Sarah Refai, CEO and founder of Canadian companies Coconut-media and Dawrati Online.
The UAE has set good precedents, in terms of gender-neutral policies, for the rest of the region to follow.
Women’s empowerment has taken on greater prominence in the region, with many entrepreneurs, industry stalwarts and influencers entering the mainstream in recent years, said Sarah Refai, CEO and Founder of Coconut -media and Dawrati Online, based in Canada.
“This development is quite striking in the United Arab Emirates, where women lead the powerful missions and their very existence reminds young girls and the next generation to believe that they can break gender bias and excel in any industry of their choice. That said, gratitude is also due to the leadership of the UAE for facilitating an enabling environment for women to thrive,” Refai said.
“The UAE has set good precedents, in terms of gender-neutral policies, for the rest of the region to follow. But, personally, I believe that no matter how favorable the external circumstances are, internal inhibitions can still hold you back. So, to all the girls, I would like to tell you that gender bias will only impact you if you let it.
According to the World Economic Forum’s 2021 Global Gender Gap Report, the Mena region will need 142.4 years to close the gender gap at the current rate of progress. Indeed, gender bias is one of the oldest forms of existing inequality, deeply rooted in the social fabric. Thus, eliminating gender bias is indeed a tall order. That said, in an information age characterized by ever-changing socio-cultural dynamics, there are no limits to what can be achieved and in what time frame.
Refai is CEO and founder of Arabic e-learning platform Dawrati and believes education is the first step to breaking down prejudice. “I started my entrepreneurial journey in 2017, with a meal preparation business. I learned the ropes of business management and marketing, which inspired me to launch Coconut-Media Inc. in 2018 At the same time, I was lucky enough to enroll in a few genius courses, which put things into perspective. Recognizing the Arabic content gap in personal branding marketing strategies, I launched Dawrati in 2021 , later becoming the first Arab female entrepreneur to receive The Two Comma Club award for earning over $1 million in one year. It all started with my determination to constantly learn,” explained Refai, whose podcast d he company, “Secrets of Marketing”, topped the category in the Mena.
“Monetization and impact-driven marketing are at the heart of my work with Dawrati,” she continued, “I chose them not because I was good at them, but because of the difference positive they could do to countless lives and livelihoods. We have empowered over 10,000 students across the region, especially women, to start their businesses online. No rewards or accolades are greater than that,” Refai concluded.
Refai is a marketing expert; startup pro; young global Arab influencer and entrepreneur; and an inspirational woman leader with over half a million followers on her social platforms, two million views on YouTube and the number one Arabic business podcast in the Mena region (Secrets of Marketing with Sarah Refai).
The Lebanese Canadian serial entrepreneur launched Dawrati Online – one of the only programs in the region and in the world for Arabic speakers, which uses an involved and end-to-end approach to help coaches launch and monetize their knowledge and their skills in the digital world. . In addition to specific tools and tips, the program shares Sarah’s “strategy for success” that has helped her create a viable source of income from her courses.
From speaking at the 2021 Harvard Arab Alumni Association panel to receiving the “Two Comma Club” award from ClickFunnels for being the first Arab female entrepreneur to earn $1 million in one year, Sarah continues to set her sights on new references. But in her own words, she believes her greatest achievement is being one of the first to introduce Arabic content to the e-learning industry and empowering the next generation of coaches, consultants, entrepreneurs and content creators.