New Custom Executive Education Class of WIn Fellows Pave the Path Forward for Future Female Entrepreneurs in the Middle East
Purpose-driven work. A desire to break barriers and empower others. A will to make the entrepreneurial landscape a more inclusive ecosystem. These are just a few ways that the 2023-2024 Women Innovators (WIn) Fellows are making their mark in the MENA region and beyond.
Through a collaboration between the Atlantic Council and Georgetown McDonough’s Office of Executive Education, the WIn Fellowship program delivers a tailored executive education program that provides opportunities for learning, collaboration, mentorship, and innovation amongst women innovators and leaders in the Middle East.
This past summer, the program grew from one to three cohorts totaling 86 women and includes representation from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
For Noor Jaber, a member of the 2023-2024 WIn Fellowship UAE cohort and founder of NAWAT Health, an online reproductive health platform for women in the Middle East, creating a safe environment for women of all ages and backgrounds is paramount.
With a master’s in public health from the American University of Beirut, as well as a decade of experience in the public health sector, Jaber has extensive experience in areas such as disaster management, sexual and reproductive health, and maternal and child health.
Before creating NAWAT Health, Jaber worked with organizations such as The Red Cross. It was through this service-oriented work that Jaber found her true passion: women’s healthcare. Jaber believes that this type of work includes taking care of both physical and mental health.
“Coming from a conservative society, executing initiatives that challenge societal norms oftentimes requires careful consideration,” Jaber said. “At NAWAT Health, we concentrate on developing educational programs around sexual and reproductive health for women between the ages of 18 to 50. Our initiatives cover a wide range of topics that are oftentimes overlooked in the Middle East.”
Jaber and her team create educational tools, written resources, and video programming to create societal awareness around sexual and reproductive health topics. Today, NAWAT Health is working on launching a mobile platform that will allow women to anonymously ask questions in a safe and judgment-free environment.
“The WIn Fellowship program has been incredibly helpful. It provides structured, practical frameworks to integrate into our own ventures,” said Jaber. “It’s an opportunity for reflection, constructive feedback, and connection with fellow women founders. The program offers a platform for networking, shared experiences, and a supportive community.”
Rana Batterjee, another 2023-2024 WIn Fellow from the Saudi Arabia cohort, is committed to making a positive impact in the lives of others in the MENA region and beyond through her company, EduPloyment. Before creating EduPloyment, Batterjee was a practicing audiologist. She served as the director of the Cochlear Implant Centre at the American Hospital in Dubai and helped to increase awareness about cochlear implants and hearing-impaired patients. While she decided to step away from the role to focus on her family, she leaned into her already existing entrepreneurial spirit, but mostly, her continued desire to help others.
After attending a conference for entrepreneurs, Batterjee was inspired by a speaker who talked about the importance of using business to address poverty through creating jobs. This concept resonated with Batterjee, which led to the birth of EduPloyment—a mobile app in five languages that connects job seekers directly with employers offering work opportunities.
While the business has been a success, Batterjee said it took time to get EduPloyment off the ground. The entrepreneur explained that patience and tenacity is always crucial in business, but especially during the early stages.
“Initially, it was difficult to explain our business concept to investors and find people who understood the non-traditional success metrics that were being proposed,” Batterjee said. “However, the importance of shared values, with a focus on education and employment, has been our guiding principle all along.”
For both Jaber and Batterjee, the WIn Fellowship program has been a rewarding and educational experience that has helped position them for success in their professional and entrepreneurial endeavors. They both hope to continue to grow their businesses by increasing the scope of their impact and level of outreach by expanding their presence in the MENA region.
“The WIn fellowship program has been very successful thus far, which is undoubtedly a testament to the strength of our partnership with the Atlantic Council,” said Kim Hunt, director of custom executive education and Georgetown program development lead for the WIn Fellowship program. “Our program sponsors and participants continuously enjoy the learnings, strategies, and takeaways that are delivered by our world-renowned faculty and industry experts. Our team [at the Office of Custom Executive Education] is optimistic about the possibilities of expansion for this program throughout the MENA region and beyond.”
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