Top 20 Women-Led Startups in UAE 2023: Empowering Innovation and Entrepreneurship

by Khurram Shahzad


Over the last several decades, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has evolved into an increasingly varied and prosperous country. The support of female entrepreneurship on the part of the government has led to the establishment of a diverse variety of firms that women run. These Arab women have first-hand experience working in the United Arab Emirates and have the potential to serve as role models for other Arab women in their respective countries. Women in the United Arab Emirates have created many different types of enterprises, and we will discuss some of them in more depth in the following sections.

  • According to a report by Mastercard, the UAE is one of the top ten countries in the world for women’s entrepreneurship. The report ranked 58 economies based on factors such as access to financial services, ease of doing business, and cultural perceptions of women entrepreneurs. The UAE was ranked 6th overall and 1st in the Middle East and North Africa region.
  • The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2020/2021 report for the UAE showed that 39.2% of early-stage entrepreneurial activity was led by women, and the total entrepreneurial activity rate for women was 9.2%. Additionally, women in the UAE were more likely to start businesses out of necessity (61.6%) compared to men (53.6%).
  • According to a study by Dubai Women Establishment (DWE), women-owned businesses in Dubai contribute approximately AED 50 billion to the emirate’s economy annually. The study also found that women in Dubai were more likely to be involved in knowledge-intensive industries such as healthcare, education, and professional services.
  • The Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC) has over 2,000 members and was established in 2002 to support and promote the participation of women in the economy. The council provides various services to its members, such as training and development, networking opportunities, and access to funding.
  • In 2020, the Dubai government launched the Dubai Business Women’s Council (DBWC) Fund to support women-owned small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The fund provides financial assistance, training, and mentoring to help women entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses.
  • The UAE government has implemented various policies and initiatives to support women entrepreneurs, such as the UAE National Strategy for Empowerment of Emirati Women 2015-2021, which includes increasing the percentage of women in the workforce from 22.5% to 30% by 2021. The government has also established the Women’s Economic Empowerment Global Summit to provide a platform for discussing and sharing best practices for women’s entrepreneurship.

Huda Kattan

Kattan is the Chief Executive Officer of Huda Beauty, a cosmetics company she established in the United Arab Emirates in the form of a beauty blog in 2010. After another three years, she and her sisters began selling false eyelashes at Sephora to transform the business into a cosmetic enterprise. Huda Beauty is currently responsible for producing a wide variety of products, including moisturizing creams, cosmetics, serums, and fragrances.

Mona Kattan

Huda Beauty, a cosmetics brand, was established in 2013 by Kattan and her sisters, Huda and Alya, as co-founders. Kayali continued to launch her perfume brand over the following five years. Several well-known people, like Eva Longoria, Adriana, and others, have used her products over the last several years. She operates out of the United Arab Emirates, a phenomenal region for the advancement of female business owners.

Rayan Al Sulaimani

Al Sulaimani is the Chief Executive Officer and Creative Director of the Atelier Zuhra couture enterprise. Mouza Al Awfi, her mother, was the one who came up with the idea. Kareena Kapoor and Kareena Minaj have been seen wearing the label’s wares, and both Kareenas is Kareena’s. In addition to the work she does in the United Arab Emirates, her life is an example that other Arabic-speaking countries may look up to for motivation.

Mouna Abbassy

Abbassy’s own natural skincare company was born ten years ago when she was motivated to create it with traditional Moroccan recipes. The business has expanded its range of offerings to include skin, hair, and body care products. In 2021, IZIL moved its headquarters to Dubai, where it also built a Moroccan Hammam and Spa inside the Dubai Mall. As of the 4th of April 2022, ISIL’s Instagram account has a following of more than 341,000 people.

Yasmine Yeya

At Maison Yeya, you’ll find haute couture, ready-to-wear, bridal couture, private couture, and accessories, among other options. The company anticipates that its operations will have almost doubled by the year 2021, and in the same year, it will also be expanding into the GCC, Mexico, and the UAE.

Hannah Curran

PureBorn is a company that sells organic bamboo baby products such as diapers, wipes, and eco-bags. These products are cruelty-free to animals, hypoallergenic, certified by dermatologists, and ecologically sustainable. Her work in the United Arab Emirates is getting women in that country off to a great start

Marmar Halim

A fashion designer established in Dubai, Marmar Halim creates evening and wedding gowns, ready-to-wear, and luxurious kaftans. The brand is known for its ready-to-wear. Marmar Halim was founded by Halim, who also serves as the company’s creative director. The organization operates out of thirteen sites throughout the globe, including public relations agencies in India, the United Arab Emirates, and Los Angeles.

Nadine Kanso

The designs of Bil Arabi include Arabic calligraphy, yet with a contemporary twist here and there. Lebanese actress Nadine Nassib Njeim donned her diamonds throughout her appearance. As a photographer, she has the potential to display her work at the Cuadro Gallery in Dubai’s International Financial Center.

Maha Morley-Kirk

Fifteen Makeup & Beauty is working on developing two new eyelash lines: Pinky Goat, which is a vegan eyelash brand, and Eyecha Lashes, which is a recycled eyelash line. Pinky Goat lashes may be purchased in the United Arab Emirates and over 3,000 other countries across the globe from popular retail establishments like Superdrug, Lifestyle, Faces, and Boot.

Madiyah Al Sharqi

Al Sharqi is the name of the ruler of Fujairah’s daughter, who is the daughter of Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi. In 2012, she created her fashion firm, which now sells wares in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia online and in physical stores. Karen Wazen, a prominent figure in the fashion industry of the twenty-first century and a designer of eyeglasses, joined with Al Sharqi in 2021 to create a joint eyewear collection.

Sarah Beydoun

Beydoun is the proprietor of Sarah’s Bag and serves as creative director for the company. Beyonce and Amal Clooney, among other well-known people, have been seen wearing her one-of-a-kind handcrafted creations. She contributes to significant initiatives in the clothing and accessories industries in the UAE and other Arab nations.

Razan Alazzouni

The dresses and kaftans designed by Razan Alazzouni are well-known for their use of layers, beading, and embroidery. There have been photographs taken of famous people, such as Emma Roberts and Kendal Jenner, wearing items created by the firm. She is employed in several Middle Eastern countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, etc.

Mina Al Sheikhly

Mina Al Sheikhly’s Elevated and Tailored Mascaras is the name of the product, and it was developed and packaged in Italy and the United Arab Emirates. Since it was established in November 2021, the line has brought in more than one million dollars in income, thanks to contributions from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Noha Nabil

Nabil debuted her namesake label in the latter half of the year 2020. Nabil rose to fame on the small screen at a young age, anchoring youth shows on Al Watan and Dubai TV while living in Dubai and Kuwait. Nabil is a well-known fashion blogger and influencer, and he has built up an excellent following on Instagram, which now numbers 11.3 million followers.

Faiza Bouguessa

In 2014, Bouguessa began her fashion firm out of a studio located in Dubai’s Design District. Since then, she has expanded to produce three collections annually. The pattern is handling online and in-store sales for the Dubai-based company in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Dubai.

Noor Rashid and Haya Mohammed Al Khalifa

During London Fashion Week in September 2021, cousin Al Khalifa presented their designs for the Spring 2022 and Fall 2022 seasons. Jenifer Lopez and Eva Longoria have both been seen wearing designs created by the duo. Her accomplishments in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates serve as a powerful role model for other women in the country.

Arwa Alammari

How Alammari mixes aspects of her Saudi lineage into her work stands out as one of the artist’s defining characteristics. Her collection has been worn by some famous Arab women, such as Mai Selim, Mahira Abdelaziz, and Nojoud Alrumaihi. Alammari was also responsible for the costumes worn by Saudi opera soprano Reemaz Oqbi and pianist Rowaida Raffa when they performed at the Dubai Expo 2020 in January 2022. In addition to this, Alammari serves as an ambassador for the Saudi Fashion Council and as a fashion consultant for many firms in the UAE fashion industry.

Balqees Fathi

As of April 2022, Fathi, an Emirati singer, has 13 million followers on Instagram, 1.4 million Facebook fans, and 1.76 million subscribers on YouTube. He is a well-known celebrity. Ahmed Fathi is not just a well-known musician from Yemen, but he is also her mother’s biological father. Large retail establishments in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, such as Ounass. and FACES, both carry BEX Beauty, which can be sent anywhere.

Rania & Zaina Kanaan

Their company, Chari Cycles, focuses on restoring discarded bicycles and donating them to children who have fled their homes in the Middle East. As a result, the three have become relatively well-known in Dubai, where they now reside with their brother and sister. The sisters polished their abilities and are now operating a booming business and donation center that is becoming well-known in the surrounding neighborhood and beyond due to having watched YouTube instructions on how to restore bicycles without having previous knowledge of how to do it.

Nadine du Toit

Glory Girl Fitness is a firm developed and launched by Nadine du Toit in the United Arab Emirates. At Glory Girl Fitness, she offers a variety of innovative programs for women, including equestrian activities like horseback riding and snowboarding, and beach exercises. In contrast to the majority of ex-pats, who, upon moving to Dubai, make a show of pretending they are unaware of the weight gain that occurs as a result of the move, she is notable in that she started her company after first addressing the issue with herself and then turning her solutions into a business.

In conclusion, the United Arab Emirates has become a home for many successful female entrepreneurs who have established a diverse variety of firms in the region, from cosmetics to fashion, and natural skincare. Huda Kattan, Mouna Abbassy, Marmar Halim, and Sarah Beydoun are some of the inspirational women who have created successful brands and have been recognized worldwide. The UAE government’s support has played a significant role in encouraging women’s entrepreneurship and opening doors for other Arabic-speaking countries. The women’s success stories from the UAE have the potential to inspire many others and promote gender equality in the region.



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