In a bid to celebrate women entrepreneurs, Mastercard has announced the inaugural Women SME Leaders Awards 2022. The Awards are the first initiative of its kind to recognize and further empower women-owned and run SMEs in the Middle East and Africa.

Nominations are now open for the awards and can be submitted on the Mastercard Awards website. Deadline for nominations is 28th February, 2022. Interested attendees for the virtual awards ceremony can register HERE. The awards are jointly curated by the Entrepreneur Middle East team who will vet shortlisted companies and then pass onto the judging committee that will be chaired by Mastercard.

Following the independent evaluation of the shortlisted candidates by each of the judges, the winners will be decided by a vote. The Women SME Leaders Awards 2022 judging committee consists the following.

  • Amnah Ajmal, Executive Vice President, Market Development, EEMEA for Mastercard
  • Mona Zulficar, Chairperson of EFG Hermes Holding
  • Nejoud Al Mulaik, Director of Fintech Saudi and
  • Tamara Pupic, Managing Editor of Entrepreneur Middle East

Small enterprises in trading owned and run by women and with a turnover of less than Ksh. 1.5 billion (USD 13.6 million) and employing between six to 50 people have been invited to participate. Similarly, all female individuals or businesses who have their headquarters or offices in the Middle East and Africa or offer their services to these markets can submit their nominations for one or more of the 22 awards. The awards allow for individuals to win in more than one category.

“At Mastercard, we believe that women-owned businesses are the catalyst for economic growth, improving the lives of everyone, everywhere. The passion that women SME owners display is unmatched and they raise the bar for everyone. That is why Mastercard has curated the Women SME Leaders Awards to recognize and celebrate women entrepreneurs across Middle East and Africa,” said Amnah Ajmal, Executive Vice President, Market Development, EEMEA for Mastercard.