In second of this series on femmepreneurs, we feature UAE's trailblazing women who are striding with their enterprising spirit and astute business sense.
Halima Jumani is Director and part of the founding family of Kibsons Online Home Delivery Service, which focuses on distributing fresh, healthy food directly from market-to-door for thousands of UAE residents.
Halima has been part of Kibons for over 10 years and today she oversees all finance and operations for Kibsons as well as a team of 1,000 across the business and over 5,000 daily orders. Halima is firmly committed to sourcing products that are good for consumers and is passionate about supporting local businesses with more than 75 local brands currently on the Kibsons website.
Known for creating a business and brand recognized for its quality, transparency, support towards the community and that truly cares, Halima and her team paved the way in bringing these values and mission to life. Aside from creating a number of sustainability initiatives to allow customers to make a real difference to the environment, Halima also created 400 new jobs, increased pay for her employees and gave a 40% bonus for the overtime hours worked during the COVID-19 pandemic.
CSR is also at the forefront of all Kibsons do and Halima is extremely proud to work with a number of charities and initiatives, raising funds help those less fortunate around the world. Kibsons have raised and donated AED 100,000 to Gulf for Good and are constantly donating to worthwhile causes including Red Cross Lebanon.
Halima graduated from the London Business School (UK) with an MBA. Whilst she was based in the UK, Halima worked with Barclays Global Investors as a Project Analyst in the Pooled Funds Division. Post-graduation, Halima moved to Dubai where she worked with GE as a Six Sigma Black Belt, leading and executing projects to drive improvements in performance, as well as key business and customer processes within Employee and Financial Services.
When she is not working, Halima loves to spend time with her family, particularly her three children aged thirteen, nineteen and twenty. Good nutrition, health and fitness are an integral part of their family routine with all three children passionate about sport, and each of them having the honour of representing Australia in Junior Squash at International tournaments across the globe.
Kate has been setting innovative trends in the beauty industry for nearly a decade. After launching her career in L’Oreal Australia nearly a decade ago, Kate has spent the last ten years honing her understanding of the global and Middle East beauty trends. She was a key contributor at the Mercedes Benz Arab Fashion Week, Arab Fashion Council, and Riyadh’s very first ever fashion event.
Kate co-launched THT in a bid to create a safe space for women where they can express themselves freely. She aspired to create a truly unique space for the exuberant, courageous, and graceful women of tomorrow.
A fierce advocate for using sustainable, vegan-products, Kate also believes in giving back to society by empowering women to become the best version of themselves. With THT, she has built an institution that women can trust by building a team consisting of highly-skilled hair artists and beauty experts.
Kate says, “THT is a dream come true. The beauty industry is a forever changing one. There is never a shortage of new ideas, trends, and there is a constant invention. We aspire to keep up these trends and launch new ones.”
Toddle.ae is a brand created for little learners with the aim to make learning joyful and effortless and also provide families with screen- free bonding opportunities.
Smitha D’Silva a senior Finance Professional was a busy parent struggling to provide adequate, consistent and quality time towards her child’s learning and playtime. She just hoped for an effortless solution, where everything was thought off, planned, and prepared. All she wanted to do was engage in some precious bonding time with her son while taking care of his mental, physical and emotional development.
This is what inspired Toddle- A brand that’s conceptualized to aid busy parents by providing them with carefully curated activities and toys and learning resources to ensure effortless implementation, ensuring parents enjoy quality bonding time with their children.
With the support of experienced educators and curriculum experts, Toddle was formed to provide young minds with the resources to enhance and advance their innate capabilities. We have come to an era where technology has taken the education industry to great heights. Toddle balances this by going a tad bit old school with hands-on activities giving children a platform to build on their development.
Within 4 months of launch, Toddle.ae is now a one-stop shop offering a range of educator- created products which are unique and devised as per child’s age, developmental needs and attention span. Their products range from Preschool Learning Boxes, Conscious Kids Activity Boxes, Educational Toys, Skill Games and a whole range of fun learning resources for kids aged 6 months to 12 years.
For further info, pls visit – www.toddle.ae
As a qualified journalist, Banks has worked with various news agencies globally throughout the past 20 years, with articles notably printed in The Guardian, Huffington Post, Khaleej Times and Ahlan! Live Middle East. Banks started her career as a radio journalist before working as a media adviser for the Commonwealth Government of Australia, later moving to local government in Western Australia and then to state government, before moving into the not-for-profit sector.
Due to her love for the ocean and passion for marine life, in July 2013, Banks was certified as a scuba diving instructor with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI). As a marine conservationist and scuba diving instructor in Australia, in December 2013, Banks was instrumental in organising national and international rallies against the use of drum lines and shark nets in Australia in favour of non-lethal alternatives. Banks eventually decided to make a career change into the not-for-profit sector, starting up her own association, No Shark Cull, and started working for Sea Shepherd Australia on marine conservation, more specifically for sharks, which saw her become a spokesperson for shark conservation.
Banks moved to the UAE in 2016 and after attempting to secure a position in marine conservation, Banks decided to take the bull by the horns and start an organisation herself from scratch. With the guidance of the Community Development Authority (CDA), Banks formed and developed Azraq in September 2018, an organisation that educates, motivates and essentially gets people to indulge in a more sustainable form of living for the betterment of our oceans, with the word in Arabic meaning “Blue.”
Banks is a contributor to the Emirates Diving Associations’ quarterly magazine, “Divers for the Environment”, and also runs diving expeditions globally with a focus on diving with and among sharks, including the annual sardine run in South Africa.
In the UAE, Banks, through Azraq, is at the forefront of developing campaigns such as planting mangroves, beach clean-ups, and more, to educate the residents on protecting the specific organisms of the country. Banks aims to ultimately create a cohesive community that stands together to support and nurture the environment they live within the UAE.
Amanda is an entrepreneur and co-owner of Granny Gothards, an artisan quality and multi award-winning ice cream and sorbet producer, made from the finest natural ingredients and are proud to contain nothing artificial. In 2012, Amanda worked with her friend and colleague Jean on a rural family business in a small village as a company accountant, while Jean worked as a tourism manager.
Amanda and Jean have discussed starting a business together, hoping to free up more of their time for golf and other leisure activities. They heard that the owner of Granny Gothards, based in the same village, was looking for a buyer and so they’ve decided to take a leap of faith and acquire the business. They started making ice creams and sorbets on a farm with one employee and a handful of mostly local customers.
In the first 12 months, they participated in every aspect of the business, from making the ice creams and sorbets, marketing, costing, buying and sourcing ingredients to delivering and selling directly to retail and an increasing number of wholesale customers. It became evident early on that both the method of manufacture and quality of ingredients were important to many consumers, who were willing to pay extra for something very special. Thus, that quality and method would become central to the ethos of Granny Gothards.
In 2014, Jean retired and Amanda took over the sole running of the company. As a result of hard work, passion and absolute belief in the product, the company began to grow beyond expectation, in both spread and reputation as well as its capacity and workforce.
Amanda has worked tirelessly to bring her products to as many markets as possible with success domestically and internationally. Her belief in her product, business acumen, creativity, patience and determination has led Granny Gothards to become a multi award winner. An ever-increasing order book has meant Amanda’s investment in larger premises, more machinery and employees whilst always maintaining the integrity of product and methods.
Amanda is a sympathetic and appreciative employer, believing that a happy, engaged workforce is both loyal and productive. She still works in production herself from time to time when other demands upon on her time permit. Undoubtedly, the success of Granny Gothards is a result of a high-quality product coupled with Amanda’s inspiration, work ethic, business flair and huge personality.
Amanda is passionate about supporting small businesses and regularly is asked to speak at business events and is a firm supporter of other women in business.
When Amanda is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family she has two grown up daughters, two beautiful Grandsons with a third Granddaughter arriving early next year, so now when people ask, Are you really a Granny? She answers quite definitely yes, and it’s the best job in the world, well that and making ice cream.