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Saudi Arabia crowns first female entrepreneur of the year

It’s a big step for Saudi Arabia and its female entrepreneurs: Lateefa Alwaalan is the first woman ever to be named Saudi Arabia’s “Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2015”. The MBA graduate has built a successful business in her home country Saudi Arabia and has co-founded a networking group for other female entrepreneurs that has expanded widely in the nation.


Picture: Lateefa Alwaalan/ EY

Alwaalan started Yatooq, a company that specialises in Arabic coffee striving to make it easier and faster to brew it. After studying computer science and working in IT and banking, Alwaalan moved to the US to attend the Technology Management MBA Programme at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business.

After graduating she returned to her home country and took a job in her father’s pharmaceutical company quickly moving up the ranks. Whilst working for her father she also launched Yatooq.

At Yatooq, Alwaalan does not only sell coffee, but has also developed a sought after coffee machine that reduces the long process of making Arabic coffee dramatically.

She also co-founded the organization CellA, which offers women the opportunity to regularly network with each other – a foreign concept for many women in Saudi Arabia.

In an email exchange with MBA Channel Lateefa Alwaalan sent us her three tips for success:

1.    Do not fear failure, rather fear the regret of not trying.

2.    Dream big, start small and build on it.

Passion fuels success. Love what you do.

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