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It’s a Start-Up Summer for Egypt’s Entrepreneurs (VIDEO)

  • by
  • August 9, 2011
  • 10:00 am
  • 2 of 2, an Arabic parenting website and smartphone application created by colleagues Yasmine El-Mehairy and Zeinab Samir, both 29, is scheduled to launch this September. The genesis of the project came from El-Mehairy’s sister-in-law’s pregnancy and the wealth of conflicting advice she received, mostly from old wives’ tales. “Your mother tells you one thing, your mother-in-law tells you something else, but there’s difficult to get good expert advice.” With women making up almost half of all internet users in Egypt, the website now boasts a staff of ten offering advice on pregnancy, parenting, women’s health, career options, child care, nutrition, cooking and budgeting.

By 2015, hopes to emerge as the number one Middle Eastern website for women. “We have a vision that we want to establish now because when things are more stable and the political systems are in place, people will start looking for jobs and we will be able to provide a work environment where women can work from home,” El-Mehairy explained. “Everybody has a real belief in the country at the moment.”

“We are believers that entrepreneurship is how the future will get better. Not through thousand-person corporations like the pre-revolution, but rather thousands of smaller businesses, each providing two or three job opportunities.”


Inkezny, which means “rescue me” in Arabic, is an application currently in development by construction management student Marwan Roushdy. “The emergency system in Egypt is really bad and you often get put on hold,” explained Roushdy. “I thought of an application to bypass the system and get in touch with hospitals directly. The idea developed further into something for travelers worldwide to help them find emergency numbers in whatever country they are in.”


#18DaysinEgypt, an online platform developed by Ahmed Ellaithy and four other business partners, documents and tells the story of Egypt’s revolutions through the eyes of those who lived it, through videos, blogs, photos, tweets and commentary. “We see immense potential in transforming crowdsourcing and citizen journalism,” said Ellaithy, who hopes to expand the platform into an aggregated site for any major news event.

“I feel lucky to be in Egypt at this time and if I was still living abroad I would want to come back, said Ellaithy. “It’s a great time for new ideas, there’s more of a can-do attitude in everyone.”

“Building a successful entrepreneurial community is critical for pointing the way towards building a strong economy in Egypt,” said Mike Ducker, member of the U.S. State Department’s Global Entrepreneurship Program. “The Middle East is striving to become the next global center of entrepreneurship, and Egypt is a central focal point of small business activity in the region.”

In order for an economy to repair, there needs to be room for new ideas, plus the financial backing to make those ideas a reality. Not only are these burgeoning start-ups gaining validation through their recognition and mentorships, they are also creating a community of innovation, where people look to each other not for rivalry, but for cooperation in building towards a shared vision as an economically viable home to creative solutions and ground-breaking results.

“Two things were very obvious,” Young Entrepreneur Council founder Scott Gerber told Mashable. “Entrepreneurship is alive and well in Egypt, we just need to solidify the ecosystems. All the pieces are there, they’re just not on the same board yet.”

“The tech start-up scene in Egypt started about two years ago. An ecosystem needs to be formed. They are at square one. In a few years, it will be booming.”

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12:07PM PDT on Aug 9, 2011

Good story. I wish them the best of luck and success!

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