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10 women-led startups in MENA join our newest AI program

A group of women stand in the desert on a sunny day, smiling and looking at the camera.
Growth Academy: Women in AI cohort in Dubai

Startups across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) raised a record $4 billion in 2023. But just 1.2% of that venture capital funding went to startups founded by women — and only a fraction of that went to women-led companies that are building with AI. Women founders are essential for creating economic opportunity and stronger, more inclusive AI solutions. And with the number of female entrepreneurs in the region expected to double by 2030, investing in women-led AI companies isn’t just the right thing to do — it’s the smart business decision.

Today we’re announcing the first cohort of the Google for Startups Growth Academy: Women in AI program. Run in collaboration with the Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence and the Ministry of AI in the UAE, this equity-free program is designed to accelerate the growth of women-led startups building with AI in the Middle East and North Africa.

After kicking off the program last week in Dubai with business sessions on go-to-market strategies, growth hacking and sales, startup founders will continue to work closely with Google mentors on a comprehensive technical curriculum. Over the next six weeks, they’ll explore generative AI best practices, Google AI tools such as Google Cloud's Vertex AI and a comprehensive People + AI Workshop series focused on building human-centered AI products and solutions.

Learn more about the women founders selected for the program and the AI solutions they're building below.

  • A smiling woman wearing a white shirt and headscarf sits next to a woman wearing a light brown shirt, black glasses and a black headscarf.

    Dr. Rasha Rady and Dr. Doaa Aref, cofounders of Chefaa (Egypt), a patient-centric, AI-powered and GPS-enabled platform connecting more than 1.5 million users with over 1,500 pharmacies across Egypt.

  • A woman with long black hair smiles at the camera, with her hand propped up underneath her chin.

    Dragana Mujanović, founder of AIsthesis (Qatar), a company building software and algorithms to advance the understanding of sensory processing in children through wearable and ambient sensors.

  • Two rows of people, all wearing white shirts, smile and look at the camera with their arms folded across their chests.

    Alaa Ateya, cofounder of Vetwork (Egypt), a one-stop mobile app marketplace for high-quality pet care services at home.

  • A woman wearing a white shirt and black pants stands in front of a grey background, with her arms folded.

    Christelle Connan, founder and CEO of Zidyia LXP™ (United Arab Emirates), a unified learning experience platform using Al and machine learning to create customized learning paths that empower educators with actionable data insights and engage learners with personalized education.

  • A woman with long brown curly hair and wearing a blue blazer smiles at the camera, with her arms folded across her chest.

    Jessica Scopacasa, founder of Olive Gaea (United Arab Emirates), a carbon accounting tool helping organizations reach decarbonization and net zero emissions.

  • A woman in a tan plaid blazer and long brown hair stands next to a man wearing a beige blazer and white shirt in front of a grey background.

    Nour Taher, cofounder of Intella (Saudi Arabia), a startup aiming to bridge the gap between global AI advancements and the Arab-speaking world through flagship services, such as Intella Voice, a multi-dialect Arabic transcriber that converts speech to text.

  • A woman with long black hair wears a white blazer at the camera with her arms folded across her chest.

    Purvi Monot, founder and CEO of Sav (United Arab Emirates), a goal-based savings and investing app designed to help users optimize savings, reduce debt and achieve financial dreams.

  • A woman with brown, shoulder-length hair smiles at the camera.

    Sandra Salame, founder of Siira (Lebanon), a wellbeing platform that aims to raise awareness of daily life struggles through preventative education, and harnesses the power of communities to enable individuals to live healthier lives.

  • A woman with long black hair and wearing a white shirt, pink blazer and turquoise hoop earrings smiles at the camera.

    Shahad Geoffrey, founder of TAFFI (Saudi Arabia), an AI-powered styling-as-a-service platform that helps fashion businesses improve consumer engagement and drive sales through hyper-personalized experiences.

  • A woman wearing a cream long-sleeve top and light bpink headscarf smiles at the camera, with her arms folded across her chest.

    Rana A. Batterjee, cofounder of EduPloyment (United Arab Emirates), a global online recruitment platform focused on upskilling workers with English language skills and providing them access to better jobs.

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