x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Helping hand for businesses in Egypt

More people look to start new businesses in Egypt as entrepreneurial interest heats up.

Entrepreneurial interest is heating up in Egypt, and more people are looking to start new businesses.

On which industries are these entrepreneurs focusing?

Many are interested in providing services, which would help expand the knowledge-based side of Egypt's economy. Others are still focused on traditional products.

How old do these entrepreneurs tend to be?

Many seem to be younger, and often either in college or fresh graduates. The Mowafi siblings include three brothers and a sister in their 20s and 30s and they operate a network of Web sites under their M04 group.

What do their sites focus on?

They run an online ticketing reservation system and a photography site that posts pictures of exhibitions, weddings and other events. Another one of their sites, Dealwaty.com, shares daily discounts on products and getaway destinations.

Are there organisations that can help entrepreneurs such as the Mowafis get started with a venture?

Yes. There are local business associations and hundreds of microfinance networks. But some groups take a more targeted approach. Ashoka Egypt funds social entrepreneurs with start-up ideas that target education, health and human rights issues. It funds the living costs of its fellows for an average of three years while they try to build an institution.

What about groups that can help individuals launch a business for profit?

An outfit called Plug and Play, which works with an office in Silicon Valley, provides mentoring and sometimes funding to "high-impact entrepreneurs". Endeavor Egypt takes a similar approach. The former has assisted technology firms, including an online retailer named bebasata.com, a digital advertising agency called dna and a location-based social networking site from Wireless Stars.

nparmar@thenational.ae