Entrepreneurial spirit and diversity & inclusion policies recognised on day three of the region’s largest and most influential event for the construction industry

The region’s brightest and most forward-thinking companies and individuals were recognised on the third day of The Big 5 as the winners of both the Women in Construction (WIC) Awards and the Start-up City Pitch Competition were announced. As Middle East and Africa’s largest and most important meeting place for the global construction community, The Big 5 mega-event recognised those making a positive impact on the sector by fostering collaboration, supporting best practices, and provide effective solutions to today’s industry challenges.

The second edition of The Big 5’s Women in Construction (WIC) Forum & Awards was a much-anticipated highlight of day three aimed at addressing the need to reinvent gender balance, diversity & inclusion (D&I) policies and best practices in the workplace while empowering women in the male-dominated construction sector. The packed-out audience was given a 360-degree overview of the current issues faced and the new initiatives undertaken to push the industry forward.

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Dr Shetha Alzubaidi, Chief Executive Officer & Partner at Brookson Project Management and judge of the Women in Construction Awards, said:

“Women are often under-represented in the fields of engineering, both in the academia and in the profession of engineering. However, women working in construction are on the increase. With a concerted effort from key industry players, there is a chance that more women will view a career in construction as a great one.”

Jessica Rigley, Area Staff Manager from BAM International, took home the win in the coveted Women in Leadership category at the WIC Awards. The judges commended her 20+ years of experience in leading more than 200 staff as well as her pioneering role as a woman in HSE, which involved the development of an online HSE monitoring system, among others achievement.

The Next-Gen Woman of the Year category win went to Layla Kailany, who is an Assistant Project Manager at Parsons International. Judges felt that it was a combination of her work on mega-projects and her ability to take responsibility of many aspects of the project such as managing the design and construction activities, coordinating with subcontractors, and participating in resolving construction issues that gave her the win.

Meanwhile, WSP in the Middle East took home the win for Company of the Year for their D&I achievements including the introduction of flexible working policies that resulted in 88% of mothers returning to work after maternity leave, as well as the use of inclusive language referenced in job adverts resulting in being able to attract a more diverse workforce – for example, 50+% of graduates and interns, were female.

This year, supporting the Women Empowerment Principles (WEPs), an initiative of the UN Women and the UN Global Compact, the largest sustainability network in the world, The WIC Forum & Awards also hosted an official Pledge Ceremony for the companies willing to come together and sign the WEPs.

In line with its commitment to promote innovation in construction and support promising start-ups, for the second consecutive year, The Big 5 presents local and international selected start-ups displaying innovative solutions and pioneering products at the Start-up City, in partnership with CCC (Consolidated Contractors International Company), Catalyst (a Masdar & BP Initiative), and Wamda.

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“In a world where innovation and technology are more and more crucial to remain competitive, the construction sector is still widely considered a late technology adopter. In this context, start-ups play a truly vital role in the sustainable development of the industry, as they inject innovative ideas, creative approaches, and a good dose of entrepreneurial spirit,”

said Josine Heijmans, Vice President Construction – dmg events.

The winner of the exciting Start-up City Pitch Competition was announced today with Tenderd taking home a prize worth US$ 25,000 donated by The Big 5. The winning innovation involved a heavy equipment rental marketplace, that the judges felt solves a big market need, with a scalable solution, applicable across all market dynamics. Other exciting new start-up innovations showcased in the competition included Adok’s table projector, Skyline Solution’s mobile hanger for passenger drones, and a flat-pack housing solution from ModulusTech.

Start-Up, Tenderd take home the prize at Start-Up City Pitch Competition
Start-Up, Tenderd take home the prize at Start-Up City Pitch Competition

Organised by dmg events, The Big 5 covers the full construction cycle with alongside six co-located shows: The Big 5 Heavy, Middle East Concrete, HVAC R Expo, Middle East Stone, The Big 5 Solar, and the Urban Design & Landscape Expo.

The event concludes tomorrow 28 November at the Dubai World Trade Centre and hosts 2,507 local and international exhibitors showcasing 20,000+ building solutions and products.

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Media Contact:

Elisha Dessurne
Elisha Dessurne Content and Public Relations Manager, dmg events


About The Big 5

The Big 5 is the construction event providing leading-edge innovation, knowledge, and business opportunities for industry players around the world to connect, grow, and succeed.

Taking place annually in Dubai since 1979, the event has launched hundreds of thousands of products boosting the expansion of emerging markets. It has facilitated partnerships, advanced knowledge and industry best practices, while serving as the gateway for international companies to access the Middle East, Africa and South Asia regions.

The Big 5 covers the full construction cycle; not only does it showcase products across dedicated sectors, it also runs alongside nine specialised events enabling industry professionals to source building solutions from around the globe for every stage of the construction projects: The Big 5 Heavy, Middle East Concrete, Windows, Doors & Facades Event, Gulf Glass, HVAC R Expo, The Big 5 Solar, Middle East Stone, the Urban Design & Landscape Expo, and FM Expo.

The event includes high-level summits, practical seminars, CPD-certified workshops, and The Big 5 Impact Awards to foster collaboration, support best practices, and provide effective solutions to today’s industry challenges.

The Big 5 is organised by dmg events and is free to attend for all pre-registered visitors. 


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About dmg events

dmg events is a leading organiser of face-to-face events and a publisher of trade magazines.

We aim to keep businesses informed and connect them with relevant communities to create vibrant marketplaces and to accelerate their business through face-to-face events.

dmg events organises more than 80 events across 25 countries, attracting over 425,000 attendees and delegates every year. The company’s portfolio of products includes many industry-leading events in the energy, construction, hospitality & design, coatings and transportation sectors. ADIPEC, The Big 5, Gastech, EGYPS, The Hotel Show and INDEX are the company’s flagship events. For more information visit

About DMGT

DMGT manages a portfolio of companies that provide businesses and consumers with compelling information, analysis, insight, events, news and entertainment. The Group takes a long-term approach to investment and has market-leading positions in consumer media, insurance risk, property information, education technology, energy information and events & exhibitions. In total, DMGT generates revenues of around £1 billion.