Entrepreneurs in Egypt: Gamal Sadek
Young entrepreneurs in Egypt are part of a new wave of self-employment sweeping the nation, and Mostafa Shahat writes about them.
During the last decade, social media tools have been built upon sharing others’ news and exchanging information. These tools are now worth billions of dollars, as companies like Google were launched based on the concept of sharing information. Google, after all, started as search engine.
When people started to use Facebook heavily in Egypt in 2010, the social enterprise Bey2ollak means (which means ‘he is telling you’) was launched by five founders – Aly Rafea, Gamal Sadek, Mohamed Rafea, Mostafa El-Beltagui and Yahya Ismail – who realised the power of sharing information.
Entrepreneurs launch social enterprises to meet need and fulfill demand. Bey2ollak is a cross-platform application for people to exchange information about traffic in Egypt, specifically in Cairo and Alexandria. They use the power of crowd-sourcing, social interaction and localisation to help users avoid getting stuck in rush hour.
Traffic jams are a huge issue, specifically in Cairo, which has a population over 20 million. The problem has existed for decades because of the lack of transportation infrastructure and the centralization problem that pushes everyone towards Cairo, as it has all the proper facilities, hospitals, banks, universities, etc.
Traffic jams don’t only waste people’s time, but they also create pollution, block ambulances and kill pedestrians. Before the time of carpooling, Bey2ollak was the only practical solution that 1.3 million people used on a daily basis.
Pre-University, Gamal Sadek went to a summer camp called “id-techcamps” in Stanford, California before enrolling at The Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport (AAST) to earn his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. Gamal worked also as Teacher Assistant at the AAST prior to his military service.
Bey2ollak succeeded the first day it was launched. The big tele-communications companies in Egypt, Vodafone-Egypt, Etisalat and Orange are the current VAS (Value Added Services) partners to Bey2ollak.
‘On 10/10/10, the first day we launched Bey2ollak, we were hoping to have 1,000 users in a month. To our surprise, we got around 6,000 registered users in less than 24 hours of the launch date. There was a huge demand for what we are offering’, says Gamal.
Gamal won many fellowships and international competitions. He is currently an Endeavor fellow, receiving support to grow and expand his company. He and his team won Start with Google competition in 2012 and received an investment worth 200,000 dollars.
He was selected to join the NextGen incubation programme which supports entrepreneurs with resources and opportunities, and he travelled to the US to visit some of the leading IT companies and listen to their stories and challenges.
Gamal’s life is a journey. It started from a simple idea to become one of the most promising and fast growing companies in Egypt.
Article submitted by Mostafa Shahat, the volunteer responsible for Arabic guest bloggers in the MENA region and an entrepreneur who has established one of the most successful youth communities in Egypt, Goal Oriented Learners. Mostafa studied social entrepreneurship in USA and is currently the Middle East & North Africa representative at StudySearch (Nigeria) and the Egypt representative for All Events in City (India). Mostafa is also a reporter at Nudge Sustainability Hub. Email him at [email protected] and check out his other blog A Syrian’s Success in Egypt and more from his Entrepreneurs in Egypt series.
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