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"Google Ebda2" Judge: Mohamed ElAyouti from Vodafone Egypt

Business Development Senior Manager at Vodafone Egypt gives an insight on the judge’s life at Google Ebda2 & offers some entrepreneurial advice.
The Google Ebda2-competition has been ongoing for some months now, including 4000 contestants and numerous judges from various fields.

Egypt Business Directory previously featured one of the fifty final contestants of the competition: Bosletak with team-head Ahmed ElNoshokaty (

This Google Ebda2 feature is about the judge – or rather one of the judges. Mr. Mohamed ElAyouti is the Business Development Senior Manager for Vodafone Egypt and a member of the Ebda2 panel that is responsible for filtering the entrepreneurial participants, and selecting the one lucky winner that will receive $200,000 in May.

Egypt Business Directory had the chance to briefly talk to ElAyouti about the competition, the judging criteria and how Google Ebda2 could affect the Future of Egypt.

Egypt Business Directory (EBD): What is your impression of the competition so far?

Mohamed ElAyouti (MEA): I am pretty impressed. We’ve seen so many competitions recently, but Ebda2 is different because it is not idea-oriented, but company-oriented. So this is an interesting angle. I also like the way Google did the road show and went through whole Egypt and broke free of the framework of monopolizing the competition to one city or one university. Hence, they have a huge variety of ideas.

EBD: What criteria are you following in your judgment?

MEA: The criteria were handed out to us. We had certain ranks on presentation, innovation, impact on society, profitability potential, relevance of the idea, maturity of the business concept, and the strength of the entrepreneurial team. This is only the official judging. Of course there is a personal part that unconsciously affects the judgment.

EBD: How do you balance between the “personal part” and the official judgment criteria?

MEA: I cannot say I am biased against or towards an idea, but in the end, the process of judgment is meant to include my personal view as well, especially since I come right out of the backyard of the mobile and telecommunication world, so I have an idea about what could work and what has been tried before. Of course, adding my personal opinion might not be fair, but in the end, life is not fair either. Entrepreneurs need to understand that as well. Failure happens and you will not be able to complain to anyone about it. The judging is as fair as possible, but because it is part of real life, there are variables that change. One thing is definite though: the scores of all the judges are usually in the same range.

EBD: What is the strongest asset that you found in the startups?

MEA: There are a great variety of startups and ideas. There are projects about bio-fuel, education, health care, journalism etc. And the main point is: these ideas are all happening. The fact that there are about 50 tech-related companies right now coming up and growing strong in Egypt all of a sudden, is a great achievement.

EBD: How can this competition affect the country on the long run?

MEA: I think it will be influential in two things: First of all, it could make the concept of “failure” acceptable in our society and culture. Personally, I initiated two startups – one went well and one failed. And that is ok. But in our culture, it is all about taking the safe side of things, like going to college and graduating to be an employee in some company and have a secure income. This needs to change and people need to be able to deal with risks and failure. Second of all, having a generation who believe they can make a living by starting their own businesses is good for the economy and for the individual. This makes us part of the global market, because the whole world is going in this direction.

Stay tuned for more on Google Ebda2.