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  • Nova Scotia Alumnus: Championing Women's Rights in Saudi Arabia

Nova Scotia Alumnus: Championing Women's Rights in Saudi Arabia

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

ConnectNS network member Khalid Alkhudair has helped thousands of women in Saudi Arabia find employment thanks to his innovative startup, Glowork. At only 30 years of age, he's helping further the position of women in the workforce through connecting job seekers with interested employers online, as well as granting new skills and competitive training to help women gain better jobs. As a winner of the 2012 "30 under 30" award and considered one of the top 10 entrepreneurs in Asia, Alkhudair has made his mark as a social and financial businessman. It's no surprise that he landed on Arabian Business Magazine's Most Powerful Arabs List of 2013.

Starting out strong
His work with women began when his sister ran into trouble locating work in the Saudi marketplace. Most jobs have been unavailable to women for years, so Alkhudair turned his management skills at KPMG to establish a tool for women that helps them penetrate the male-driven job market.

"As a male I had a huge problem finding a job when I came back to Saudi after graduating and my sister had an even bigger issue finding an opportunity — and she's smarter than I am," Alkhudair told Forbes. "I was very curious to understand why there was a problem with unemployment."

Alkhudair got his start in business management by attending Saint Mary's University in Nova Scotia and later received the 2010 Saint Mary's University Young Alumni of the Year award. Having grown up in Halifax, he was able to understand the way economies can be influenced by available workforce and economic struggles. After graduating in 2007, he moved back to Saudi Arabia and took his knowledge and personal experiences with him. In a country where over one-third of all women have no employment, his entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to helping females find work has helped make a significant impact in only a few years.

As he told Forbes, Alkhudair knows it's not just a matter of sexism in hiring. Sometimes women don't know where to look to find employment. Other times they lack the proper skills, such as making resumes or dressing for an interview. That's where Glowork comes in and really shines with female applicants, as the site provides a wide array of interested businesses with spots ready and set aside for women. What's more, Glowork also sponsors career fairs as well as speeding up the hiring process.

Expanding to the future
Applying his education to his new startup, Glowork quickly grew in size and value. Forbes reported that the company has been given a sizeable boost from a recent investment of $16 million from SAS Holdings. Since launching Glowork in 2011, the site has connected more than 3,000 women with competitive jobs and about 500 more with work-from-home opportunities. This helps strengthen families, give women more working options and generate superior income as compared to their previous opportunities.

With more startups emerging in the Middle East, Khalid Alkhudair's Glowork sets a high standard of excellence and social awareness. The firm will use the $16 million investment to continue expanding opportunities for women, as well as hiring a substantial number of staff. The business will expand from its Saudi Arabia headquarters by starting up a new office in Oman, as well as bringing on as many as 150 employees. This will help keep Glowork's mission strong and raise more potential employment opportunities for women across the Gulf. With a slew of awards under Alkhudair's belt and breaking new ground all the time, it's likely that this venture will continue to make waves across the continent and for years to come.

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Khalid Alkhudair is a member of the ConnectNS network which includes proud Nova Scotians, alumni and expats from over 40 countries. Get involved.