Ecosystem challenges drive first day of RiseUp 7th summit
Doaa A. Moniem, Friday 6 Dec 2019
The Summit highlighted the status of innovation and entrepreneurship in MENA, with a special look into local, regional and international companies that have followed their own journey to growth

Over three days, seven tracks, 150 sessions, and 100 workshops RiseUp Summit 2019, MENA’s leading entrepreneurship event, kicked off on Thursday at the American University in Cairo (AUC), New Cairo Campus, with deep dives into the #JourneyToGrowth of the regional entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Featuring speakers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Dell Technologies, SAP Egypt, IBM Egypt and early-stage venture fund and seed accelerator 500 Startups.

The Summit highlighted the status of innovation and entrepreneurship in MENA, with a special look into local, regional and international companies that have followed their own journey to growth.

Speaking to Ahram Online, Chief Commercial and Innovation Officer at RiseUp Sherif Aziz said that entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem in Egypt is upgrading significantly thanks to thenone-traditional problems that Egypt faces and need to deal with through out of the box ideas. That’s why companies like Uber and Kareem has raised up in the Egyptian market bridging the gap of offering convenient, on demand transports in reasonable prices.

He added that Egypt market is qualified to receive so much more innovative ideas, thus, it’s always ready to absorb new kinds of startups and entrepreneurs, especially that Egypt is famous of its plenty of talents who are able to create new ideas, and on the other hand, Egypt is one of the largest consumer markets in the World and a huge population, so, the innovators and investors alike will benefit from new innovations.

“RiseUp mission is to channeling innovators, startups owners, and entrepreneurs with investors and businesspersons for the sake of providing the required financial resources for them. During 2018, we managed to channel around 30,000 enterprises with investors and businessmen all over Egypt”.

For economic reforms that Egypt was adopting and its impact on the entrepreneurship progress, Aziz said that the government and the public sector has paid more attention to this issue and they are working on offering all incentives which could help startups and innovators to grow as one of the main objectives of Egypt’s sustainable development vision 2030, as it became a notable source of hard currency and attracts investors to the Egyptian markets who eye innovative startups.

“We are slow but steady. Egypt is late to mind entrepreneurship, but, it starts its journey to achieve a boom in this field in the coming years. On the other hand, this field need all concerned bodies to work together not as isolated islands. For providing funds, entrepreneurship in Egypt is really need from invetors and businessmen to take more risks especially in what regarding providing venture capitals (VC)”, according to Aziz.

With a total of 11 sessions on the first day, RiseUp Summit 2019 was inaugurated with an opening ceremony hosted by President of the AUC Francis J. Ricciardone Jr and Cofounder and CEO of RiseUp Abdelhameed Sharara, giving an account of what is planned for the three-day event.

“This is the beating heart of energy and creativity in the Middle East, and I cannot think of a better place to begin our three days of RiseUp together than AUC. We as AUC bring the world back to Egypt - and bring Egypt to the world - not only for tourism, but for learning, creating, researching, developing projects and products that will improve lives.” Ricciardone said.

During the Summit, business credit card Tribal Credit, founded by serial tech entrepreneur Amr Shady - announced that it closed a $5.5 million seed round to bank startups in emerging markets and help them break free from local financial barriers.

The round was led by BECO Capital and Global Ventures, with other backers that include Endure Capital, 500 Startups, Valve VC, AR Ventures, Off The Grid Ventures, Rising Tide Fund, RiseUp and Tribe Capital. Tribal is also opening its waitlist for the first time during RiseUp Summit, allowing startup teams to sign up to be first in line for access.

Additionally, Egyptian aggregator of outdoor advertising AdMazad announced it’s latest product AdMetrics, which allows advertisers to assess the effectiveness of any out-of-home ad-space or campaign. AdMazad’s AdTech has been revolutionizing the outdoor advertising market by bringing data and analytics to a traditional and chaotic industry.

RiseUp Summit 2019 will convene from December 5-7, hosting four main stages: Tech, Capital, Creative and Growth. The seven tracks that the content focuses on are: Creative Culture, Creative Economies, Smart Capital, Growth Hacks, Emerging Tech, FinTech and Tech 4 Humans.

With RiseUp expanding its regional footprint further every year, this year’s top speakers include Founder of Orascom Development Holding AG Samih Sawiris, TV Personality Raya Abirached, Executive Chairman of the Egyptian Exchange Mohamed Farid Saleh, Cofounder and Managing Director of Fawry Mohamed Okasha, Co-Author Blitzscaling and Cofounder Global Scaling Academy Chris Yeh, Editor-at-Large at TechCrunch Mike Butcher, and Cofounder and President at F6S Matt Philippe.

RiseUp will also host the African App Launchpad Cup, in partnership with the Telecommunications Ministry’s Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA), as well as a number of satellite events in different locations all over Cairo. The Summit will be followed by the regional Pitch by the Pyramids competition, in which 15 startups from MENA will pitch for various prizes.

RiseUp was founded in 2013 in Egypt and quickly grew to become a grassroots movement that spread across the MENA region and beyond. It catalyzed ecosystems and connected regional startups with global resources, beginning with RiseUp Summit (an annual entrepreneurship event) and growing into a range of products and activities supporting startups and developing ecosystems throughout the year, including RiseUp Connect, RiseUp Explore, and RiseUp Meetup.