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They don’t refer to their favorite cafe! They mean, Techstars Global Startup Weekend. Flummoxed, aren’t you? Let me walk you through.

So,here’s how we spent our Friday on November 16! 

If you have been  in the Gulf, Fridays have got their  own character: halcyon  mornings , lackadaisical  afternoons  and  evenings full of shopping sprees and binge watching!

But 16th November was offbeat. After all, if you are part of the first Women Edition of Techstars Startup Weekend and if your venue is  Technohub @DTEC, how can a weekend not be worthwhile? Just 9 am, and start-up enthusiasts are already on a roll: revenue models are being planned, the prototypes are being discussed, codes are being debugged and our mentors and coaches have started coming in. Nothing makes mornings better than a refreshing breakfast, all thanks to 21 grams!

Heading over to introduce to you, the Boss Ladies , who sacrificed their social life on weekends to mentor and coach our participants. A huge shout-out to these lovely ladies!


Here’s bringing to you, Hiba Balfaqih, a Life Coach whose real-life experiences are a must to hear for all of you. Because the  CEO and

Founder of Startup Factory, UAE that you see today is a visionary, who  started off her entrepreneurship journey at  just 16. Yes, you heard that right.

We like to call her a ‘People Whisperer’, because with her gift of the gab, she can stir up any conversation with anyone at anytime! Being a professional psychologist and a serial entrepreneur herself, helping business magnates program their mindset for risk-taking, challenges and success is her everyday thing. And with that witty, practical, won’t-take-any-shit from anyone, street-savvy personality, she doesn’t just transform corporate culture but real-life!

Here is what Simran Narang from Team Zuv said, when asked to describe her favourite mentor and what she remembered best about them!

Hiba. Undoubtedly! She was so spot-on with ideas and we were just jaw-dropped. Oh,…. I still remember, that when we were doing the design of our GUI, and since our app was to ensure that drivers don’t get distracted while driving and at the same time, can earn rewards, she asked us to redesign .She wanted us to have a dual theme of Green, to signal  ‘Safety’’ and Red, to mean  ‘Awareness’, just like the traffic signal lights. And we were just blown away, I mean something so simple, yet it really strikes a chord.  

Also, on the final day, we were so nervous during the practice pitch and she was looking at us throughout. When someone smiles at you , it can do magic to your self-esteem, and I think that’s what gave us confidence to win ! 


Meet Randah Taher. She owns her own  Idea Clinic in Dubai, called ‘Sajory’. With her palette of creativity, she paints happiness on a canvas of  imagination for individuals, businesses and communities in packages, which she fondly calls ‘IMAGINE-NESS’. With strokes of Design Thinking, shades of Biomimicry, finesse  of Innovation, this artist is a Curator, Idea Culturist and Master Facilitator who launched the “Creative Institute for Toronto’s Young Leaders” and  the Montreal-based storytelling powerhouse ”My Arabic Story’’. From the snows of Canada to the sands of the Emirates, through the power of storytelling, her ideas have touched lives. And her do-or-die attitude is one that we loved! The Organising Team can’t recall , how many times we asked her for lunch, for water, and all she did, was smile and say, ‘No worries. I just want to focus on why I am here!’

Team Plannect was lucky to have you mentor them. Here is Rishika Thulasi from the team sharing her short and sweet message:

Thank you Randah. We couldn’t have asked for a more supportive mentor than you. Out of curiosity and exploration, we wanted to try out several things, but you made us realise how important it was to just commit to one problem and perfect the solution to its best. You gave it structure and purpose, helping us redefine Plannect. We were truly awestruck with  your calm,  poise and ingenuity. 

Lots of Love 



If there is one thing , that  we all can learn from Katarina Uherova,  Founder of EnRupt,is her ‘disruptive innnovation’ thinking. Amidst all the frenzy of Climate Change and oil prices shaping geopolitical views, is one woman, who rises above all the ‘talk and debate’. She believes that we have seen the Signs, and the Science, and now it’s time for Policy and Action!  Founder of Enrupt, she is building the company of the future. How, you ask? With her initiatives to use digital transformation as an asset for cleaner, greener renewable sources, she is making waves. She brings an international perspective on  energy needs,  stemming from her work across Europe, South East Asia and Middle East . As a female founder, (Non-profit, HQ, Singapore)  she is a true-blue  champion for women’s rights. With a Global Executive MBA from INSEAD, this  entrepreneur is  creating partnerships with the start-up ecosystem and the energy industry , to help ideas meet both local and global challenges. As a  Public Policy professional, she has worked on the EU’s energy diversification efforts, along with policy work on renewables, energy efficiency and electricity and gas market liberalisation.

Her insights were valuable to our two teams, ‘Team Phaser’ and ‘Team Economical Electricity’  who worked on Smart Homes and Sustainable Energy Development. Apart from them, Sabiha Shaikh from Team Zuv remembers something that struck them in their conversation with Katarina,

With all of us being coders and developers, we weren’t quite sure on how to go about generating revenue. I think as programming enthusiasts we had become so focussed on one aspect that we didn’t pay much attention to finance initially. And that’s when her words really did hit us, ”In Business, if something is not making money, then it’s all just a hobby! ”

Thanks to all her tips on business modelling and revenue generation, we wouldn’t have been able to make this far.

Techstars Global Startup Weekend Dubai 2018 was privileged and honored to have these three Wonder Women as Mentors.

You will be re-meeting other Boss Ladies of the Mentor Tribe Soon!

Stay Tuned.

Thank Goodness It’s Friday!


Media Team

Sidra Raihan