Arab Business Woman of the Year to address conference
Being a woman was my first challenge, says Arab business leader
The first tranche of speakers for the 2018 Arab-Irish Business Forum has been announced, which will include Arab Business Woman of the Year, Souad Al Hosani and Penelope Shihab, who says that the biggest challenge she faced in business was being a woman.
Souad Al Hosani, President of the Nexus Group will address delegates on the opportunities for Irish businesses in the UAE. She will speak to Irish business leaders interested in expanding into eastern markets about issues such as registering your company overseas, local laws and legalities, logistics and staffing.
Just six years after she founded Nexus, which provides a range of services to companies wishing to establish or relocate their business to the UAE, Souad was awarded the Best Female Business Service Provider in the UAE in 2015. Two years later she received the prestigious Arab Business Woman of the Year Award while still in her 20s and is actively growing the company and expanding into new areas, achieving 20% year-on-year growth.
Being a woman was my first business challenge
Penelope Shihab admits that she had to overcome two major barriers before setting up her business: being a woman and securing finance. But she was a highly-motivated individual having narrowly escaped death on three occasions during times of heightened political unrest in her home town of Palestine. She moved away from Palestine to pursue her natural aptitude for maths and science, and studied in London and Jordan. Combining her academic background with her business acumen, Penelope overcame a number of challenges and established the first innovative biotech company in Jordan and the Arab World, Monojo, which uses research to create a variety of products such as cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
She will be speaking to delegates about the challenges she faced in business; being a female entrepreneur and business leader in the Arab World and how she has since gone on to expand the company into the US.
Risk in the Arab World
Allison Wood of Control Risks spent four years in Dubai providing political and business risk analysis for companies operating in the MENA region. Now operating from London, she is involved in stakeholder mapping, tracking political and security developments in MENA and assessing their implications for commercial activities for companies looking to do business there.
Ahmad Younis, CEO of the Arab-Irish Chamber of Commerce said; “We are extremely fortunate to have secured such a strong line-up of speakers for the conference in October and I think that the experiences and insight that our female speakers will offer will prove invaluable to delegates.
“Whilst this isn’t something that we should feel the need to talk about, I think it’s important to acknowledge that in the past, women faced more barriers to men when doing business in the Arab World. However, we have come a long way and our speakers are testament to the fact that these barriers can and have been overcome. The Forum’s speakers will provide real insight into the challenges that they faced but more importantly, address Irish business leaders on the huge range of opportunities that exist across the Arab states.
“This conference is not about gender. It is about exploiting business prospects and providing senior executives in Ireland with access to unique information and insights they might not otherwise get.”
Other speakers include David Mulville of DataFlow International, Paul Kenny of AYM Commerce and Ramsey Khoury of The Khoury Group.
The third Arab-Irish Business Forum will provide expert analysis, insight and advice on looking beyond Europe and the US for new business opportunities. In addition to speakers from the Arab World, there will be a number of presentations and panel discussions from Irish companies already doing business there.
With more than 450 companies already trading with the Arab World, Irish exports to the region are valued at €4.3 billion and forecast to reach €9 billion over the next two decades.
The event is being jointly organised by the Arab-Irish Chamber of Commerce, Bord Bia, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Emirates Airline and Enterprise Ireland.
Registration is now open at www.arabirishbusinessforum.ie and delegates will have an opportunity to win tickets to Dubai with the award-winning Emirates.