UAE: Meet the Emirati woman named Mena Fintech Leader of the Year – News


The mother-of-two propelled Dubai’s innovation with DIFC’s Fintech Hive, which has accelerated more than 200 startups since its inception

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By web office

Published: Wed Sep 14, 2022 11:12 PM

Last update: Wed Sep 14, 2022 11:37 PM

Raja Al Mazrouei, Executive Vice President of DIFC Fintech Hive, is a role model for empowering Emirati women in the 21st century as the young nation moves towards the Next 50.

Modest Al Mazrouei, a doting mother of two young boys, Ali and Omar, has consistently been listed among the 100 Powerful Businesswomen in the Middle East according to Forbes, one of the 50 Most Influential Women in Middle East Finance according to Dow Jones, and was even named Mena Fintech Leader of the Year by Entrepreneur magazine.

She thought back to her formative years at Al Karamah in the city of Abu Dhabi. “It’s a blessing to be born in the United Arab Emirates and to grow up in a country that is changing every day,” she said.

“Our nation is an inspiration to the rest of the world because the UAE is a young country that has achieved so much in such a short time – and the same goes for us Emiratis. We were born in a culture and in a community that supports creativity, innovation, progress and rapid development.

Although we have faced several challenges, we have always overcome them through our courage, determination and dedication through excellent leadership. Our visionary leaders have empowered us to understand how to make the most of endless opportunities to hone our skills and grow as a community, and build a strong and resilient nation in a rapidly changing world,” she said. .

Her exposure to technology in the 1990s – fueled by her “curious mind about this new science” – set her apart among her peers. “I was one of the first Emirati women to major in technology in the 1990s,” she said.

Technology was not fashionable at the time, as many of my peers worked in education or business management. Initially, I started my career as a computer programmer. I started to take on more complex roles in technology and infrastructure management, and network systems implementation after moving to Dubai from my native Abu Dhabi,” she said. .

Looking back, 2014 was a pivotal year.

“That year, I had the opportunity to join Harvard Business School in an advanced management executive education program, and there I was exposed to more advanced options,” said she added.

Luckily, she was exposed to endless possibilities and probabilities to leverage her education and launched DIFC Fintech Hive three years later in 2017.

“We launched DIFC FinTech Hive to enable financial institutions to harness technology and co-create opportunities with fintech entrepreneurs and startups who wanted to come to the region from around the world. I leveraged my connections and networks to promote the entity,” she said.

The figures speak for themselves of the coming of age of the fledgling entity under his capable leadership.

“So far, we have accelerated more than 200 startups through our various programs. Our startups have raised more than $500 million (1,836.50 Dh) in funding; we have launched more than 100 products in the MENA region thanks to these startups.

In 2019, we launched AccelerateHer, a women-focused career mentoring accelerator that aims to equip young, aspiring executives with the tools and experience to expand their knowledge and reach in the industry, and play a more active role in shaping the future of finance. countryside.”

Data showed that more than 80 women were fast-tracked through this program, of which around 20% are Emirati.

Al Mazrouei, who enjoys traveling the world and immersing herself in cultural traditions and global social mores, credited her stellar career path to her “supportive family,” who encouraged her to persist with academics to quench his thirst for knowledge.

However, she chooses not to isolate her own family, but “the Emirati culture as a whole”.

She said: “We are on the whole caring and supportive of each other. Inclusiveness is a hallmark, which is evident from the fact that the UAE is a home away from home of over 200 diverse nationalities.

Traveling has broadened Al Mazrouei’s horizons and his learning experience is constantly enriched with people, books, videos and films.

“Critical thinking is key. Perhaps the only way to hone this skill is to explore new topics and seize opportunities in a brave new world driven by robotics, artificial intelligence, Web 3.0 and innovation,” she said.

Al Mazrouei is optimistic about the next generation of Emiratis. “I am hopeful for the next generation, who will remain connected to our glorious culture. I encourage my young sons — Ali and Omar — to learn the technology, which has changed the world.

They remain open to other learning options, and I don’t push them towards one or the other. But I can see the future holds huge opportunities for young people in technology as well as financial services and the economy, as this is what contributes to overall GDP (gross domestic product) and will create unique opportunities for the next generation,” she signed. stopped.

A stellar career

Al Mazrouei encapsulates the dizzying growth and development of his eponymous Arab ethnicity – the main Bedouin section of the Bani Yas, who lived in the Liwa settlements in the largest emirate of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi.

Until the first half of the 20th century, Bedouin livelihoods depended largely on camels and pearl boats amid the decline of camel herding and date palm plantations.

In less than half a century, Al Mazrouei has shown his entrepreneurial spirit and passion for progress, which have driven his achievements and continue to fuel his ambition to strengthen the UAE’s position as a as a destination for innovation on the world stage.

She has held senior positions in the IT sector, operations and marketing teams of various organizations including Dubai Holding, National Bonds Corporation and Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC).

His marketing and communications expertise has enabled him to bring brands to life and foster communities to create business opportunities and societal impact for the growing fintech industry.

Al Mazrouei has over a decade of experience in the financial services industry; she developed the FinTech Hive, an ecosystem for fintech entrepreneurs and stakeholders in Dubai. It is the top contributor to the Emirates and ranked among the top 10 global FinTech hubs.

She has been instrumental in bringing together leading financial institutions, government entities, technology partners, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs to achieve the common goal of driving the UAE’s innovation agenda and shape the future of financial services. Al Mazrouei has contributed significantly to building a vibrant and vibrant community of over 350 startups operating in DIFC.

She is a graduate of Harvard Business School (HBS), member of the advisory board of Harvard Business School MENA (Middle East and North Africa) and vice-president of the HBS club for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Region.

She also sits on the boards of Dubai FinTech Ventures and Al Masraf Arab Bank for Investment and Foreign Trade. Finally, she is a board member of the Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government.



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