • Ministry said its technical teams carried out 277 regulatory tours of markets and slaughterhouses in Riyadh and 510 visits to shops, stalls and yards

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture said that slaughterhouses in the Riyadh region received 8,623 slaughters on the fourth day of Eid Al-Adha.

This was through both fixed and mobile slaughterhouses supervised by the specialized teams from the ministry’s branch in the region, conducting regulatory operations and providing veterinary inspection services for all livestock.

The ministry said that its technical teams carried out 277 regulatory tours of markets and slaughterhouses in Riyadh and 510 visits to shops, stalls and yards in the region’s markets. These activities resulted in issuing 14 warnings and one violation for non-compliance with health regulations and requirements in slaughterhouses.

In addition, citizens and residents continued to respond positively to the community initiative, “One-third of the sacrifice,” contributing to meat donations for families in need. 

The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture’s branch in the Riyadh region has made significant efforts during this year’s Eid Al-Adha season.

These included early preparations for organizing the main and temporary sheep markets, as well as the regular and mobile slaughterhouses.