Ten judges awarded three Hadafi winners cash prizes, business incubation, MBA scholarships from Synergy University, and a substantial mentoring package for their ventures worth over US$70,000 in the latest season of the program. On June 29, the Hadafi Final Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner took place at the Ritz-Carlton in Dubai, UAE, with 11 shortlisted projects presented. Each project presentation pitch was followed by a question and answer session, to help determine the top three ideas. Hadafi’s first place winner, the Egypt-based El Dactara founded by Nada Hamada, aims to improve healthcare info and access, while UAE-based second place winner Marian Al-Nahdi, founder of SnapChef, tackles on-demand human capital solutions for the hospitality industry. The third place winner, Kuwaiti Ghadeer Al-Shirazi, is the founder of Q8Reborn, a range of original one-off children’s accessories and dolls. This year’s candidates for the final selection were from across the MENA region, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Palestine.
Launched in 2013 out of Saudi Arabia, Hadafi is a free development program and competition that provides female entrepreneurs with training, finance and support to found an enterprise across the MENA region. Previous winners include Wardat Store, a KSA-based e-commerce initiative supporting the community by working with local craftsmen and shops, and MICEit.co, an events booking and management platform in MENA. If you’re interested, application eligibility includes being a MENA woman aged 18 years and above who wants to launch a startup or has founded a business in the past two years.