A youth approach to business
Mai Samih, Tuesday 12 Nov 2019
A new initiative is equipping young people with the knowledge they need to start their own businesses, reports Mai Samih

Young entrepreneurs had the opportunity to join a series of workshops on everything from marketing and branding to legal advice in Cairo last weekend, helping them to gain the knowledge they need to start their own businesses.

The workshops were offered by The Growth Formula (TGF), an initiative on learning for development aiming at highlighting the importance of continuous learning for skills development. They aimed to introduce young professionals in Egypt to modern global practices in business and economics.

Experts from international organisations as well as multinational companies, local businesses, and start-ups addressed participants at the workshops on potential opportunities for learning the skills needed for the 2030 job market.

Sessions were carried out in Arabic and English as well as sign language, introducing an inclusive experience for over 800 attendees.

“We had the dream to help the youth and start-ups to grow and scale their businesses and to bridge the gap between university education and the work market so that everybody is employable,” Heba Assem, one of the founders and chief strategic officer of The Growth Formula said, recounting the idea behind the initiative.

“When we graduated, there was no high-speed Internet, and we did not have access to information… we did not know what we should be learning,” Assem said, adding that many people had now found their jobs had become dated because of a lack of information about the global economy.

“Young people are hungry for relevance,” said Assem, explaining that young professionals are now facing two challenges: first, being unable to define their learning needs, and second, being unable to reach out to the learning opportunities that are affordable and from trustworthy sources.

“Our solution was to design the TGF platform, where our network of global experts delivers global quality learning at an affordable budget and available to both young professionals or aspiring entrepreneurs,” she said.

Assem said that the choice of the skills they pass on during the workshops was based on market research, connections with the government and global organisations, and observation and feedback from the parties concerned.

One of the workshops offered tips on “creating your brand” using daily life experiences to have participants identify with the content of the workshop and making the information easy to acquire.

“The workshop was good since I did not know anything about the topic before, and they used a good approach to explain the content in terms of giving us real-life examples so that we can apply the content effectively to our future businesses,” said one participant at the workshops.

Samar Assem, a digital marketing expert and co-founder of TGF, said that what made the initiative different was the content itself. “We have tried to offer content to serve all business sectors,” she said, adding that they also aim to expand the horizons of those attending and open their eyes to other sectors.

*A version of this article appears in print in the 14 November, 2019 edition ofAl-Ahram Weekly.