Mouna Abbassy, founder of UAE-based Izil Beauty, scooped the Middle East and North Africa accolade at the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards in Deauville, France. Born in Morocco and based in Dubai, Abbassy launched her natural cosmetics brand Izil, meaning ‘pure’ in Berber, in 2012. The 32-year-old’s company produces organic body scrubs, moisturisers and masks enriched with Argan oil from the Atlas Mountains.

“It’s an honour to receive this award,” said Abbassy “I dedicate it to all the Berber women working with me and handling this rare and precious resource. Today, argan oil is known everywhere in the world and it’s thanks to their labour.

“These women live in very harsh conditions and so this award is truly for all them. All I can say is thank you very, very much.”

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Created by Cartier in 2006, in partnership with INSEAD and McKinsey & Co, the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards is a global competition for female entrepreneurs. From thousands of applicants, six laureates are selected annually to receive $20,000, business mentoring for 12 months and a trophy designed by Cartier. In keeping with tradition, this October’s event was held in conjunction with the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society. The global conference, which featured panel discussions and interactive sessions with female captains of industry, ran with the theme of ‘Energizing the world’ this year.