The Background

On 25 September 2013, a MasterCard delegation led by Mrs. Ann Cairns, President, International Markets at MasterCard met Mrs. Raja Al Gurg, President, Dubai Business Women Council and announced a collaboration between the two entities aimed at driving and fostering entrepreneurship among women in the UAE.

Ro’Ya, which means vision in Arabic, was launched as a result of the partnership.

The main aim of the initiative is to encourage female entrepreneurs to pursue business ventures by providing them with coaching and mentorship and, a select few, with financial assistance.

The Process

Under the Ro’Ya initiative, existing and aspiring women entrepreneurs are invited to submit their business plans for new ventures to the organizing committee through the Ro’Ya website. Applications are then screened and shortlisted by a panel of independent judges.

The shortlisted contestants are invited to present their ideas to the judges and to a live audience at the closing gala event where winners will be announced.

The top three winners will be awarded USD 50,000, 30,000 and 20,000 to be used towards their start-ups.

Running concurrently alongside the competition, MasterCard and DBWC will also organize a series of coaching and training sessions for participants aimed at sharing insights into how to successfully start-up and manage a business An updated schedule of these sessions can be found here.

These sessions will be open for the DBWC’s network and the Ro’Ya contestants.

The Criteria

  • All female citizens and residents from the UAE are eligible to participate in this initiative.
  • Entries should present business concepts that are in the conceptualization phase and have not been implemented yet, or for very small businesses that have the potential to grow into proper SMEs.
  • The business idea should be innovative and relevant to the market.
  • The proposed business will have to be led by a female entrepreneur.