The initiative, titled StartEgypt, aims at supporting social startups through an incubation programme for entrepreneurs to ideate, build and accelerate their businesses.
A brand new programme for social startups funded by the UK government, supported by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and powered by Flat6Labs, was annouced today at the heart of downtown Cairo, setting off to infuse the entrepreneurial ecosystem with 50 million EGP in funding, as well as a tremendous support by some of the ecosystem's most active players.
The programme, titled StartEgypt, was announced today at Cairo's tech valley, The Greek Campus, where the British Ambassador to Egypt, John Casson, unveiled the initiative along with Walid Labadi, IFC Country Manager in Egypt, Libya and Yemen, and Flat6Labs' CEO Ramez El-Serafy. "Three years in Egypt have taught me just how much talent and energy and potential Egypt's youth have. It's never been more important to support Egypt's young people and give them opportunities to fulfil their potential and develop their country," Casson said.
"We are always looking for things to invest in the potential of Egyptians to build their futures. We also have an initiative called Inspired Egypt, to inspired leaders in different sectors, and connect them to Egyptian leaders," he told Startup Scene ME at the press conference.
"It's also consistent with the way the World Bank approaches issues and deals with the governments. Our question is: Can the private sector do this? and if the answer is yes, then we let the private sector do it. If it can't, which is the case with educational issues sometimes, then we ask 'what are the problems, how can we fix that? What can we do to take this risk? Because there is no way the private sector can address all the problems of the world; that's why we are committed to unclocking investments," Labadi said.
Earlier in August, the British Embassy and Flat6Labs had organised a hackathon for social entrepreneurs to flex their skills in a competition for 10 promising teams, after announcing a £1 million fund at RiseUp Summit 2016. Now, the Embassy takes it one step further, with a full-fledged programme that aims to give young entrepreneurs financial support, advice and exposure to turn ideas into international solutions and make them "the champions of the future economy of Egypt," he said.
StartEgypt entails a six-month incubation programme, and grants to empower entrepreneurs in Flat6Labs Cairo's flagship acceleration programme, and entrepreneur-focused content and activities geared towards enabling young Egyptian entrepreneurs to grow and acquire the skills to start their ventures.
Kicking off with a training programme to turn ideas into market-ready businesses, as well as mentorship and coaching services that complement their stage of development, the initiative will conclude with an acceleration stage by Flat6Labs, with grants of up to $25,000 per company. "Todays' announcement is an exciting and important step ahead as it harnesses the enterprising passion of Egyptian youth and helps transform it into market-ready businesses," said Ramez El-Serafy, CEO at Flat6Labs.
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