Donna BentonCEO, The Benton Group
Donna Benton is the epitome of female empowerment in the UAE. Born in Australia, Donna’s spirit of adventure brought her to Dubai in 2000. Within a year, she identified a market need to provide consumers with dining incentives and enable restaurants to reach new customers. The ENTERTAINER filled this gap by providing her “buy one get one free” offers to the best restaurants, cafes, nightspots, attractions, spas, beauty salons and hotels. Word of mouth from delighted customers drove strong book sales, and consequently, the award-winning ENTERTAINER App was launched in 2013. Today the company has fully transitioned to a data-driven technology firm.
Known for her positivity and determination, Donna is skilled at identifying great ideas and building business empires. She opened Chloe’s Beauty, Hair and Nails in 2013, and is an active partner in Dawson Sports, a UAE-based provider of sports equipment with exclusive distribution rights for Suunto sports watches in the GCC. She is also involved in some of the UAE’s trendiest food and beverage concepts, has an extensive property rental portfolio, and several other businesses.
Always leading by example and maintaining her values, Donna encourages other women to follow in her footsteps. She has been an advocate of entrepreneurism in the UAE in many public appearances, emphasizing the tolerance and incredible support system of the country to lead business ideas to success.
Donna is one of the most inspiring and successful leaders of our time, who constantly challenges misconceptions and defies stereotypes.
H.E. Dr. Sara Al MadaniSerial Entreprenuer
Her Excellency Dr. Sara Al Madani is a well-known entrepreneur in the field of fashion, F&B, tech, marketing and more.
In 2014, she was selected by His Highness Sheikh D.r Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qassimi as a board member at Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, making her the youngest on the board.
In 2017 Sara was selected to be on the board of the UAE SME Council in the ministry of economy of Dubai. Al Madani runs three businesses in the UAE: an innovative abaya fashion house, a British restaurant and a creative consultancy. She is also brand ambassador for Nivea and Natura Bissé in the Middle East and Mercedes Abu Dhabi – a networking organisation that addresses the challenges of balancing business and private life.
A recipient of multiple awards, Al Madani was recently honoured with the title Ecosystem Influencer at the Enterprise Agility Awards 2016, organised by the magazine Entrepreneur Middle East, for inspiring entrepreneurs and playing a key role in raising Sharjah’s profile.
Recognized for her creativity and hard work, Sara is an honoured speaker in many universities, colleges and institutes locally and globally. She truly believes that it is important to be an active member of the community, inspiring the younger generation and continuously sharing knowledge, experience and information therefore she started her public speaking journey, speaking and giving Keynote speeches in more than 198 events globally from the year 2016 till 2019.
Vilhelm HedbergCo-founder and CEO, ekar
Vilhelm Hedberg is the co-founder and CEO of Ekar, the Middle East’s fastest-growing car share app. Vilhelm was born in Caracas, Venezuela, to Norwegian parents. After spending his adolescence in England, his family later moved to Florida in 1993 where he attended high school and later graduated with a BBA from the University of Florida. Vilhelm later went on to earn an MBA in International Business from EAE Barcelona. Vilhelm holds over 10 years of experience in the fields of Quality Management and Logistics, his first role in the UAE being at Wilhelmsen Lines, where he was responsible for the shipment of over one million automobiles throughout the Middle East.
His career quickly progressed and he soon became Partner at QMS Global, one of the largest ISO Certification companies in the world where he was responsible for the development of QMS Global FZ LLC, representing Asia and Africa. 2016 saw the launch of Ekar, the Middle East’s first pay-as-you-go hourly car rental service. In 2016, Ekar was selected by the RTA as the provider for 100 vehicle car share project, and with other key clients, including Emirates Airlines and Etihad Airways, the success of the company can only develop.