Visa and FAB Celebrate UAE Women Entrepreneurs: Thrift for Good Founder Wins She’s Next Grant Program
Jennifer Sault, the Founder of Thrift for Good, a charitable shop based in Dubai dedicated to rehoming preloved clothes and items to raise funds for children's charities worldwide, has been crowned as the deserving winner of the second She's Next grant program for the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Hosted by Visa, a global leader in digital payments, in collaboration with First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB),
Jennifer Sault's woman-owned small business has been awarded a grant of US$50,000, coupled with a year of invaluable business coaching provided by the International Trade Centre (ITC), a prominent organisation affiliated with the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation. In addition, Thrift for Good will receive US$3,000 in Amazon Web Services (AWS) credits. The business coaching, facilitated by the ITC SheTrades Initiative, a flagship program for women and trade, promises to provide Jennifer with the essential tools and guidance to further elevate her business.
The applicants represented a diverse array of sectors, including textiles, education, food and beverage, professional services, beauty, and wellness. An expert jury panel, comprising distinguished individuals such as Shaikha Ali AlNaqbi, Head of Contracting Segment – Corporate Banking at First Abu Dhabi Bank; Khuloud Al Omian, CEO & Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Middle East; Carl Manlan, VP, Inclusion Impact & Sustainability at Visa, CEMEA; Houda Buhumaid, Chief Impact Officer at Dubai Holding; Wendy Paratian, Program Officer at She Trades; and Hadi Aloh, Head of Sales, Commercial Segment UAE at AWS, meticulously evaluated the entries. They assessed the applicants based on several criteria, including the progress of their entrepreneurial journey, the strength of their business metrics, their digital presence, and their demonstrated ability to confidently solve business challenges.
For the first time, the She's Next program introduced the "People's Favourite" award, determined through online voting by members of the general public. This prestigious accolade, accompanied by a cash prize of US$10,000, was bestowed upon Nada Alawadhi, the Founder of The Bookshelf, an innovative bilingual book subscription service for children.
Sustainability emerged as a prominent theme among the She's Next applicants, with many showcasing environmentally responsible business practices. According to the SMB Digitisation Index commissioned by Visa in support of the She's Next program, 100 percent of women entrepreneurs surveyed in the GCC acknowledged the increasing importance of sustainability in today's business landscape. This underscores their commitment to reducing waste, recycling products (45 percent), and minimising plastic usage (51 percent).
Participation in the She's Next program has already empowered these women entrepreneurs with practical insights from women leaders, valuable tools, educational resources, and facilitated training opportunities. This includes access to the AWS Connected Community and the ITC SheTrades Initiative's "Elevate Your Business" training program. Visa and ITC are also committed to providing one-to-one advisory support for 30 finalists, equipping them with guidance and insights to enhance their business and financial strategies.