Entrepreneurs in Egypt: Yomna AbouOmar
Young entrepreneurs in Egypt are part of a new wave of self-employment sweeping the nation, and Mostafa Shahat writes about them.
The Arab Spring not only changed the political situations in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, but it also shaped economies and people’s mindsets about starting businesses. Countries in the region have seen the growth of entrepreneurial ecosystems with accelerators, incubators, angles investors, and venture capitalists.
Yomna AbouOmar is one of the pioneers actively involved in building Egypt’s entrepreneurial ecosystem through teaching Entrepreneurship & Innovation at The German University in Cairo (GUC) and developing entrepreneurial initiatives that have helped many launch and run their businesses successfully.
In 2009, Yomna earned her bachelor’s degree in Innovation Technology and Finance and master’s degree in Entrepreneurship & Innovation Management from the GUC. She was also selected as Teacher Assistant to teach Entrepreneurship, Product and Process Innovation and Research Methodology for undergraduates.
Yomna was born and raised in an entrepreneurial family. Her father ran his own company in the plastics industry, and his main partners were in Germany. Yomna worked in her father’s company as Business Development Manager where she was responsible for partnerships agreements and scaling up the business.
‘Back in 2005, I was calling my father a businessman, but after the entrepreneurship revolution, I am calling him an entrepreneur. Little did I know’, says Yomna.
Yomna’s first initiative was co-founding the first university incubation program at the GUC called the Imagine S2E entrepreneurship programme. The programme incubates project ideas, turning them into successful companies by providing mentorship, coaching and business-training sessions. In its first years, the programme received more than 400 ideas and currently has 12 successful start-ups to its name, some of which are working with multinational companies.
‘Despite the challenges that my team and I faced to establish the first university incubation program at the GUC, I feel very grateful for each bump that led to helping entrepreneurs to action their ideas and launch great companies’, says Yomna.
Yomna’s passion is entrepreneurship. With her entrepreneurial capabilities, she succeeded in co-founding another great company named Startology that helps entrepreneurs to overcome economic challenges in the region.
The company’s first activity was publishing an entrepreneurship book called ‘Entrepreneurship in Egypt: from Evolution to Revolution’, which describes the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Egypt and entrepreneurs’ current challenges, sharing some practical solutions for Egyptian entrepreneurs to grow and expand their businesses.
Yomna co-authored the first edition of the book, which includes interviews with investors and entrepreneurs who shared their thoughts about the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Egypt. She has been part of several major entrepreneurial events, coached more than 50 young start-ups and supervised more than 200 business plans.
Yomna has added a new proficiency to her set of skills by becoming a certified Design Thinking Coach from a prestigious company in Berlin, Germany. She is also currently pursuing her PhD at The Philipps University of Marburg, focussing on Strategic Management and Innovation technology as well as entrepreneurship.
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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