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    Two Moroccans on Forbes’ ‘Women Behind Middle Eastern Brands’ List

    Forbes selected Mouna Abbassy and Sophia Alj for two of its prestigious rankings.

    09 May 2022

    Rabat - Forbes has featured two Moroccan businesswomen on its “30 Women Behind Middle Eastern Brands 2022” and “20 Women Behind Middle Eastern Tech Brands 2022” lists. The two successful, celebrated business leaders are the Founder of IZIL Mouna Abbassy and the co-Founder of Chari.co Sophia Alj.

    The American business magazine annually establishes its ranking based on the brands’ media coverage, popularity on social media and among celebrities, as well as the business women’s years of experience.

    Forbes’s assessment of Tech companies includes an additional criterion: their capacity to mobilize external funding and generate revenues.

    This week, Forbes released the two lists simultaneously. The magazine’s list of “30 Women Behind Middle Eastern Brands” featured companies operating in six MENA countries, with the UAE hosting 13 of the successful businesses.

    The list includes 18 nationalities in total, with Egyptian businesswomen topping the list with 11 entries, followed by Lebanese with 4 mentions.

    The “20 Women Behind Middle Eastern Tech Brands” list highlighted the achievements of successful female founders and co-founders of tech platforms and apps. This year, 17 nationalities were represented in the list.

    The 20 featured businesses operate in 13 sectors and are prominently based in the UAE (13), Egypt (2), and Saudi Arabia (2).

    Mouna Abbassy

    Moroccan businesswoman Mouna Abbassy ranked 10th in the “30 Women Behind Middle Eastern Brands 2022” list.

    In 2012, Abbassy founded IZIL, an “all-natural skincare line.” The brand offers hair, skin, and body products, inspired by old Moroccan beauty recipes.

    IZIL is based in the UAE with clients in Gulf countries, the US, and the UK. The brand’s e-commerce sales to the US and the UK markets recorded a 40% and 50% growth in 2021.

    Last year, IZIL opened new offices in Dubai as it launched a Moroccan Hammam and Spa in the Dubai Mall. In terms of social media outreach, the brand currently counts 346K followers on Instagram and 136K followers on Facebook.

    Sophia Alj

    Sophia Alj ranked 8th in the “20 Women Behind Middle Eastern Tech Brands 2022” list.

    She is the co-founder of Morocco’s popular e-shop and startup Chari.co, which she founded with her husband Ismael Belkhayat in 2020.

    The Chari application connects retailers to fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies.

    In March, the startup acquired Axa Credit for $22 million. A year prior, Chari purchased Moroccan bookkeeping and credit platform Karny.ma which serves roughly 40,000 retailers. The startup concluded the deal after receiving $5 million in seed funding.

    As it continues to expand into Francophone African markets, Chari.co has the potential to obtain unicorn status by reaching a valuation of $1 billion.

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