ITIDA, Plug and Play sign agreement to boost Egyptian startups

Doaa A.Moneim , Thursday 23 Sep 2021

Plug and Play is one of the world s leaders in managing innovation hubs

Egyptian Minister of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), Amr Talaat speaks during the video conference with Plug and Play CEO and Founder, Saeed Amidi and several company members on Thursday 23 September, 2021. Photo courtesy of MCIT Facebook page

Egypt’s Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) and the company Plug and Play have inked an agreement to establish a strategic partnership boosting Egypt’s entrepreneurship and startup ecosystem, ITIDA announced on Thursday.

The agreement was signed by ITIDA CEO Amr Mahfouz and Plug and Play CEO and Founder Saeed Amidi, in the presence of Minister of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) Amr Talaa.

The three-year agreement comprises launching an innovation platform for startups in Cairo focusing on digital transformation, and a program for accelerating 60 growth-stage startups and incubating 60 early-stage startups. The agreement eyes to attract $20 million of investments in the beneficiary technology startups while creating 500 job opportunities.

It also aims to create a vibrant startup community at the Creativa Innovation Hub in Sultan Hussein Kamel Palace in Cairo and cement Egypt as the premier centre for innovation-driven entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

“We’re keen to promote entrepreneurship and foster tech- and innovation-driven projects. MCIT endeavours to create an enabling environment for the growth of startups as part of the plan of building Digital Egypt and in light of Egypt's successes and progress in this field at the regional and global levels,” said Talaat.

Talaat added that the agreement would reinforce his ministry’s efforts in advancing entrepreneurship through partnering with one of the major companies specializing in startup incubation and acceleration. In addition, he said that MCIT is establishing Creativa Innovation Hubs nationwide to promote entrepreneurship and empower university students and entrepreneurs through developing their innovation skills and supporting their information and communication technology (ICT) projects.

ITIDA’s CEO emphasized that Plug and Play is one of the world's leaders in managing innovation hubs, adding that the company's presence in Egypt will add value to the startup ecosystem, thus positively reflecting on regional and international reports.

Mahfouz clarified that Egypt’s global position is expected to advance this year thanks to the boom in the entrepreneurship scene and the surge of investments in Egyptian startups, in addition to the huge investment by the government in spreading digital innovation hubs across the country and in building digital and freelancing skills and fostering tech innovation and helping startups to grow.

Plug and Play works as a bridge between Silicon Valley and 35+ locations around the world and is one of the top innovation-enabling platforms worldwide.

On his side, Sobhan Khani, Plug and Play’s vice president, said that Egypt's economy is expected be one of the top 10 economies in the world by 2030, adding that the talent and entrepreneur culture in Egypt makes this an incredible opportunity for them to establish this office with help of ITIDA. He added that they are extremely excited about this launch.

Establishing a Creativa Innovation Hub at Sultan Hussein Kamel Palace is part of a national plan Egypt adopted to turn some cultural heritage buildings into youth innovation hubs.

The project is also part of MCIT strategy to establish digital innovation hubs across Egypt to promote technology innovation and entrepreneurship. The palace is being transformed into an innovation hub while preserving its architectural character and cultural value.

The Hub will include laboratories of tech giants, emerging technologies facilities, startup incubators, training halls, meeting rooms, and co-working spaces.

Based in Silicon Valley, Plug and Play is one of the world's most prominent investors in early-stage startups; it has invested in almost 1,000 startups. The company is also one of the top innovation-enabling platforms worldwide, with around 40 offices in 19 countries.

Plug and Play's business model involves fostering and boosting innovation through establishing sustainable partnerships between big businesses and startups.

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