RiseUp Summit 2019 concludes after stellar attendance, events

Doaa A.Moneim , Sunday 8 Dec 2019

Over 8,200 attendees representing 56 countries, including 290 start-ups, 400 investors, and 300 speakers, marked this year’s RiseUp Summit in Cairo

Director Amar Salama at the RiseUp

RiseUp Summit 2019, MENA’s leading entrepreneurship event, has come to a close at the American University in Cairo (AUC) New Cairo Campus after three days of sessions, talks, pitch competitions, and networking, under the theme #JourneytoGrowth.

Throughout the three days, RiseUp Summit 2019 hosted 8,200 attendees, 290 startups, 200 workshops, 400 investors and 300 speakers.

Fawry’s IPO

During the last day, co-founder and managing director of Fawry Mohamed Okasha sat down with executive chairman of the Egyptian Stock Exchange (EGX) Mohamed Farid Saleh to talk about Fawry’s journey to its initial public offering (IPO), covering the perspective of the public entity and that of the private sector company.

Giving an account of Fawry’s #JourneytoGrowth, Okasha explained: "When Mr Mohamed Farid Saleh’s team from the EGX contacted us, we had not considered an IPO. But after several discussions, we convinced our shareholders that this would be the right move for Fawry’s next phase of growth. The three key drivers behind being listed were getting a fair valuation for the company, giving investors freedom to liquidate, and the very high level of transparency to investors that comes with being a listed company.”

Saleh said that the EGX realised that there was a lack of awareness among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups on financial markets and how an IPO can create greater value to investors and founders.

"Fawry has set a great example in the local market, and we encourage other businesses to educate themselves about the journey to an IPO because it is one of the most cost effective ways to raise. The NileEx gives opportunities to companies with a capital of up to EGP 1 million, and then they go through the journey of growth until their capital exceeds EGP 100 million. There is clear potential of how financial markets can offer companies a significant leap in income over the years,” Saleh added.

Discussion with Sawiris

One of the highlights of the third day of RiseUp Summit was a fireside chat with founder of Orascom Holding AD Samih Sawiris.

Moderated by founding partner of Acumen Consulting, Sandra Farid, Sawiris talked about his career journey with Orascom Holding AD, saying: “Thirty years ago I started in development and long-term investments, and it took a lot of effort and time, as I started from scratch. You must know it is a long journey that needs a lot of patience. In the past it was even a harder venture for a young person to launch his or her startup. But now, it might take a couple of years with a lot of effort and the right team for the idea to turn into a multi-million dollar project. Young people nowadays are lucky; it is much easier now.”

Samih Sawiris at the RiseUp

Sawiris also announced the launch of Startup Hub in El-Gouna, clarifying that Orascom intends to expand it to accommodate more startups.

Creative corner, featuring Raya Abirached and Amr Salama

Meanwhile, the creative track at RiseUp Summit 2019 was star-studded with the presence of TV personality Raya Abirached and film director Amr Salama.

The fireside chat entitled, “The Scoop with Raya — RiseUp Edition,” saw Abirached taking the audience through her 10-year #JourneytoGrowth, giving an account of what it took for her to succeed in today's fast-paced media industry.

TV presenter Raya

“It is very important to underline that every career has a journey and if it doesn't, then it is not a career, if you don't believe you can grow, you are never going to go anywhere. My motto in life is that you have to earn it. I believe in it and I stand by it," Raya said.

Executive director at Mentor Arabia, Thuraya Ismail, and Mohamed El-Bassiouni, co-founder and managing director of Tayrah, talked to Salama about youth awareness in the digital film era.

“I think the distinction between digital movies and traditional is starting to disappear, as audiences nowadays are witnessing more experiences through TV, cinema or the internet. I believe in a short time the word will lose its meaning because entertainment will only be digital." Commenting on the availability of enough platforms and initiatives for Arab youth who want to tap into the filmmaking industry, Salama said: “We saw a lot of success stories because of the internet, so if they own a phone, a laptop and have internet access, then they have no excuse.”

More Launchpad announcements

During the summit, Rami Al-Qawasmi, cofounder and CEO of Mawdoo3, announced their acquisition of SuperMama, the leading women platform with a total of five million unique female visits from the Arab world.

Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (DAFZA) announced the three winners of the ecommerce hackathon, the first in-summit hackathon powered by Dubai Commercity.

World Market, the e-commerce search engine that saves users the hard work of searching many websites to find the perfect product, came in first place and won $7,000.

TNT, a plugin for e-commerce website to give access for visually impaired people to experience online shopping, came in second place and won $5,000.

Markazi, the one-stop-shop for home improvement materials, came in third place winning $3,000.

USAID, as well, announced the launch of “TIYE Angels”, the women’s angel investment network, in partnership with Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (TIEC), UNDP, and Malaikah Angels.

The new investment network aims at providing women who are interested in investment with training, and providing women-led startups with mentors, investment and training.

RiseUp Summit 2019 convened 5-7 December, hosting four main stages: tech, capital, creative and growth.

The summit will be followed by the regional Pitch by the Pyramids competition, in which 15 startups from MENA will pitch for various prizes. 

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