The Bicester Collection Unlock Her Future Prize 2023 Winners Announced

  • Publish date: Sunday، 12 March 2023 Last update: Tuesday، 14 March 2023
The Bicester Collection Unlock Her Future Prize 2023 Winners Announced

The Bicester Collection has recognised four women social impact entrepreneurs from the Middle East and North Africa in its inaugural edition of the Unlock Her Future Prize.

8 March 2023, London – The Bicester Collection has announced the winners of the Unlock Her Future Prize 2023 during a prize-giving ceremony in celebration of International Women’s Day, hosted by author and women’s activist Lina AbiRafeh.

Over the past two days, eight finalists representing Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia and the UAE attended a pitch day in London to compete to become the winners of the first edition of the start-up business competition, which aims to identify and support women social impact entrepreneurs who are leveraging system-changing innovation as a force for good.

Judges Desirée Bollier, Chair and Global Chief Merchant of Value Retail, creator and operator of The Bicester Collection; Dr Iman Bibars, Vice President and Regional Director, Ashoka Arab World and founder of Women's Initiative for Social Entrepreneurship (WISE); the Hon. Dr Badira Ibrahim Al Shihhi, Vice Chair of the State Council of Sultanate of Oman; Elham Fardad, founder and CEO, Migrant Leaders; and sustainability advisor Caterina Occhio, founder of SeeMe and Ethicarei, reached a unanimous decision, recognising the exceptional talent of Noor Jaber and Sara Ali llalla.

Each will receive a business grant of up to $100,000, bespoke mentorship from international experts and an education programme from presenting partner New York University Abu Dhabi.

Noor Jaber, Nawat (Lebanon) – enhancing women’s sexual and reproductive health (SRHR) through a safe and accessible digital space providing SRSH knowledge in Arabic via educational content and consultations with qualified experts, offering confidentiality, privacy and convenience.

“I’m so thrilled to have been selected as a winner of the Unlock Her Future Prize, this initiative brings validation to my passion and to my mission to bring the importance of women’s reproductive health out into the open and to empower women to care for their well-being and take informed decisions about their bodies.” Noor Jaber, founder of Nawat

Sara Llalla, EcoCentric (Iraq/UAE) – an online marketplace and circular economy system designed to mitigate microplastic food contamination and eliminate plastic waste.

“Winning this prestigious prize validates the need of EcoCentric’s services in our society. We’re introducing the only truly sustainable food packaging system, which should be normalised as part of our everyday and now is the perfect time to launch this in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the host of COP 28.” Sara llalla, founder of EcoCentric.

Inspired by the power of product invention, the judges decided to allocate the third prize between two finalists who are at different stages of the development of their invention.

Fella Bouti, Ecodalle (Algeria)– providing ecological construction and homogeneous, economical and integrated irrigation solutions to improve large cities' air quality and urban temperature.

“Unlock Her Future stands for the power of women, this is an incredible opportunity, it will be life changing for me!” Fella Bouti, founder of Ecodalle

Nuhayr Zein, Leukeather (UAE) – a sustainable and ethical vegetal material alternative to exotic leathers made from dried plant pods, and a by-product of existing agriculture which minimises its carbon footprint and provides an additional source of income for farming communities.

“The Unlock Her Future Prize will allow Leukeather to develop, so that we may all take a step forward towards a more eco-friendly and responsible world by collaborating with nature and completely eliminating the unethical and wasteful killing of exotic species”. Nuhayr Zein, founder, Leukeather

Chantal Khoueiry, Chief Culture Officer, The Bicester Collection commented “Empowering women social entrepreneurs is not just about recognising their achievements – it’s about creating a ripple effect of positive change that impacts entire communities. Today, we celebrate the vision, tenacity and innovation of these four Arab women, the winners of the Unlock Her Future Prize 2023 MENA edition. These women are leading the way towards a brighter future for us all.”

Open to women of any age with an inspiring not-for-profit business idea, or a business where their for-profit goals generate a positive return to society; the Unlock Her Future Prize identifies system-changing ventures that will drive sustainable positive social, cultural and environmental impact for generations to come, as defined by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. A global programme, the inaugural edition celebrated the women of the Middle East and North Africa and in 2024, the prize will travel around the world to celebrate women from another geographical region.