Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Ministry of International Cooperation, Egypt Ventures Launch Generation Next Forum

Tue 22 Jun 2021 | 02:18 PM
Mohamed Helba

Stemming from Egypt’s desire to build a Knowledge Economy, increase competitiveness and resilience, and enhance the country’s position as a regional hub for startups, the Ministry of International Cooperation and Egypt Ventures, under the auspices of H.E. Dr. Mostafa Madbouly, Prime Minister of Egypt, is launching the Generation Next forum.

#GenerationNext aims to invest in the future, thus highlighting the Government of Egypt’s commitment to enhancing entrepreneurship and investing in startups. The event highlights the key role of the entrepreneurial scene in stimulating the Egyptian economy, which in turn creates competitiveness and catalyzes GDP growth through direct and indirect investments.

The event will be attended by the Minister of International Cooperation H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat, and over 400 representatives from a community of entrepreneurs, innovators and startups, alongside multilateral and bilateral development partners such as 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 African Development Bank (AfDB) in the North Africa Region; and Leslie Reed, the USAID Mission Director for Egypt.

The event will also include Aymal Ismail, the Founder and Managing Director of the American University in Cairo’s Venture Lab; and Wael Amin, the Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Sawari Ventures, alongside other tech-based startups.

The #GenerationNext event will host several discussions on the role of international financial institutions (IFIs) in developing the work environment for technology startups; 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 and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through startups.

The forum promotes Egypt as a destination for investment in the dynamic and tech-savvy startup scene. The event will also address how to create effective links between large companies and startups to stimulate innovation through development projects.

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

The Minister added that the Government of Egypt is committed to supporting entrepreneurship in the country and through Egypt Ventures. The financial and knowledge support 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 elaborated that startups play a vital role in the Fourth Industrial Revolution as they aid in pushing development plans, and have significantly supported the resilience and continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic’s recovery plan. Within the portfolio of the Ministry of International Cooperation, there are currently 34 projects focused on innovation, digitalization and entrepreneurship contributing to 13 SDGs with a total development financing of $1 billion; presenting 4% of Egypt’s total ODA. The Minister noted that Egypt is a regional hub for the entrepreneurial force; and that the support that Egypt Ventures provides as a multi-stage venture capital vehicle, reflects the country’s commitment to achieve growth by catalyzing the knowledge economy.

The volume of investment in startups in Egypt in 2020 amounted to $190 million through 114 deals; showing an increase of 30% compared to 2019. Consequently, Egypt has the fastest-growing entrepreneurship ecosystem in the Middle East and North Africa, coming in as the second largest in the region.

Ahmad Gomaa, Chairman & CEO of Egypt Ventures, said that they aim to invest in tech-based companies owned by Egyptian founders, locally and internationally and headquartered in Egypt.

Gomaa added that Egypt Ventures, through its short term plan, 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 center for innovation and entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa, 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 ain order to provide them with the necessary sufficient attention in financing, especially bank financing which offers great opportunities for expansion and high investment returns.