Entrepreneurs in Egypt: Hany El-Gamal
Young entrepreneurs in Egypt are part of a new wave of self-employment sweeping the nation, and Mostafa Shahat writes about them.
The technology revolution helped many discover resources and opportunities that eventually helped them realise what to do with their lives. We have seen many professionals who, after spending years in their field of expertise, ended up doing something that they felt was their passion.
One of the explanations for why people change careers is because they have not had the chance to experience a variety of other options early enough due to limited resources and opportunities.
Now resources are much easier to reach. People can educate themselves without the need of going to a university. Many online platforms have been launched during the last couple of years that have helped many discover other fields so they can decide which one they are interested in.
Two decades ago, when the internet and technology weren’t used widely as it is now in the MENA region, parents couldn’t support their children by giving them the chance to truly know what they want to be in the future. They have been raised to believe that being an engineer or doctor are the only positions to shoot for despite the fact that the child might not interested in these fields.
Hany El-Gamal, a social entrepreneur, earned his bachelor’s degree in Engineering from the Cairo University, Egypt. He pursued his master’s degree in communications at the University of Maryland, USA. Hany worked as a Teacher’s Assistant at the University of Maryland, and then he returned to Egypt in early 2004 to work in the business field. He served as sales manager at one of the top telecommunication companies in Egypt.
‘I couldn’t continue working on something that I don’t like. I had the chance to finish my PhD, but I returned to Egypt to continue my search for my passion’, says Hany.
Hany is not only a social entrepreneur but also a social activist. He cares about marginalised areas and underprivileged people. Hany believes that children should have a chance to choose their future, to know what they like the most and to experience things from an early age.
‘I have not been practicing engineering for twelve years now, and I eventually figured out that my passion involves paving the way for others, giving them the chance to achieve their potential, whether for children through education or people in general through the public service field’, says Hany. ‘I am giving my son the chance to experience different fields, so he can choose properly’.
In 2011, Hany co-founded an educational and culture center in a marginalised area with limited resources and opportunities. He and his team are offering a variety of programmes and activities for children and adults.
In 2016, Hany decided to take on another challenge by launching his social enterprise SevenCrafts. Hany and his team help children experience different fields, from art to science to sports, so they can find and pursue their passion and work on their talents early enough to become an expert in their desired field in the future.
‘Children are not taking the chance to experience things until they are adults. They are not given the opportunity to try things out. This will affect their life later’, says Hany. ‘They should take the chance, go through the experiences, face obstacles and learn how to overcome them. This is how they will survive and succeed in the future,’ he adds.
One of the prestigious awards that Hany received for his entrepreneurial ideas was the Mobaderon award (which means ‘initiators’ in English) worth 75 thousand Egyptian pounds. Hany is currently working as a freelance consultant to help those who are running their own enterprises, assisting with operations, marketing and leadership trainings.
Hany’s journey is an excellent example of how important it is to do the things that you want to do. His life is full of lessons learned, and he is happy that he finally pursued his passion.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and check out his other blog A Syrian’s Success in Egypt and more from his Entrepreneurs in Egypt series.
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