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JA Worldwide Inducts Two Arab Women into its Global Business Hall of Fame

The NGO taps both these remarkable leaders to join a cohort of global and influential business figures.

Two Arab women business leaders, Ayah Bdeir and Sheikha Hanadi Al Thani, have been inducted into the Global Business Hall of Fame, powered by JA Worldwide. The platform is an impact-driven, youth-serving NGO that equips aspiring entrepreneurs with the skill sets necessary to make it big within their ecosystem.

Al Thani is a Qatari icon who has built her legacy championing opportunities for women every step of the way. “Throughout my life, I have fought to pursue opportunities that did not exist for women,” Al Thani recently said. “I was faced with challenges that stemmed from systematic misunderstandings, stagnant norms that were never challenged, and concrete ceilings that boxed me in. With each failure I have become stronger and with each step forward I was taught more about persistence. I only hope that the accumulation of my efforts has made it easier for the upcoming generations of young women and men.”

One of Al Thani’s most notable roles is chairperson of Injaz Al-Arab Qatar, the distinguished regional entrepreneurial platform operating in 14 countries in MENA and beyond. Injaz has been devoted to the discovery of brilliant minds, and under Al Thani’s lead, the organisation has supported thousands of students and entrepreneurs across the country. In addition to her work with Injaz, Al Thani also founded Amwal, Qatar’s first regulated investment company that has helped bolster and earn strides for the industry and the country’s economic standing in the region.

Meanwhile fellow leader, Bdeir, has made waves in the edtech space. The Beirut-born entrepreneur and innovator founded littleBits, a US-based award-winning edtech company that has set out to empower and enable kids to be creative learners. The company has won a slew of awards, and has partnered with major household names such as Disney and Pearson, as well as working closely with the New York Department of Education.

The startup offers an open source library of modular electronics, where budding inventors can develop vital STEM skills thanks to littleBits’ easy and accessible products. Growing from a small project by Bdeir in 2008, the startup then soared to incredible heights after  scoring a $11.1 million in funding during 2011, and then an even bigger set of funds in 2015 with a  $44.2 million investment in Series B funding led by US-based VC firm DFJ Growth.

“We wanted to make this material accessible to everyone,” Bdeir said during her TED Talk in 2012. “You can go on the website, download all the design files and make them yourself. We want to encourage a world of creators, inventors, contributors because this world that we live in, this interactive world is ours.”

You can find out more about JA Worldwide’s Global Business Hall of Fame right here.

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