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

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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)
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Dania Shinkar, founder and creative director of Dania Shinkar Ltd. (Supplied)
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Maha Al-Juffali, founder, director, and supervising board member of the Help Center. (Supplied)
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Jehan Alallah, IT manager at Amazon. (Supplied)
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Marriam Mossalli, founder of Niche Arabia. (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 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 Additionally, it involves changing the narrative and challenging outdated stereotypes by celebrating female role models and showcasing their achievements to inspire others.”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.


Strawberry picking in Taif serves up a sweet summer escape

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Strawberry picking in Taif serves up a sweet summer escape

  • Locations help create jobs during the summer season

TAIF: A strawberry farm in the rugged mountains of Al-Hada in Taif has emerged as a popular spot for visitors looking to escape the summer heat and appreciate the beauty of nature away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Arab News recently visited the Al-Hada strawberry farm to see how it captures the essence of the region’s natural beauty and vibrant culture.

At Al-Hada farm in Taif, visitors can pick ripe strawberries and feed wildlife such as ducks, geese and parrots to the soothing sound of a nearby waterfall. (Supplied)

Located high in Al-Hada’s tourist area, the strawberry farm welcomes visitors all year round. The experience allows visitors to pick fresh berries and feed wildlife such as ducks, geese and parrots to the soothing sound of a nearby waterfall.

Along with a modest garden for birds and a lake for ducks and turtles, the space includes stalls selling ice cream, hot drinks and strawberry juice, among other refreshments. It also features seating areas and a cottage.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Turki Al-Ahmadi, Al-Hada farm’s founder, told Arab News that he had designed the farm in a way that draws visitors beyond harvest season from April to June.

• Entry to the farm in Al-Hada costs SR35 ($9).

Turki Al-Ahmadi, the farm’s founder, told Arab News that he had designed the farm in a way that draws visitors beyond harvest season from April to June. Various facilities to provide fun and relaxation in nature have been installed to this end.

At Al-Hada farm in Taif, visitors can pick ripe strawberries and feed wildlife such as ducks, geese and parrots to the soothing sound of a nearby waterfall. (Supplied)

His son, Bandar Al-Ahmadi, said that beside picking strawberries and enjoying the fresh fruit, the family are keen to make the farm a space where adults and children can learn about various types of trees.

The farm showcases models of trees including pomegranate, fig, tangerine, quince, apple and mulberry, with information about their habitat, method of irrigation, places of cultivation, and other key details about their lifespan.

We were told by many relatives who visited the strawberry farm in Al-Hada that their trip to Taif governorate would not be complete if they did not (go for) a strawberry-picking activity.

Hamid Al-Subhi, Visitor

“We were told by many relatives who visited the strawberry farm in Al-Hada that their trip to Taif governorate would not be complete if they did not (go for) a strawberry-picking activity,” Hamid Al- Subhi told Arab News during his visit recently.

At Al-Hada farm in Taif, visitors can pick ripe strawberries and feed wildlife such as ducks, geese and parrots to the soothing sound of a nearby waterfall. (Supplied)

Al-Subhi, who drove from Makkah with his family, was fascinated by the farm’s facilities: “Picking your own strawberries at the farm is really something … my kids really enjoyed it and being on the top of the mountain with such a cool weather really makes our visit more enjoyable.”

Abdul Mohsin Al-Qadi, a visitor from Jeddah, said that the strawberry-picking experience was hugely rewarding for him and his family.

“It is a must-visit destination and a breathtaking view,” he said. “This is our first time visiting this farm and we really enjoyed all activities, from handpicking our strawberries to other family-friendly activities at the small garden for birds and the lake of ducks and turtles,” he said. “It is a great way to enjoy the beauty of the area while also learning about local culture and heritage.”

Entry to the farm in Al-Hada costs SR35 ($9). Strawberry farms can also be found in Abha, Hail and Qatif.

 

 


Al-Asabila Palaces in Al-Namas: Saudi heritage meets urban arts

The heritage palaces in Asir boost economic activity by creating job opportunities during the summer season. (SPA)
Updated 34 sec ago
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Al-Asabila Palaces in Al-Namas: Saudi heritage meets urban arts

  • Locations help create jobs during the summer season

RIYADH: The famous heritage palaces in the Asir region have become tourist destinations, offering a rich blend of history and culture.

The Saudi Press Agency reported that these sites also boost economic activity by creating job opportunities during the summer season.

The heritage palaces in Asir boost economic activity by creating job opportunities during the summer season. (SPA)

The Al-Asabila Palaces, which are situated in Al-Namas Governorate some 150 km south of Abha, have become a major attraction. Situated in the heart of Al-Namas, these palaces now draw hundreds of visitors daily, both tourists and locals, according to the SPA. Their popularity has surged following their inauguration by Prince Turki bin Talal bin Abdulaziz, chairman of the Asir Development Authority.

Visitors begin their tour of the palaces by shopping in areas dedicated to traditional fashions, antiques, and gifts that showcase the heritage and arts of the Asir region.

The heritage palaces in Asir boost economic activity by creating job opportunities during the summer season. (SPA)

They can then relax with coffee and hot drinks before exploring the Abs Palace, which has been restored to welcome guests.

Tourist guide Saleh Al-Shehri told the SPA: “At the beginning of the Saudi era the palaces served as the headquarters for various government agencies, including the court, and as venues for national events.”

FASTFACTS

• Al-Asabila Palaces are situated in Al-Namas governorate some 150 km south of Abha.

• These palaces now draw hundreds of visitors daily, both tourists and locals, Saudi Press Agency reports.

• The initiative to restore the palaces was taken by their owners and helped transform them into a tourist and cultural attraction, says tour guide.

He added that the initiative to restore the palaces was taken by their owners and helped transform them into a tourist and cultural attraction. This effort aligned with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, which aims to revitalize the area and boost domestic tourism.

The heritage palaces in Asir boost economic activity by creating job opportunities during the summer season. (SPA)

Historian Amr bin Gharamah Al-Amrawi says that Al-Namas was established in 1363-1364. However, it only received the name Al-Namas about 150 years ago, being previously known as Al-Waad village.

It was later named after the trees in the surrounding areas and the adjacent valley, while the presence of a well called Al-Namasa also contributed to the village being renamed Al-Namas.

The heritage palaces in Asir boost economic activity by creating job opportunities during the summer season. (SPA)

The heritage site features several palaces, including Abs, Mishref, Turban, and Kharif. These structures, which range from two to three floors in height, are examples of the traditional construction style of the Asir region.

The palaces contain 60 rooms and span a total area of about 5,000 sq. meters. The exteriors are of white limestone, extracted from white quartz stone, while the roofs feature wood, leaves, and juniper. The interiors are finished with plaster mixed with clay.

The heritage palaces in Asir boost economic activity by creating job opportunities during the summer season. (SPA)

According to the SPA, the area is home to numerous archaeological sites from various periods, the most famous location being Al-Jahwah village, mentioned by the traveler Al-Hamdani, which is located east of the present-day Al-Namas Governorate.

Al-Amrawi added that the governorate contains Islamic inscriptions in mountains known as Al-Sijin, Al-Gharamah, Dhul-Ain, Ajama, and Qarn Al-Ghala.

 


Beit Hail festival attracts over 68,000 visitors

Festival highlights include a Hijazi village exhibit, alongside live demonstrations of traditional crafts. (SPA)
Updated 42 sec ago
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Beit Hail festival attracts over 68,000 visitors

  • The festival includes folk art performances from the Hail and Yanbu regions, a “Made in Hail” pavilion, and an array of traditional foods prepared using heritage methods

RIYADH: The third Beit Hail heritage festival, themed “Your Home Away From Home,” has attracted more than 68,000 visitors since its opening at Aja Park earlier this month, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The 30-day event has drawn visitors of all ages from the region and beyond, offering a showcase of local culture and traditions.

Festival highlights include a Hijazi village exhibit, alongside live demonstrations of traditional crafts. (SPA)

Festival highlights include a Hijazi village exhibit featuring Yanbu’s heritage, alongside live demonstrations of traditional crafts.

Visitors can also observe artisans creating prayer beads, practicing Sadu weaving, crafting leather water bottles, and demonstrating embroidery techniques.

HIGHLIGHT

The 30-day event has drawn visitors of all ages from the region and beyond, offering a showcase of local culture and traditions.

Other showcased skills include hand-woven carpet production, crochet, and the crafting of traditional wooden doors with intricate plaster engravings typical of old Hail residences.

Festival highlights include a Hijazi village exhibit, alongside live demonstrations of traditional crafts. (SPA)

The festival also includes folk art performances from the Hail and Yanbu regions, a “Made in Hail” pavilion, and an array of traditional foods prepared using heritage methods.

Nayef Al-Salhoub, head of the organizing committee, told SPA: “Our goal is to connect younger generations with Saudi Arabia’s rich cultural legacy.”

The event runs daily from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., featuring a diverse program of folk activities.

Visitors to the festival value the opportunity to explore Saudi Arabia’s ancestral traditions with their children, learning about historical lifestyles and the ingenious use of natural materials in daily life, SPA added.

 


19,817 residency and labor violators arrested across KSA

Saudi police have arrested hundreds of illegals breaching country’s labor law. (SPA)
Updated 1 min 13 sec ago
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19,817 residency and labor violators arrested across KSA

  • A total of 1,389 individuals were caught attempting to enter the Kingdom, of whom 45 percent were Yemeni, 53 percent were Ethiopian and 2 percent were of other nationalities

RIYADH: In joint field campaigns across the Kingdom from July 11 to July 17, 19,817 people were arrested for violating residency, labor and border security laws.

This number included 12,436 violators of residency laws, 4,881 violators of border-security regulations and 2,500 violators of labor laws.

A total of 1,389 individuals were caught attempting to enter the Kingdom, of whom 45 percent were Yemeni, 53 percent were Ethiopian and 2 percent were of other nationalities. Additionally, 48 individuals were caught attempting to exit the Kingdom illegally.

Nine individuals were apprehended for involvement in transporting, harboring and employing violators and covering up for them.

A total of 17,067 violators — 15,394 men and 1,673 women — are currently being processed by the relevant authorities.

 

 


Who’s Who: Noel Gomes, CEO of ASCES, Al-Halloul, Al-Badila

Noel Cunha de Ornelas Gomes, Chief Executive Officer of ASCES - Al Halloul, Al-Badila
Updated 1 min 20 sec ago
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Who’s Who: Noel Gomes, CEO of ASCES, Al-Halloul, Al-Badila

Noel Gomes was appointed CEO of ASCES, Al-Halloul, Al-Badila (Alternative Solutions Company for Environmental Services) in July 2024.

He is an entrepreneur and executive with a career in the financial sector spanning more than 25 years.

The Saudi private company focuses on global management of waste and disposal solutions.

As CEO, Gomes seeks to promote a circular economy, using advanced technologies to improve operational efficiency and minimize environmental impact. Under his leadership, the company is transforming waste management into a resource-efficient and environmentally friendly process.

Gomes’ career began at PwC in Portugal, where he refined his accounting and financial management skills. This was followed by significant roles in various multinational corporations, including Asea Brown Boveri, where he became chief of the accounting and treasury department, responsible for international financial reporting and strategic financial management.

Later, he was the group finance director at Novagest, and managed financial departments across Portugal and Angola, focusing on budgeting, reporting, and strategic advisory.

Gomes was a financial director at Lyon, an Angolan project development and construction company, where he oversaw accounting, treasury, and human resources, contributing to the company’s growth in Portugal and Angola.

Later, he became CEO of the LLeon Group, where he led the group’s management strategy, represented international groups in Portugal, and played a key role in the international expansion of Ajman government projects in the UAE.

In 2022, Gomes was a business consultant at the private office of Sheikh Ahmed bin Faisal Al-Qassimi in the UAE, where he expanded the office’s international relations and partnerships, particularly in Portugal.

From October 2022 to January 2023, he was chief international officer at Heights and Jewels, managing international relations and business modeling for projects associated with the private company of a member of the Saudi royal family.

Since 2018, Gomes has also been a prominent figure in the football sector, advising investors, and helping clubs, agents, and players to expand their networks and secure the best deals.

He holds a degree in financial audit from the Lisbon Accounting and Business School and a bachelor’s degree in accounting and administration from Instituto Militar dos Pupilos do Exercito in Portugal.