Mentoring women for the future

WEBB Middle East
Posted February 17, 2016 from United Arab Emirates
Rim Welcome the U.S Ambassador in Egypt
Rim Welcome the U.S Ambassador in Egypt (1/22)

Rim Siam is an ambitious Egyptian woman entrepreneur who has succeeded in making a mark as far afield as the UAE and Asia and who has reached out to women entrepreneurs globally through the creation of an internet-based women’s marketplace, called WEBB International Middle East

From the beginning, Siam showed signs of great leadership. A graduate of the Alexandria Business University, she set out to break stereotypical assumptions about women. In her community, participation by women in the economy was the weakest by global standards.For years, women were marginalized and were not given decision-making positions as tradition dictated that men were better suited to make rational business decisions. Siam decided that her generation, with its advantage of a better education and exposure to professionalism and more frequent contacts between the East and the West, could create its own independent business identity. She chose a line of business completely different from her family’s, one that women rarely involve themselves in – antique dealing. “To be an antique dealer wasn’t easy in the beginning. I was living in a conservative society and working in a market that was male-dominated without any experience and with a little capital of my own,” she recalls, “But I loved antiques and was very determined. I first started working on a consignment basis. Next, I started attending international auctions and learned how to become a bidder. Soon I made the transition from dealer to manufacturer of detailed reproductions.”

In 2004, Siam entered the Gulf market with the reproduction of antiques as a new business and opened a branch of the company in the Ras al Khaimah Free Trade Zone in the United Arab Emirates. Since then, she has marketed her products through exhibitions and gained visibility and success. She has also pioneered a new line of business – the restoration and recreation for value of traditional oriental handmade carpets by adding hand-painted features and using them as interior décor statement pieces.

Throughout her journey to success in business, Siam observed the interaction between different nationalities and how they worked to gain competitive advantage in the global market.She channeled her ambition and her observations into various professional bodies such as the Economy Businesswomen’s Council in Egyptian Chamber of Commerce of which she is Founder-President; the Asian-Arab Chamber of Commerce of which she is the Director in Egypt and the Hot Mommas Project affiliated to the George Washington University School Of Business of which she is Regional Country Manager.

A strong believer in giving back to the community, Siam has been a mentor for women entrepreneurs globally:In 2008, Rim thought of taking on a role as a mentor to empower other women and to teach them new 'skills', so she submitted the First training program for Middle Eastern women to teach sewing art & craft carpentry. She believed that this training can give another chance to women who did not have the chance to go to school to make their future brighter. She believed that this can be a proof that Middle Eastern women can do what men do if given support, and that empowering women by teaching them new skills is the best way of fighting against gender inequality and women's dependency.(Women in Woodworking Women)

Rim's mind never seemed to stop. As an Egyptian entrepreneur for more then 22 years and a mentor, She realized that it wasn't all just about the achievement of her personal dreams, but also about the playing of an important role in connecting female entrepreneurs, business owners and professionals across borders specially those whom their businesses were affected by the Arab springs. Her vision for business was shaped by her belief in opportunity and proper work experience. She believed that women make the best entrepreneurs, so playing an important role in connecting them by using the internet as a springboard to economic participation is a great use of resources.

Through her women’s business e-marketplace, WEBB International Middle East Ltd., Siam has created an offshore online business platform that brings together female entrepreneurs to form a powerful economic force for change.

Rim serves on several organizations both locally and internationally with a wealth experience in international trade, marketing communication, youth empowerment, mentoring and leadership.

Shewon several awards and recognition for her work as businesswoman andmentor.She was the first woman in the Middle East to receive the ”2009 Middle East Dynamic woman award” from, an award-winning venture housed at the GW University School of Business DC. She also won the“2013 SENSES Arabian Entrepreneur award“

In December 2014, she was selected through & Lynn Syms prise as one of the top 25 outstanding grassroots women and visionary voices using digital tools to effect change and advance of their communities works.

In November 2015,her company WEBB Middle East Ltd was selected by UN Global and UN Women (WEPs) for committing to respect the ten principles of the United Nations Global Compact,to take action in support of UN Goals.

In Feb.2016, she was selected by UNIDO 1/16 women's empowerment success stories in Africa & Asia.

She is a rare combination, a creative talent and a successful business woman.


Leading for the Future

Comments 4

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Sarah Murali
Mar 29, 2016
Mar 29, 2016

Thank you for sharing your accomplishments! What an impressive leader you are! My favorite part of this story was the piece about when you became an antique dealer. I would love to hear more of your personal story. What inspired you to take on this challenge? Was there ever a time when you thought it might not be possible? How did you keep going?

Thanks for sharing your story!

Best wishes,


WEBB Middle East
Mar 29, 2016
Mar 29, 2016

Thank you Sarah for your nice comment. please visit 

Jamie Rezmovits
Apr 19, 2016
Apr 19, 2016

Dear Siam:  Wow! Thank you so much for sharing this powerful example of Restorative Leadership! I loved reading about your evolution over time and especially about your work in mentoring women entrepreneurs all over the globe.  You are an impressive woman and I look forward to learning from you and following what you do next!

With love and appreciation,

Jamie (Chair, Global Advisory Network, Restorative Leadership Institute)

WEBB Middle East
Apr 24, 2016
Apr 24, 2016

Thank you Jamie for your nice comment