In Egypt’s first entrepreneurial summit, RiseUp plans to bring
members of the ecosystem together to provide opportunities for startups.
In a press conference yesterday, initiator and organizer Abdelhameed
Sharara stated that over 2,000 entrepreneurs and change-makers are going
to join the buzz, with the help of eight key institutions.
Abdelhameed Sharara, founder of RiseUp Egypt
The event will take place at the GrEEK Campus, which is widely known as
"AUC West ElBalad" - an image that Sawari Ventures founder and Chairman
Ahmed El Alfi is planning to change in the coming years, by turning the
facility into Egypt's very own Silicon Valley. "In 2 - 3 years, this will
be the Arab World's and Africa's entrepreneurship headquarter; and since
RiseUp Summit is aiming at the same goals as we are, we are proud to host
it here," the founder of the GrEEK Campus said. El Alfi also explained
that the location of the venue is very convenient, since half of Egypt's
population (40 million people) are able to reach it in about an hour and a
Steve Haley (left) and Ahmed El Alfi (right)
When hearing the words 'entrepreneurship' and 'startups', many people
automatically think of funding, investment and money. But this is only one
side of the ecosystem's needs, Country Representative of MercyCorps Egypt
Steve Haley believes. "As one of the key organizers of the event, we
believe that it is vital to bring all members of the ecosystem together.
Entrepreneurs do not just need money; they also need a network, partners,
advice and support - something that RiseUp Egypt is promising to offer,"
he elaborates. MercyCorps supports IT and agriculture startups that help
the less privileged segment of Egypt's population.
The road to the top is tough. Many startups all over the world fail and
disappear, but a respectable number of them turn into high-impact
businesses. Endeavor Egypt takes pride in supporting the country's high-
impact entrepreneurs, such as TBS, Diwan Bookstores, Azza Fahmy Jewellery,
Enigma and Mashaweer. Being a hub for success stories, the organization is
setting up a stage to "eNSPIRE" and spread a notion of hope and support
amongst young startups. "We are happy to help with the execution of RiseUp
Egypt and letting our entrepreneurs share their success stories with the
rest of the ecosystem." Heba Gamal, Managing Director of Endeavor Egypt
stated during the press conference.
Heba Gamal (left), Dina El-Mofty (middle), Dr. Sherif Kamel
Startups need to be able to showcase their products and services in
order to catch the attention of potential investors - an opportunity that
will be provided by Injaz Egypt. By organizing a trade fair with 50 booths
at RiseUp Egypt, Injaz is fulfilling its goal of turning the country's
youth from being an economic burden to being an economic resource. "We are
trying to spread the entrepreneurship culture and fill the gap between the
education system and the job market's needs. We are proud that RiseUp
Summit is a graduate of one of our programs," Dina El-Mofty, Executive
Director of Injaz Egypt said.
Pinpointing the importance of education, the American University in
Cairo's Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program is also a key organizer of
the summit. "Egypt's future lies in its education and private sector," Dr.
Sherif Kamel, the dean of AUC's School of Business stated at the press
conference. "RiseUp Egypt is promoting human resources and trying to give
the country's youth a chance. Investment in education, innovation and
entrepreneurship will have a tangible effect on the future of social and
economic growth in Egypt," he added.
The MIT Enterprise Forum will also help out at the summit, by
organizing one-hour panel discussions about challenges facing
entrepreneurs in Egypt. Hala Fadel, the Chair of MIT Enterprise Forum in
the Pan-Arab Region, believes that Egypt has courage, energy and great
ideas - a combination that the RiseUp Summit has embodied and used
efficiently to connect entrepreneurs on a wide scale.
Additionally, Flat6Labs is offering mini-workshops to attendees, which
will be helpful when the latter move on to the pitching event organized by
Cairo Angels, where the best startups have a chance to pitch-fight for a
chance to meet Egypt’s top Angel investors. Other activities include Pitch
and Ride, where entrepreneurs get a chance to ride a taxi with an investor
and pitch their idea while the car drives around Tahrir Square and Wamda's
Pitch n' Mentor, in which startups will learn to perfect their elevator-
pitch. Also, watch out for the RiseUp Ideathon.
When asked about potential security risks due to possible turmoil in
the area, Sharara replied: "If we all sit at home because we are scared,
we will never reach anywhere." After the summit, he is planning to tour
Egypt's governorates and expand the event to become RiseUp MiddleEast or
even RiseUp Africa.