Iman Bibars

Executive Leadership Program - Amsterdam Class 12

Iman Bibars
Regional Director & Global Diaspora Leader
I am based in: Cairo

A visionary for social entrepreneurship and an advocate for women’s development, I am an outspoken voice for socio-economic justice and the empowerment of underprivileged communities and women. I have worked to heighten national and international awareness of urgent social development issues throughout the Arab World.

Seventeen years ago, I co-founded the Association for the Development and Enhancement of Women (ADEW), a citizen sector organization that provides credit and legal aid for impoverished female heads of households. The association is Egypt’s very first microfinance organization and is both an influential grassroots organization and a leading advocate for women’s rights.

I have more than 30 years of experience in strategic planning, policy formulation, community development, and project design. I have worked with UNICEF, Catholic Relief Services, CARE, The World Bank, and numerous UN agencies. Throughout my experience, I have authored several books on gender issues and published the first book written in Arabic about former President Barack Obama. I have also published a variety of articles and book chapters on social entrepreneurship in the MENA region.

After 14 years of observing and working with social businesses in Egypt, I found a gap in the support system for early-stage social start-ups. Although Egypt is witnessing a surge in youth with activism in civic engagement and community development following the revolution, these youth are often left to figure out how to formally start a social venture after years of apprenticeship in their initiatives or projects. I have designed a program called "The Journey," which equips them with tools to implement their ideas. I also work with teams of different mentors and industry experts to enrich the experience of these entrepreneurs through hands-on learning experiences.