Entrepreneurs in Egypt: Sameh Amin
Young entrepreneurs in Egypt are part of a new wave of self-employment sweeping the nation, and Mostafa Shahat writes about them.
The unemployment rate in Egypt reached 12.8% in 2015 despite government efforts to create jobs for university degree holders between 21 and 30 years old. The effect has not been seen on the ground for several reasons, namely, that young people were not qualified enough for available jobs. They needed more training and coaching.
Alongside the government’s efforts, many recruitment agencies have been launched in Egypt, but all focus on recruiting high-qualified candidates for multinationals in Egypt in order to get high commissions.
In 2007, Sameh Amin, a social entrepreneur and real changemaker, established the first NGO in the MENA region that focuses on recruitment, matching qualified young people with local and international companies in Egypt and ongoing career coaching and counseling. It’s called Yalla Work (meaning ‘let’s work’ in English), and it not only targets university degree holders but high school and associate degree-holders as well.
Sameh graduated from the Faculty of Law at Cairo University in 2006, and he and four other co-founders officially established Yalla Work in 2007. ‘It was totally volunteering work’, said Sameh. ‘We didn’t ask for commission from either the employees or the employers’.
In the last ten years, Yalla Work has recruited more than 10,000 young people, the majority of whom were women, in different jobs, sectors and companies. Yalla Work also built partnerships with more than 2,000 companies in 24 governorates all over Egypt, and they are currently publishing 15,000 job opportunities on their website on a monthly basis.
In 2011, Yalla work with GIZ partnership to organise the first employment fair in the marginalised area of ‘Elmarg’ in the northeast part of Cairo. Over two days, the fair gathered together 25 companies and more than 2,500 job seekers. Five-hundred of them were hired right after the fair. After the success of this first fair, Yalla Work has organised many more employment fairs in marginalised areas all over Egypt.
In 2013, Yalla Work joined the Aspire Women Initiative. Microsoft Egypt has trained 250 women between 20 and 35 years-old in career development topics and placed them in different job opportunities based on their qualifications and experiences.
In 2014, Yalla Work was announced as the official partner for Masr Ta3mal (meaning ‘Egypt Works Initiative’ in English) of Microsoft Egypt, which is responsible for building partnerships with different employers from all over Egypt, receiving requests from job seekers, matching them in the available job opportunities and conducting on-going career counselling and coaching sessions.
Beside Sameh’s great work, he is currently working as a Job Scout Lead at the UNDP Egypt office. Sameh has been invited to different TV shows, like Nile Cultural Channel and Rotana Masriya, and his success story has been published in different local newspapers: Youm7, Akhbarak and Al-Ahram.
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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