Visa and BisB announce winners of first Bahrain edition of She's Next program

  • She’s Next winner and audience favorite were announced at awards ceremony held in Riyadh. 
  • Aida Almudaifa, the Founder of Early Riser, won a US$50,000 grant and one year of business coaching from ITC SheTrades as well as US$3,000 of AWS credits and a 1:1 deep dive consultation to help jump start the winner’s cloud on journey.
  • Esraa AlJanahi, the Founder of EJS Dynamic Fitness, won the People’s Favorite award and received US$10,000.
  • 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.

Manama, Bahrain – September 7, 2023 - Visa (NYSE: V), the world's leader in digital payments, together with Bahrain Islamic Bank (BisB) announced Aida Almudaifa, the Founder of Early Riser, the only manufacturer of granolas and nut butters in Bahrain, as the much-anticipated winner of its first She's Next grant program for Bahrain. 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 from GCC, the winning woman-owned small business received a US$50,000 grant along with a year of business coaching from International Trade Centre (ITC), a United Nations and World Trade Organization, and US$3,000 in 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: Malak Alsaffar, Visa’s Country Manager for Bahrain; Fatema Alalawi, Chief Retail Banking Officer, BisB; Eman Almeajel, Head of entrepreneurship unit & innovation, Princess Nourah Bint Abdul Rahman University; and Thereshini Peter, Visa’s Chief Financial Officer for GCC.

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 Esraa AlJanahi, the Founder of EJS Dynamic Fitness, a boutique fitness facility.

Through their participation in the She's Next program, these 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 Bahrain. We extend our heartfelt congratulations once again to the winners of She’s Next in Bahrain and look forward to supporting them in their business journey," said Malak Alsaffar, Visa’s Country Manager for Bahrain. 

“We at BisB have always believed in the power of entrepreneurship and the immense potential that women-owned businesses bring. We are extremely proud to be a part of She's Next program and contribute to the success of the outstanding women who have emerged as winners. Their ability to innovate and create business solutions is truly an inspiration,” said Fatema Alalawi, Chief Retail Banking Officer-BisB.