Empowering Female Arab Engineers

Nermin speaking in a panel at the GIST Startup Boot Camp in Jordan.

Nermin Fawzi Sa’d, a 38-year-old Jordanian entrepreneur, says her inspiration and character come from her mother, an Arab woman with five children and a university degree at a time where a woman’s role in the region was restricted to house-work and raising children. Her mother taught her that she should always set big goals and create a plan of action to achieve them.

Nermin was ranked 47th in the 2014 “100 Most Powerful Arab Women” for her achievements and impact on the region and understands the needs and struggles of the modern Arab woman. Her startup, Handasiyat, aims to bypass social rules and solve the deficit of local engineers through a customized online platform. This platform supports Arab female engineers and encourages them to use their qualifications in the market and allows them to work on their own terms. It also aims to solve employment complexity in crisis areas such as Libya and Syria.

Nerman’s goal is to master the different elements associated with her belief that too much dependence upon others is can be risky because “even your shadow leaves you in the darkness,” as she eloquently stated. Handasiyat is now comprised of three full-time employees on the management team.

Handasiyat won the Best Female Competitor Award at the 2013 GIST-Tech I Competition in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia, where she also got a chance to meet Secretary of State John Kerry, who mentioned her during his address at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. When asked about her experience at this event, Nermin saw herself as the luckiest participant because of the mentorship she received from Mr. Gibs Song. “He is a genius,” she said. “He taught me a lot with few words. He encouraged and supported me since we met and we still keep in touch. He is always there, ready to help.”


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