Yara Yassin, co-founder of Up-Fuse, one of the pioneering social startups at the helm of sustainable fashion in Egypt, has just racked up the top prize at the WeMENA competition, a business contest designed by the World Bank to support and boost female entrepreneurship in the region. The entrepreneur, who was also a part of CairoScene’s 25 under 25 entrepreneurs in 2015, had co-founded the startup in 2013 together with Rania Kafie. Yassin made the cut amongst 2,000 female lady bosses who applied for the programme, winning $50,000 at the finals last Sunday in Casablanca, Morocco.

The entrepreneur continued to raise eyebrows globally, after shortly being named a Gender Pioneer at the Detox Conference in Geneva, in celebration of UN Environment Day. Yassin’s social startup, which she kick-started when she was only 23, promotes eco-conscious lifestyles, crafting stylish bags out of up-cycled plastic bags, while training marginalised women to learn and craft accessories from plastic bags.

Yara Yassin at the weMENA award ceremony in Casablanca.

The power duo has not only up-cycled a massive 40,000 plastic bags since 2015, but also frequently organise awareness events for people to buy conscious and local. This month, the startup is partnering with Sane Egypt to promote conscious shopping through a market and a screening of the documentary movie The True Cost of Fashion to raise awareness. The event will take place on Tuesday May 16th from 7:00 to  11:00 PM.