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Visa and Bank Muscat announce winners offirst Oman edition of She’s Next program

Winner was selected by an independent committee from more than 880 applicants across a variety of sectors, from textiles to education, food and beverage to professional services, beauty and wellness.

TAS News Service

Sunday, September 10, 2023

MUSCAT : Visa (NYSE: V), the world’s leader in digital payments, together with Bank Muscat announced Yasmeen Al Alawi, the Founder of Sprout, a pioneering healthy food business, as the much-anticipated winner of its first She’s Next grant program for Oman. The winner was selected at an award ceremony held at Princess Noura bint Abdulrahman University in Riyadh.

Handpicked from a pool of over 880 applicants across GCC, the winning woman-owned small business received a US$50,000 grant along with one year of business coaching from International Trade Centre (ITC), a United Nations and World Trade Organization, and US$3,000 of Amazon Web Services credits. The business coaching will be provided by the ITC SheTrades Initiative, ITC’s flagship women and trade program. The winner was selected from a pool of applicants representing a range of sectors including but not limited to textiles, education, food and beverage, professional services, beauty and wellness.

A jury evaluated entries based on the following criteria: the progression of applicant’s entrepreneurial journey; robustness of their business metrics; digital presence; and a demonstrated ability to problem-solve confidently. The members of the jury included: Manish Gautam, Visa’s Country Manager for Oman; Ilham Murtadha Al Hamaid, General Manager of Corporate Banking, Bank Muscat; Rizwan Jawaid, Visa’s Head of Fintech Partnerships & Regional Financial Institutions – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman; and Mona Alsemayen, Country Head, Strategy & Growth at Amazon Payment Services.

For the first time, She’s Next included a People’s Favorite award, voted for online by members of the public. This award with cash prize of US$10,000 went to Shamsa Al Salami, the Founder of Zumr, a platform that bridges the gap between the financially excluded and formal financial services.

Through their participation in the She’s Next program, women entrepreneurs have already had access to practical insights from women leaders, valuable tools, educational resources, and facilitated trainings. This includes access to AWS Connected Community and ITC SheTrades Initiative’s “Elevate Your Business” training program. Visa and ITC will also provide one-to-one advisory support for 30 finalists – equipping these individuals with the guidance and insights to boost their business and financial strategies.

“In a world where women-owned small businesses consistently demonstrate their resilience and future-forward optimism, Visa is proud to acknowledge and support these trailblazing female entrepreneurs in Oman. We extend our heartfelt congratulations once again to the winners of She’s Next in Oman and look forward to supporting them in their business journey,” said Manish Gautam, Visa’s Country Manager for Oman.

Ilham Murtadha Al Hamaid, General Manager – Corporate Banking, Bank Muscat, said: “We are proud to continue this partnership with Visa for the She’s Next program to help empower women-owned SMEs. Bank Muscat is always keen to support entrepreneurs and help them enhance their businesses. I would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere congratulations to the winner of She’s Next in Oman and we wish participants all the success in their journeys. We hope the program will continue to inspire even more women entrepreneurs in the future.”