Tyra Banks today announced her Los-Angeles based premium ice cream brand, SMiZE Cream, is set to open its first international location outside of the United States in Abu Dhabi in the fourth quarter of 2022. This milestone was achieved in collaboration with Access Abu Dhabi, a programme powered by the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), designed to engage, enable and empower women and minority-led companies from the United States to fast track their global reach by expanding to the Middle East via Abu Dhabi.
Ms. Banks made the announcement to an audience of business community members, business students and changemakers during the inaugural session of the Access Granted discussion series at Saadiyat Rotana. She was speaking to Eng. Abdulla Abdul Aziz Al Shamsi, Acting Director General of ADIO, as part of a panel session on her journey and future as an entrepreneur, as well as opportunities for women in business in Abu Dhabi.
Tyra successfully launched SMiZE Cream in 2021 as an ice cream brand that delights customers with its unique product range and eye-popping design, incorporates augmented reality into its packaging and champions mentorship. As SMiZE Cream’s first location outside of the US, Abu Dhabi offers a gateway to new markets that will fast-track the brand’s global expansion. SMiZE Cream is also exploring new distribution channels in the region with airlines and theme parks.
Ms. Banks said: “It’s exciting to see the SMiZE Cream dream come to life in Abu Dhabi. SMiZE is about reaching for dreams, and Abu Dhabi is the perfect location to showcase this message as a city built on inspiration and innovation.”
She added, “The cherry on top has been achieving this life-long goal in collaboration with an organisation founded by another African American woman who specifically champions international expansion for entrepreneurs like me. I am grateful to Sarah Omolewu and her Access Abu Dhabi team for the doors they’ve helped open for me to get to this milestone. This immersive, sensory-packed event told the people of the UAE the story of SMiZE and what the brand stands for.”
About Women of Web3 and Access Abu Dhabi
The Access Granted discussion series also featured the Women of Web3 (WoW3), an all-female delegation of leaders in cryptocurrency, blockchain and other Web3 technology who are in Abu Dhabi to explore expansion opportunities as part of Access Abu Dhabi. Panelists Sandy Carter, SVP and Channel Chief at Unstoppable Domains; Olayinka Odeniran, Founder and Chairwoman of Black Women Blockchain Council; Cathy Wu, Director of Investor Relations at Multicoin Capital; Genevieve Bos, Co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer at Poplar; Lisa Mayer, Founder of Boss Beauties; and Janice Taylor, Founder and CEO of EQ Exchange spoke candidly about the challenges, opportunities and future of this space, in which 5% to 7% of all cryptocurrency users are women and just 12% work in blockchain technology.
Access Abu Dhabi is a programme powered by Abu Dhabi government entity ADIO, which recently opened US offices in New York and San Francisco, emphasising its commitment to supporting the expansion of US-based businesses into the Middle East.
The Access Abu Dhabi programme was founded by Sarah Omolewu, an American expatriate who, in just over 10 years living in the UAE, has become a pioneer in entertainment marketing in the Middle East. She now paves the way for others like her to thrive in the region through Access Abu Dhabi, which launched in November 2021 with a mission to support women and minority-led companies seeking expansion to the Middle East via the emirate.
Sarah Omolewu, Managing Partner of Maven Global Access and Founder of Access Abu Dhabi, said: “I first spoke with Tyra about SMiZE Cream nearly a year ago and was immediately captivated by the brand and her vision. The fit with Abu Dhabi was undeniable, so we coordinated several visits for her to the emirate and facilitated introductions with key Abu Dhabi stakeholders. Building bridges between East and West in lockstep with the amazing team at ADIO has been personally rewarding. Tyra’s marketing genius and successes have inspired my work, so collaborating with her to bring this moment to life has truly been an honour.”
Access Abu Dhabi is open to all US businesses. Interested companies can apply to the programme here: www.accessabudhabi.com.