Ro’Ya top twelve finalists selected
DBWC and MasterCard announces top twelve out of 70 applicants ahead of the Gala Dinner on 18 November
Dubai, UAE, 05 November2014 – The Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC) and Mastercard, creators of the Ro’Ya initiative, today announced the twelve finalists who will be competing against each other for the first prize at the Gala Dinner on 18 November. The program, which will see the winner walking away with a grand prize of $50,000, was launched in the beginning of the year to encourage women to realize their business potential and to contribute to the economic sector by embarking on new business ventures.
Following the workshops that took place over the last six months, participants had the opportunity to resubmit their reworked business plans on 16 October. The judges then had the vigorous task of carefully evaluating each participant’s business plan resulting in the following candidates being chosen as the twelve finalists: Alexis Martin, Amira Awwad, Bernadette Abraham, Consuelo Escudero, Farriz Fakhani Mashudi, Inken Lasar, Isabelle Millasseau, Lucille A. Ong, Manju Choudhary, Mona Tavassoli, Nadia Wehbe and Yin Yee Chan.
“Every Ro’Ya participant has shown a tremendous deal of commitment and motivation in their business plans and I applaud them for their remarkable efforts and unique ideas,” said Mrs. Raja Al Gurg, President of DBWC. “Our vision for Ro’Ya was to encourage women to take the first step in making their business and entrepreneurial dreams a reality and I can confidently say that through the provided guidance of Ro’Ya this year, we hope to see every one of the 72 applicants fulfill their dreams.”
The judges reviewed 70 business plans which were scored against a set of criteria which covered the basics of planning a new business. These topics included points like: market opportunity, differentiation and innovation, marketability, sustainable competitive edge, management vision, skills and experience, start-up strategy and realistic financial projections, among other.
Commenting on the judging process, Maria Rousan, Founder at BlackIris and a Ro’Ya judge for 2014 said: “The Ro’Ya applicants definitely didn’t give us an easy task this year as each participant showed a great deal of passion, creativity and commitment which is a true inspiration to all of us. It is refreshing to see the caliber of talent available in Dubai and how applicants have truly understood the needs and requirements in Dubai to fill existing market gaps. I wish every applicant the greatest successes and congratulate the twelve finalists for making it this far.”
The twelve finalists will also be attended one final workshop on Sunday, 9 November, that has been created specifically to their needs to prepare them for the Gala Dinner presentations. The one-day simulator entitled “Start-up to Success with the Celemi Enterprise 1 Day Simulation” will be hosted by Maria Pearson, CEO grow.ME and Klaus Miserra who will take the finalists through a 5 year journey as business owners who will gain insight for the decisions they will need to make on a daily basis including risks and rewards where they will have to think strategically to succeed.
During the Gala Dinner, which is taking place on 18 November at the Waldorf Astoria, Palm Jumeirah, eight out of the twelve finalists, who will be selected during a judges meeting taking place on 15 November, will be given the opportunity to pitch their business ideas to the judges and the audience for a chance of becoming the first Ro’Ya winner and price winner of USD 50,000. The runner up will receive USD 30,000 and third place USD 20,000 respectively to be used towards start-up costs for their new business. In addition, five candidates will also receive USD 5,000 each as notable mentions for their dedication and hard work. The top three candidates will also be assigned a mentor from MasterCard to guide them through the start-up process.