Egypt to launch Generation Next forum on Saturday to enhance entrepreneurship, start-ups

Doaa A.Moneim , Tuesday 22 Jun 2021

Generation Next aims to invest in the future, thus highlighting Egypt’s government’s commitment to boosting entrepreneurship and investing in start-ups

Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al Mashat (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Egypt’s Ministry of International Cooperation and its Egypt Ventures, under the auspices of the Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, are due to launch the Generation Next Forum on Saturday, the ministry announced on Tuesday.

Holding the forum is an effort that aims to build knowledge of the economy, increase competitiveness and resilience, and enhance Egypt’s position as a regional hub for start-ups, according to Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat.

Generation Next also aims to invest in the future, thus highlighting Egypt’s government’s commitment to boosting entrepreneurship and investing in start-ups.

The event highlights the key role of the entrepreneurial scene in stimulating the Egyptian economy, which in turn creates competitiveness and catalyses GDP growth through direct and indirect investments.

Over 400 representatives from a community of entrepreneurs, innovators, and start-ups, alongside multilateral and bilateral development partners are expected to attend the forum.

This includes Hasan Al-Attas, the director general of operation and head of the Saudi Grant Management Committee at the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD); Malinne Blomberg, the deputy director general of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in the North Africa region, and USAID Mission Director for Egypt Leslie Reed.

The Generation Next Forum is anticipated to host several discussions on the role of international financial institutions (IFIs) in developing the work environment for technology start-ups; the impact of partnerships with development partners to facilitate access to finance; and the action plan put forth for the implementation of the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles, as well as the role start-ups play in advancing the achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

The forum promotes Egypt as a destination for investment in the dynamic and tech-savvy start-up scene and will address how to create effective links between large companies and start-ups to stimulate innovation through development projects, according to Al-Mashat.

Egypt Ventures, established in 2017, is the first Egyptian company with governmental contributions that is specialised in investing, supporting, and encouraging entrepreneurship in the field of technology.

“The government of Egypt is committed to supporting entrepreneurship in the country and through Egypt Ventures. The financial support and knowledge provided by the venture capital vehicle has a ripple effect on the economy, by creating job opportunities and pushing towards a knowledge economy. Egypt Ventures has also managed to enhance cooperation with international institutions that are interested in entrepreneurship in Egypt, opening the door to increased competition that is in line with the ESG principles,” Al-Mashat explained.

Within the portfolio of the Ministry of International Cooperation, there are 34 projects underway, with a focus on innovation, digitalisation, and entrepreneurship, contributing to 13 SDGs with a total development financing of $1 billion, presenting 4 percent of Egypt’s total official development assistance (ODA).

The volume of investment in start-ups in Egypt in 2020 amounted to $190 million through 114 deals; showing an increase of 30 percent compared to 2019, according to the ministry.

Consequently, Egypt has the fastest-growing entrepreneurship ecosystem in the Middle East and North Africa, coming in as the second largest in the region.

Chairman and CEO of Egypt Ventures Ahmed Gomaa said that the company aims to invest in tech-based companies owned by Egyptian founders, locally and internationally with headquarters in Egypt.

Gomaa added that Egypt Ventures, through its short-term plan, also aims to provide alternative financing opportunities for Egyptian entrepreneurs, provide local investment opportunities for Egyptians living abroad while establishing knowledge transfer links to increase cooperation, and support companies in regional and global expansions. 

He added that the long-term plan includes establishing Egypt as a centre for innovation and entrepreneurship in the MENA region, attract foreign and local investments in tech companies, increase direct and indirect job opportunities, and continuously develop Egypt’s dynamic entrepreneurial scene.

Egypt Ventures was established in September 2017 with a paid-up capital of EGP 451 million, alongside the participation of the Ministry of International Cooperation, the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD), and NI Capital.

The company is focused on investing in tech-based companies in order to provide them with the necessary sufficient attention in financing, especially bank financing, which offers great opportunities for expansion and high investment returns.

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