Entrepreneurs in Egypt: Moataz Kotb
Young entrepreneurs in Egypt are part of a new wave of self-employment sweeping the nation, and Mostafa Shahat writes about them.
Egypt is a developing country, and our communities face real issues. The way some leaders tried to solve these community’s problems is now called ‘social entrepreneurship’.
Back in 2004, Moataz Kotb was student at the Faculty of Engineering – Mechanical Department at Ain Shams University. He was one of the few social entrepreneurs and real change-makers at the time when social entrepreneurship was not known in the Middle East and North Africa region.
Since he was student, he founded ACES’s (Annual Conference for Engineering Students) Ain Shams University Chapter, which is annual conference that gathers more than 600 engineering students per year. It offers several career development and soft skills workshops that last three months to prepare students for the job market.
‘The job market requires specific skills that students are not learning at university’, says Moataz.
Moataz and his team designed the workshops after meetings with Human Resources managers in multinational engineering companies, and he has discovered that technical skills are important but not sufficient in preparing the graduated students for the job market.T here are others skills, like personal skills and reporting skills, that HR managers look for.
‘Workshops vary between risk management, presentation skills, negotiation skills, communication skills and teamwork skills and project planning and reporting skills’, says Moataz. ‘Students who attended ACES workshops are now working in multinational companies, and they still remember ACES’s experiences that helped them to stand out from the crowd’.
Moataz founded KEY CDC (Career Development Center), a social enterprise that offers undergraduates an interactive learning experience to enhance the technical, soft and hard skills needed to fulfill the criteria of the job market.
Moataz and his team managed to secure $80,000 for the pilot phase and 7 million EGP for the expansion phase. KEY delivers annual trainings to more than 6,000 students on various career development and soft skills topics with 55 trainers. KEY is already franchised in more than ten universities all over Egypt.
‘We help junior students with assessment so they can know their strengths and weaknesses, then we help them to build their career path’, says Moataz. ‘There are several paid internships and full time job opportunities for students who successfully completed our programme’.
Moataz, after graduating, has decided that being an entrepreneur will be his career. Moataz and his partner founded CultArk, a digital marketing agency that has more than thirteen clients in five different countries in Europe and North African Countries, from USAID, Egyptian ministry of investment, American Chamber of Commerce to the Egyptian Centre for Economic Studies and others. CultArk services vary between creating websites and mobile apps to managing social media channels and providing marketing services consultancies.
‘We started the agency with the Amr Moussa Post-Presidential Campaign digital marketing activities’, says Moataz. ‘Even though he didn’t become president, the campaign has helped the agency become well positioned in the market and added a lot to our portfolio’.
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@example.com and check out his other blog A Syrian’s Success in Egypt and more from his Entrepreneurs in Egypt series.
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