Entrepreneurs in Egypt: Mohamed Shahin
Young entrepreneurs in Egypt are part of a new wave of self-employment sweeping the nation, and Mostafa Shahat writes about them.
Centralisation was one of the main issues that Egypt suffered from for a long time. Services and facilities are usually available and accessible in Cairo, but the south part of Egypt, which we call Upper Egypt, is somehow marginalised.
Youth in upper Egypt governorates struggle to find opportunities in their own cities. They have to travel regularly to Cairo to find jobs, training, internships or/and scholarships.
Egypt has almost 2.7 million entrepreneurs, and with just one entrepreneurship ecosystem that is centralised in Cairo, it makes it unfair and very challenging for entrepreneurs who are living in upper Egypt, as they have to double their efforts to get the same opportunities and join the same programmes and training.
Luxor is one of the most ancient governorates in upper Egypt with a history goes back to Pharaonic times. It depends on tourism for its main industry, but after the Egyptian revolution in 2011, the industry has not been as active as it was because of the political and economical situation that the country has been in.
This is the time when entrepreneurship helps young people think of other industries to bring in and starting up new businesses.
Mohamed Shahin is a social entrepreneur who grow up in Luxor and believed that entrepreneurship could help his governorate to flourish again.
When the internet started growing and expanding in Egypt, Mohamed believed that the tourism industry had to be adapted to the new technology. He started the first IT company in Luxor in 2006, calling it Egytrust. It provided IT services like websites, digital marketing services and online reservation systems for hotels.
‘It was not easy to start the company in Luxor’, says Mohamed. ‘The internet has not been used heavily here, and we had to change the culture and convince people to use internet to grow their businesses’.
Egytrust provides their services to more than 1,000 customers in over ten countries in Asia, the Gulf and Europe.
Mohamed suffered from the centralisation problem, and he had to travel to Cairo to find opportunities. The one-way trip takes almost 12 hours by train, and it costs a lot for young people.
That’s why Mohamed has started the Egytrust Academy in 2009. It provides entrepreneurship training programmes, career development, soft skills trainings and language courses.
‘We are developing the skills of youth who will change our governorate for the best with their entrepreneurial ideas and great efforts and capabilities’.
Egytrust has trained more than 10,000 students and delivered more than a hundred trainings per year with a team of about 100 trainers. Egytrust has also organised Startup Weekend, where they hosted 350 entrepreneurs for three days to attend entrepreneurship workshops and work on their projects.
Egytrust, with G.O.L partnership, has also organised two workshops on entrepreneurship and digital marketing to more than 80 entrepreneurs. Additionally, along with the British University in Cairo, it has started awareness campaigns about Luxor heritage and the importance of the tourism industry in Egypt, particularly Luxor.
Egytrust supports student clubs with resources and advising too, as they believe that university students could come up with great initiatives that could be hosted by Egytrust. They are currently supporting ten student clubs in different local universities.
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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