Game Changers The Hope Issue

11 Emirati entrepreneurs you should watch

Meet these forces.

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By Sharifa Al Badi

The UAE is a hub for emerging entrepreneurs and successful businesses across different sectors. We shed a light on 11 entrepreneurs you should be watching.

Mais Al Nuaimi

Mais Al Nuaimi is the co-founder of Mundana. Image: Courtesy.

This travel enthusiast and tennis lover has a passion for adventure and an urge to explore every corner of the planet, on a constant journey for self-discovery and understanding. In 2015, Mais Al Nuaimi co-founded Mundana, an all-inclusive online travel agency that covers everything from trip planning to tours. The agency also has an interactive website containing informative pieces on different places, cultures and travel tips. The Mundana official Instagram page provides its followers with daily travel inspiration and personalises holidays for you based on what you are looking for.

The tech-savvy Mais holds an MBA from Judge Business School, University of Cambridge and has a BEng in Mechanical Engineering with Business Finance from University College London. Mais is always on the lookout for cutting edge, innovative concepts that she can introduce to local markets.

Haleema Al Owais

Haleema Al Owais is a versatile entrepreneur. Image: Courtesy.

Haleema Al Owais is a risk taker who wandered into unfamiliar territory, only to turn it into one of the most successful real estate companies in the country. In 2007 she founded, and serves as the director of, Sultan bin Ali Al Owais Real Estate that covers construction, real estate development and management. She also runs other companies in the same field, including Moderna Middle East, which handles property maintenance, and Moderna Contracting, which handles construction.

Out of a love of art and supporting the community, in 2016 the real estate and construction guru also founded Community Café, with one branch in the Dubai’s Cultural and Scientific Association and the other in the 06 Mall in Sharjah. Community Café, which is also a co-working space, focuses on fostering and supporting local and regional talent.

Omaira F. Al Olama

Omaira Al Olama is a force to be reckoned with. She is fierce, intelligent, inspiring and has made it her life’s mission to help others become the best versions of themselves. Omaira is the founder of the Advanced Learning Formula (ALF). ALF now trains the youth from all over the Emirates and helps them find their niche in the world. It is one of the few companies in the country where UAE nationals are trained by UAE nationals. The stylish mother of three is also a Ted Talk speaker and runs different programs under ALF that are dedicated to helping others excel in their lives and careers. 

Asma Lootah

Asma Lootah is the founder of The Hundred Wellness Center. Image: Courtesy.

Founder of The Hundred Wellness Center, Asma Lootah is passionate about improving health and the quality of life of people in the UAE. In 2011, The Hundred was ranked No. 45 in Dubai’s top 100 SMEs, and was selected as the best health and fitness facility in the UAE by the Sports & Industry awards. The Hundred is a holistic and wellness hub located in the heart of Dubai that focuses on transforming physical, mental and emotional health through natural medicine, holistic therapies and nutrition. It also offers pilates and yoga classes.

Asma is a fitness enthusiast who has climbed Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest mountain.  She has won a number of awards for her work at the Hundred. In 2010, she was awarded the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Award for Young Business Leaders for the Best Business in Healthcare by the Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum. In 2012, she won the Emirates Woman of the Year Award in the achiever’s category for her work as a pioneer in the industry. In March 2016, during the visit of the US Vice President Joe Biden and his wife to the UAE, Asma was invited by the Second Lady of the United States of America Dr. Jill Biden, to give a speech about her experience as a successful female Emirati entrepreneur at the School of Research Science in Dubai on the occasion of International Women’s Day. 

Leila Al Marashi

Leila Al Marashi was the first Emirati woman to be on the leadership board of Tabreed. Image: Courtesy.

The charismatic Leila is in the business of luxury and currently serves as an advisory board member for the Dubai College of Fashion and Design. She holds a BAA in Marketing from AUD and a MSc in European Business from EDHEC, South of France. Being busy and on the run made Leila realize that sometimes people do not have time to look for and buy the perfect gift for whatever occasion. Thus, she founded CADO, a gifting app, which she works on full-time. The CADO app allows you to select from a wide range of gifting options. Once you place your order, CADO takes care of the wrapping and delivery so that you don’t have to worry about the details.

Leila was the first Emirati woman to be on the leadership board of Tabreed as Vice President for Corporate Communications. She has worked closely within governmental and international corporations, such as Shell, and sits on the Local Advisory Board for GEMS Wellington Academy. 

Omar Al Mheiri

Omar Al Mheiri is the co-founder of Letswork. Image: Courtesy.

Co-founder of one of the most popular UAE co-working hubs, the 24-year-old ambitious Omar Al Mheiri graduated in 2017 from Northeastern University, Boston with a degree in electrical engineering. Right after graduation he was selected for the E25 entrepreneurship program at EMAAR, where he launched Letswork with his co-founder, Hamza Khan. Letswork offers affordable, flexible and inspiring workspaces for SMEs, freelancers and corporations across the country. It also helps people acquire business licenses. Omar is also a member of the Private Sector Youth Council in the UAE.

The Kandoura Guys

Khaled Al Huraimel, Saif Al Midfa, Hadef Al Shamsi, Ammar Abulohom, and Yousef Al Raeesi are the faces behind Bait Al Kandoura. Established in 2016, Bait Al Kandoura offers customers bespoke tailoring of the kandoura, the traditional dress of the men of the UAE and the rest of the Gulf region. The idea was born just a year prior, when Khaled and Said wondered how they could modernize menswear in the region, and thus Bait Al Kandoura was born. The brand operates in Dubai, Sharjah, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah and Al Ain, with an additional online store. Bait Al Kandoura was awarded the Mohammed Bin Rashid Award for “Best Clothing Brand in the UAE” in 2017, and just last year it co-branded with Italian perfumery Acqua Di Parma.

Sharifa Al Badi is a published writer and author from the magical lands of Oman. She has written for Esquire ME, Khaleejesque and The Culture Trip. She is also the author of “Themis Aella & The Magical Forest” and “50 Things To Know As An Adult.” Sharifa is currently undertaking a course in aromatherapy and naturopath.

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