Dr. Racha Abdrabbo Haffar, a visionary in the field of digital transformation, stands as an influential women leader at the forefront of the industry. As the esteemed founder and MD of Digital Excellence Bridge, she is revolutionizing the knowledge-building field by navigating through the complex landscape of technology and innovation and utilizing it to serve pivotal endeavors such as women empowerment, youth leadership, and climate change.
With her exceptional expertise and strategic acumen, Dr Haffar has empowered countless businesses to thrive in the digital era. Her remarkable ability to bridge the gap between technology and business objectives has garnered widespread recognition, establishing her as a true pioneer in the field. Embracing key aspects, such as ‘women’s role in Climate Change using digital literacy, and COP28 community participation, CIO Women Magazine is proud to introduce Dr Haffar as one of the Most Influential Women Leaders to Watch in 2023.
She embarked on her professional journey in consultancy, specializing in economic research and feasibility studies, before transitioning into the realm of financial advising following the completion of her MBA in finance. Notably, her clientele primarily consisted of women spearheading small and medium-sized enterprises.
As her career path led her towards academia, she made the bold decision to pursue a PhD while simultaneously immersing herself in the world of finance education. She dedicated her time as a professor, sharing her expertise in various areas such as corporate finance, Principles of Investments, Financial Institutions, and fiscal policies.
However, the rapid progress of digital advancements revolutionized numerous aspects of society, including education. Recognizing the transformative potential of this shift, Dr Haffar embraced a more innovative approach to education, venturing into the realm of digital training utilizing EdTech tools.
Motivated by a passion for empowering individuals, she established her own company, Digital Excellence Bridge, focusing on digital training encompassing areas such as digital finance, entrepreneurial skills, leadership, and sustainability startups. Her evolution from consultancy to academia to digital training exemplifies her unwavering commitment to staying at the forefront of educational innovation and equipping individuals with the skills necessary to thrive in a rapidly changing world.
The Transformative Power of Education
“Education is the bedrock of all knowledge, and knowledge is empowerment!”
From a young age, Dr Haffar had a profound appreciation for the power of knowledge, immersing herself in books and recognizing the transformative impact they brought. This early recognition laid the foundation for her lifelong pursuit of education and its profound influence on individuals.
As a seasoned professor, she witnessed first-hand how education shaped the trajectories of countless students. This instilled in her the necessary skills and mindset to navigate the complex world of business. With an appreciation for education’s systematic structure, she approached every aspect, from designing the business model to formulating strategies, financial planning, and operations management, with the same rigour and dedication.
Driven by her belief in the power of education, she recognized that a strong educational foundation prepares aspiring business professionals for the challenges and opportunities they encounter in their entrepreneurial journeys. Her love for education as a catalyst for success underscores her profound understanding of its essential role in shaping the future of the company.
The Path of Digital Excellence Bridge
Digital Excellence Bridge, headquartered in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is a leading training and coaching company. The company was officially licensed in 2022 with a clear mission to bridge the gap towards digital inclusion and provide support to entrepreneurs through the dissemination of knowledge using advanced-tech tools.
Through leadership and business simulation courses, it enables businesses to achieve digital financial mastery and strategic planning, incorporating advanced modules into their operations to drive growth and achieve sustainable goals. Its inception marked a significant milestone in empowering individuals and businesses in navigating the digital landscape.
Dr Haffar adds, “Our objective is to primarily cater to incubators across all of UAE. Startups need many aspects of know-how, especially at the beginning. We are providing our services to many incubators, innovation hubs, universities and educational institutions. We aim to contribute to revolutionizing the educational landscape.”
The vision of the company revolved around making digital literacy accessible to all, thereby leading the economy through the transformative power of digitalization. The idea is to leave no one behind in the digital transformation journey.
Dr Haffar reveals a deep-rooted passion for sharing knowledge as her inspiration behind her chosen path. As she recalls her days in academia, the moments spent explaining complex concepts and clarifying financial methods to her classmates became transformative experiences.
Her journey as an entrepreneur has been profoundly shaped by personal life experiences, particularly in witnessing the entrepreneurial endeavours of others. From these experiences, she gleaned invaluable lessons in risk calculation and management, understanding that risks inherently accompany potential returns.
Her own venture began as a freelance financial advisor, where she engaged with numerous clients embarking on their entrepreneurial journeys, seeking guidance in financial matters. This hands-on involvement allowed her to intimately grasp the intricacies of business plans, aspirations, and dreams, and the crucial link between them and financial budgets.
Through these experiences, she recognized the common tendency among entrepreneurs to wholeheartedly embrace their products while potentially overlooking critical facts and data. This realization emphasized the significance of ensuring startups, that are considered today the backbone of the innovative economy, maintain a sustainable foundation, steering them away from potential pitfalls and towards long-term success.
Embracing the Future
Dr. Haffar, in her pursuit of embracing the future, understands the significance of pausing to reflect on the past. Taking this introspective approach, she offers valuable advice to her younger self: ‘Follow your passion and take your dreams seriously.’ Recognizing the transformative power of pursuing one’s true calling, she encourages individuals to wholeheartedly embrace their passions, emphasizing the importance of belief in oneself.
Dr Haffar, drawing from her extensive expertise, envisions a future where artificial intelligence (AI) plays a pivotal role. She sees immense potential in revolutionizing the educational field through innovative teaching methods, enhanced interactivity, and the digitalization of knowledge exchange processes at her company, Digital Excellence Bridge (DeXB).
She plans to expand DeXB’s program offerings to encompass societal causes like women’s empowerment, innovation and design thinking, and sustainability, ensuring their continued impact. By leveraging AI and embracing cutting-edge technologies, she aims to drive educational accessibility to reach the underprivileged and make a positive social change in the communities. .
The Essence of Leadership
Dr Haffar believes in emphasizing the transformative power of feedback in shaping one’s leadership perspective. The advice she received, “Appreciate the feedback. It gives a 360-degree view,” resonated deeply with her and has profoundly influenced her leadership approach. By actively seeking and valuing feedback from diverse perspectives, leaders gain self-awareness, enabling them to make informed decisions, foster collaboration, and inspire those around them.
Her forthcoming book, ‘Ambition Unfolded: Embracing Journeys of Endless Possibilities,’ stands as another testament to her remarkable leadership. In this insightful work, she shares her ongoing personal journey, emphasizing the profound impact of ambition in her life. Through the pages of her book, she captures the essence of ambition, underscoring its significance as a driving force that has shaped her path and opened doors to boundless opportunities.
The title resonates with her belief that ambition has been the driving force behind her pursuit of challenging paths that eventually led to personal and professional growth. Through her book, she seeks to inspire readers to nurture their own ambitions and embrace the ever-evolving nature of their dreams.
Embarking on the journey of entrepreneurship entails overcoming various challenges, from choosing the right field to crafting a comprehensive business plan and strategy. Dr Haffar, in her own entrepreneurial pursuit, encountered the initial hurdle of financial constraints. She adds, “When I started, I faced difficulties as I wanted every part of the establishment phase to be done perfectly and comprehensively, which has put a burden on the budget; since the pay-back period is usually laying a few years down the project’s life.”
Another challenge she confronted was the apprehension among her targeted audience regarding the perceived complexity of the training programs’ subject matter, encompassing topics such as digital applications, AI tools, and digital finance. To navigate this obstacle, she astutely simplified the content to cater to individuals with diverse backgrounds and levels of expertise, by creating a dimension that took human component into consideration. She ensured that the company aligned with the specific business needs.
Through her resourcefulness and commitment to overcoming challenges, Dr Haffar paved her way forward. By addressing the financial constraints and tailoring the training programs to alleviate fears of complexity, she successfully navigated the initial hurdles and positioned Digital Excellence Bridge as an accessible and valuable resource for individuals seeking knowledge in digital applications, AI tools, and digital finance.
Digital Excellence Bridge offers a wide range of training courses that are certified by KHDA. These are focused on empowering individuals and businesses for success.
- Business Startup Training
This comprehensive course equips aspiring entrepreneurs with essential skills in entrepreneurial finance, business planning, and operational management. Additionally, participants gain insights into sustainability and sustainable development goals, to ensure support for environmentally-friendly startups, learning how to effectively integrate these principles into new and existing ventures.
- Digital Literacy Courses
The company offers an insightful course on Introduction to Recent Digital Applications, designed to enhance business, management, financial reporting, and strategic planning capabilities. These courses not only cover essential technical skills but also emphasize the development of relevant soft skills necessary for promoting digital inclusion in the economy. Notably, digital financial mastery takes center stage in these comprehensive training programs.
- Leadership and Business Simulation
It is a dynamic leadership training program that leverages digital tools to develop essential skills. Participants engage in activities that assess team interactivity and explore different professional personalities. With a strong focus on women empowerment and youth leadership, this program highlights their significance as key components. Through interactive simulations, aspiring entrepreneurs gain valuable experience and prepare themselves for the challenges commonly encountered by SMEs.
What Future Holds
Digital Excellence Bridge is poised for an exciting future, with plans to expand and enhance its services. Alongside its current offerings, the company envisions providing workshops and training sessions that utilize cutting-edge EdTech tools, creating immersive learning experiences.
In addition, the company aims to bolster its online presence by offering coaching sessions, granting individuals convenient access to expert guidance and subject-specific resources. It is committed to supporting startups throughout their journey.
It also extends its advisory services to encompass crucial aspects such as funding strategies, marketing techniques, and brand development. With these future plans in motion, Digital Excellence Bridge is steadfast in its commitment to empowering individuals and businesses with the necessary skills and knowledge for long-term success.
Word of the Wise
Entrepreneurs are change-makers, and their businesses are considered the backbone of the economy! So “Go for it, just make sure you have the know-how you need in each step”