A delegation of Egyptian entrepreneurs, academics, and government representatives participated in last week’s third annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), jointly hosted by the U.A.E. and United States (U.S.) governments.
Since President Obama elevated entrepreneurship as a critical component of U.S. global engagement, the U.S. Government has worked to help channel the creativity, innovation, and potential of millions of individuals around the world to create economic opportunity. Much of this activity has focused on encouraging the entrepreneurial energy and talent found in the Middle East and North Africa where recent democratic transitions have highlighted citizens’ desire for greater economic opportunity. The Global Entrepreneurship Summit is the leading U.S. government-supported forum for promoting economic growth in the region through entrepreneurship.
“Nothing creates new opportunities like entrepreneurship. Here in the Middle East, unemployment numbers are already too high, particularly among young people,” stated U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides in his remarks at the Summit. “It will take 50 to 100 million new jobs over the next 8 years just to keep unemployment from rising any higher. We can’t hold the line on youth unemployment, much less improve it, without a laser-sharp focus on entrepreneurship.”
This year’s Summit brought together a diverse range of policymakers, business people, and innovators to help entrepreneurs compete and thrive in today’s economy. The Egyptian delegation, sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in collaboration with the Department of State’s Global Entrepreneurship Program (GEP), networked with their public and private sector counterparts from the region and around the world to stimulate entrepreneurship, private-sector job creation, and financing in Egypt.
The Egyptian delegation included two start-up firms, Noon and Hire Droid, both of which participated in the USAID-sponsored Cairo Startup Cup Competition last year, which provided intensive mentoring and coaching for early stage firms. Noon, founded by two women entrepreneurs, designs and produces car accessories. Hire Droid developed a human resource management system specifically designed for Gulf-region businesses that hire foreign workers.
During the past year, USAID has led a wide range of activities supporting promising young Egyptian entrepreneurs to start and grow new businesses, including start-up competitions, awareness events, and mentoring opportunities for more than 300 teams of promising entrepreneurs. Through these efforts, 35 high-growth-potential companies have started, generating approximately 200 new jobs. Eight of these new companies are owned by women. The program has also facilitated three angel investor deals worth a total of US$400,000.