Jordanian startup, Ruuq, wins US$25,000 equity-free cash prize from e&
Ruuq won the MENA finals of the TiE Women pitch competitions at North Star during Gitex, earning its founder, Alizar Tawil an equity-free cash prize of $25,000 from e& capital (the investment pillar of e&). The runner up prize of $10,000 from NB Ventures went to ImInclusive’s Hafsa Qadeer.
The winners were selected by a jury panel that included Neelesh Bhatnagar, Managing Director of NB Ventures, Noreen Nasralla, Group Senior Vice President Brand and Communications at e&, and Sima Ganwani Ved, Founder & Vice Chairperson of Apparel Group.
All five MENA regional finalists that include Bright Sign (Hadeel Ayoub), The Baby Garage (Farah Ahmed Faraq), Clever Play (Latifa Al-Khalifa), the winner, Ruuq (Alizar Tawil) and runner-up, ImInclusive (Hafsa Qadeer) will get investor meetings with e& capital and Wamda as well as access to the Gitex Investor Lounge at North Star and subsidized business license setup from in5. The MENA finalists will represent TiE Dubai and the MENA region in the global finals at TiE Global Summit scheduled in December in Hyderabad, India, where they will compete for the $100,000 equity-free prize money.
Wamda used the occasion to launch a special report it undertook with TiE Dubai and TiE Women, to better understand the reasons for the gender investment gap in the Mena region and how to overcome them.
In the first nine months of this year, less than $50 million was invested in startups founded solely by women - about 2 per cent of the total ($2.4 billion). Startups with both male and female co-founders raised $127 million in total, or 5 per cent of the total. Investment figures from last year paint a similarly dire picture. The region is not unique in this regard, investment patterns here are reflective of global trends, where in 2021 just 2 per cent of the $6.4 billion VC investments was directed at female-founded startups.
Fadi Ghandour, chairman of Wamda, said, "The MENA region has made tremendous strides in enabling the startup ecosystem and increasing the amount of funding available to founders, but female founders continue to face a significant disadvantage when raising investment. This report highlights the struggles that women face and the steps that we as an ecosystem can take to improve the gender investment gap.”
President of TiE Dubai, Ashish Panjabi agrees. He added, “I am pleased to see that "bridging the gender gap" has been gaining momentum especially in the startup ecosystem. But, judging by this latest survey we undertook with Wamda, we still have a long way to go especially in this region. We need to look at women entrepreneurs as just entrepreneurs because our global TiE Women competition has shown us that these entrepreneurs are innovative and deserve to be treated as equals with the same checks and balances as any other business that is looking for investment. This means our investor ecosystem needs a mindset change.”
Wamda accelerates entrepreneurship ecosystems across the Middle East and North Africa region through its sector-agnostic investment vehicle, Wamda Capital.