HURGHADA – 9 December 2017: Egypt’s population reached 104 million in 2017, according to national statistics, with 18.2% of the population between 15 and 24 years old. These youth are full of passion and energy, and they have creative ideas and can generate major economic progress in Egypt. They only need a chance to learn, work and innovate.
The concept of entrepreneurship is not unfamiliar to Arab communities, especially to the youth of Egypt. Experts say that the younger generation needs to create jobs rather than seeking jobs in order to solve the global problem of unemployment.
Egypt Today interviewed experts and decision makers on entrepreneurship during the Egypt Entrepreneurship Summit (EES), which took place in Hurghada between 15 and 18 November, to find out why they believe that entrepreneurship is the gateway to major economic progress.
The president of the Middle East Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (MCSBE), Ahmed Osman, said, “Entrepreneurship is not an option. Unemployment is a global problem and the main factor behind the Arab Spring.” He added, “Youth empowerment is essential, and we need to leave them lead and change the way Egypt works.”
Gen. Mohamed Ashour, head of the Central Administration for Supporting Investment in the Administrative Control Authority, said that they do believe that entrepreneurship is the future, as it’s the best and fastest way to prosperity, confirming that small and medium enterprises are currently completely supported by the Egyptian government.
Moreover, he spoke about the Administrative Control Authority’s initiative to support young entrepreneurs, called “Sharea Masr” (Egypt’s Street), which offers spaces in Cairo for youth to start small projects. He added that the idea will be applied to other streets and different governorates.
“Sharea Masr”, an initiative by Administrative Control Authority – cc file photo
Canadian Ambassador to Egypt Jess Dutton said that Canada believes that entrepreneurship and small- and medium-sized enterprises are the foundation of any strong economy.
“Many youths are joining the economy every year. They need jobs and they have creative ideas. So empowering them to implement their ideas, create opportunities and create their companies, that will benefit Egyptians; that’s a great way for success,” Dutton said.
The director of the International Labor Organization (ILO) office in Cairo, Peter Van Rooij, told Egypt Today that the ILO works on supporting entrepreneurship in order to create decent jobs for young Egyptians.
He added that the ILO works on strengthening existing institutions within the government and private sector to maximize efficiency in supporting entrepreneurship. An example of their endeavors includes exposing young Egyptians in schools to an introductory course on how to start your own business in the “know about business” project.
CEO and managing director of Tatweer Masr, Ahmed Shalaby, said that they are working to establish the first entrepreneurial college town community in Egypt, which will include a campus for international universities, who will provide education for different majors but with a core principal of entrepreneurship, to create a new generation of job creators instead of job seekers.
He also added that this project will be an attraction point for students from all over the world who are interested in entrepreneurship.
EES focuses on innovation, professional development and networking. It discussed a lot of different topics, such as trends in entrepreneurial practice in Egypt, entrepreneurial mindset in the Arab region and how to provide 600 million jobs needed in the next 15 years.
The summit is held under the patronage of the International Labor Organization and the Egyptian Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation. More partners are also involved in the event, such as the International Council for Small Business (ICSB), Middle East Council for Small Business & Entrepreneurship (MCSBE), Arab Academy for Science and Technology (AAST), Nawah, Global Entrepreneurship Week and Tatwer Masr.