“Change begins with you…”

~Muna Al Gurg

Muna Easa Al Gurg is the Director of Retail of Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group, a multidivisional conglomerate with 27 companies. The Group is active in several industry sectors that include retail, building and construction, industrial, real estate and joint ventures.

Since 2008, Al Gurg has been Chairwoman of Young Arab Leaders UAE, where she promotes education, entrepreneurship and youth development.

Al Gurg has been advocating a greater role for women in business. In 2015 she launched the Muna Al Gurg Scholarship at London Business School, supporting female students studying in the school’s MBA and Executive MBA programme.

Al Gurg is on the board of several non-profit organisations, such as the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development where she works closely with its Chairman, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan. At the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Charity Foundation, she is responsible for strategy and initiatives both in the UAE and internationally. She is a member of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Sustainability Board, which is mandated to provide innovative and sustainable solutions to refugees in the MENA region. Finally, she is a founding board member of Endeavor UAE, a non-profit organisation promoting high-impact entrepreneurship in emerging and growth markets.

Muna Al Gurg is an active investor; one of her most publicized successes was the $3.1 billion exit from the Middle East’s largest technology startup Careem which was acquired by Uber in March 2019. Al Gurg was one of the only female investors and the sole Emirati.

She started her career with Saatchi & Saatchi in Dubai, and consequently joined the family business in 2001. She holds an MBA from London Business School in the UK and is also a Fellow of the Middle East Leadership Initiative of The Aspen Institute.

Enjoy the show!

Posted on July 23rd, 2020

Show Notes:

  • 01:45 – Muna’s background and growing up in Deira.

  • 3:45 – The Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group’s wide-ranging portfolio of companies.

  • 5:00 – Becoming the head of retail during the last recession.

  • 6:45 – Having a presence online and dealing with the current Pandemic

  • 8:45 – Being part of the UN Refugees Sustainability Board

  • 10:45 – Her learnings from Saatchi & Saatchi

  • 12:15 – Expressing herself on her blog and writing for Gulf News

  • 16:15 – Her ‘baby project’ in Zanzibar.

  • 18:45 – About the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Foundation and various initiatives it supports.

  • 20:15 – The Young Arab Leaders network.

  • 21:45 – The launching of Young Arab Leaders at the Dead Sea.

  • 22:15 – Young Arab Leaders’ Power Lunches and meeting prominent figures.

  • 24:15 – Giving back to the community as a YAL member and impacting the youth of the region.

  • 25:45 – The role of mentorship in a youth’s learning.

  • 26:30 – The learnings and ‘mentorship’ she received from her own father.

  • 27:15 – Her tea party at Buckingham Palace.

  • 28:45 – Being a Founding Member of Endeavor UAE.

  • 30:00 –  “It’s a small world”

  • 31:15 – The need for entrepreneurs to solve problems that aren’t as capitally intensive in the current climate.

  • 33:30 – Her mentor at the time when she got started.

  • 36:15 – “Change begins with you”.

  • 39:15 – The Acumen Academy and it’s global network of fellows creating a domino effect of impact.

  • 40:45 – Her travels exploring the continent of Africa.

  • 41:30 – Her weekend passion at Al Serkal Avenue and Jameel Arts Centre.

  • 43:00 – Muna’s wish for the UAE to become a leader in Intellectual Property and Research.

  • 44:30 – How to make it happen by supporting the growing talent within local institutions and by having the private sector contribute.

  • 47:00 – Muna’s advice on envisioning your end goals.


The Blue Sweater by Jaqueline Novogratz


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