Najla Al Midfa’s Predictions for Tomorrow’s Businesses

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In the ever-evolving entrepreneurial landscape of the Middle East, Najla Al Midfa stands as a beacon of innovation and leadership. As the CEO of the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa), she has played a pivotal role in cultivating a vibrant ecosystem for startups, fostering a culture of innovation that resonates throughout Sharjah and beyond. Through her visionary leadership and unwavering commitment to driving positive change, she has established herself as a driving force behind the region’s entrepreneurial growth and success.

Born and raised in the United Arab Emirates, Najla Al Midfa embarked on her journey with a firm commitment to higher education and a passion for business and management. Holding an MBA from Stanford University, she built a solid foundation during her academic pursuits. This educational background equipped her with the necessary knowledge and skills and instilled in her a strategic mindset and a global perspective. Furthermore, Najla is esteemed as a fellow of the Aspen Institute’s Middle East Leadership Initiative and an Eisenhower Global Fellow, further underscoring her dedication to leadership and innovation on a global scale.

Najla Al Midfa’s Formative Professional Journey

Najla Al Midfa’s professional journey is a testament to her strategic acumen and relentless drive for success. Before her leadership role at Sheraa, she held significant positions that contributed to her development as a formidable force in the business world. As senior manager at the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, she played a pivotal role in SME financing, demonstrating her aptitude for fostering growth and innovation within the entrepreneurial landscape.

Her tenure at esteemed organizations such as PricewaterhouseCoopers and Shell provided her with invaluable experience in finance, strategy, and business development. These formative experiences honed her skills and deepened her understanding of the intricacies of business. However, it was her time as a consultant at McKinsey & Company’s New York office that truly solidified her expertise in the financial sector, further enhancing her ability to drive strategic initiatives and effect meaningful change.

A Multifaceted Leader

Najla Al Midfa’s influence spans various sectors and initiatives. Serving on the boards of the United Arab Bank, Emirates Development Bank, Dana Gas, and the Emirates Schools Establishment, she shapes the region’s financial and educational landscapes. Additionally, as the Co-Chair of the 4th Industrial Revolution Working Group in the UK-UAE Business Council, Najla fosters global collaboration in innovation.

Her leadership extends to nurturing future leaders as Vice-Chairperson of Young Arab Leaders and a board member of Endeavor UAE. Her commitment to empowering young Emiratis is evident in her founding of Khayarat, a platform guiding them to success in the private sector. With over 1,000 members and 100 placements in top international companies, Khayarat is transforming the Emirati talent pool, thanks to Najla’s visionary leadership.

Leadership at Sheraa

In 2015, Najla Al Midfa joined Sheraa with a vision to nurture and empower aspiring entrepreneurs in Sharjah. Her appointment as CEO in 2018 marked a pivotal moment for the organization, as she assumed the responsibility of leading a team of 48 employees toward realizing Sheraa’s ambitious goals. Under her guidance, Sheraa has emerged as a catalyst for innovation, boasting a portfolio of over 150 startups. These startups have collectively raised approximately $161 million in investment and generated over 1,600 jobs, contributing significantly to the growth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Distinctive Qualities and Recognitions

Najla Al Midfa stands out in the competitive landscape of entrepreneurship due to her steadfast commitment to empowering aspiring business owners. Her visionary approach and long-term perspective set her apart, as she dedicates herself to nurturing talent and fostering sustainable success.

Najla’s remarkable contributions have not gone unnoticed, as evidenced by the prestigious accolades she has received. In 2023, she was honored with the Arabian Business Arab Woman Award for Entrepreneurship, recognizing her significant impact on the entrepreneurial community. Furthermore, her inclusion in Forbes’ list of the most powerful businesswomen in 2024 serves as a testament to her influence and leadership in the business world.

Vision and Mission: Empowering Future Entrepreneurs

Central to Najla Al Midfa’s endeavors is a steadfast mission to inspire and uplift the next generation of entrepreneurs. At the helm of Sheraa, she spearheads initiatives aimed at providing aspiring business owners with the resources and support they need to thrive. By fostering a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, she envisions Sheraa as a launchpad for success, driving economic growth and fostering innovation throughout the region.

Her vision extends beyond mere success to creating a sustainable and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem. Through Sheraa’s programs and initiatives, Najla aims to nurture startups and contribute positively to the economy, laying the foundation for long-term prosperity and empowerment within the community.

Najla Al Midfa’s story is one of passion, perseverance, and purpose. Her leadership at Sheraa is not just about building businesses; it’s about building a brighter future for entrepreneurs in the Middle East and beyond.

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