The past few years have seen Egypt become an entrepreneurial force to be reckoned with, as a thriving startup scene has emerged, strengthened by great market potential and young, driven and tech-savvy innovators with big ideas.
However, the country was never short of innovators with potential. What did change in recent years was the launch of organizations that have helped get them off the ground. These eight, in particular, have played an important role in shaping the Egyptian startup scene.
The Cairo-based startup accelerator, a member of the Global Accelerator Network, is behind some of Egypt's most successful startups and has been one of the biggest contributors to Egypt's startup ecosystem. Flat6Labs, which provides seed funding, networking opportunities, mentorship and entrepreneurship-focused business training, has helped launch more than 90 companies in MENA during its five years of operation.
These include Egyptian tech startups Instabug, which offers an innovative bug-reporting app for app developers, Pushbots, which offers an innovative push notifications service for app developers, and Nafham, which offers a free, smart online educational platform for school students in Egypt and several other MENA countries.
2. AUC Venture Lab
Egypt's first and MENA's leading university-based incubator allows startups to benefit from the expertise of the American University in Cairo's renowned business school, as well as the university's facilities and resources. The AUC Venture Lab, which focuses on startups aiming to commercialize technologies, provides acceleration, mentorship and business training from AUC faculty and networking opportunities through AUC's professional network.
The incubator has helped launch 46 startups thus far.
3. Nahdet El-Mahrousa
One of Egypt's earliest startup incubators and the first incubator of early-stage social startups in Egypt and MENA, El-Mahrousa works on supporting young social entrepreneurs in Egypt during the ideation phase. The incubator helps entrepreneurs build their social startups from the ground up, providing training for developing and running social projects, as well as a variety of resources.
El-Mahrousa has helped launch more than 40 social enterprises in areas that include youth development, education, employment, health, arts and science. Its social entrepreneurs impact about 50,000 people in Egypt on an annual basis.
4. Injaz Egypt
The non-profit, a member nation of Junior Achievement Worldwide and Young Enterprise Europe, works on empowering Egypt's youth through a variety of educational and entrepreneurship-based programs. These include Injaz Egypt 's "Startup Egypt," which works on transforming innovative university students in Egypt into successful entrepreneurs.
The incubation program provides both mentorship and acceleration to startups, as well as guidance from the initial phase of ideation until launch time. Injaz's incubator has so far helped launch 31 registered companies.
5. Cairo Angels
The investment group has greatly contributed to the progress of Egyptian startups, through individual member and collaborative investments. Cairo Angels, a partner organization of Flat6Labs and Injaz Egypt, collectively makes equity investments ranging from 250,000 to 1 million Egyptian pounds per company.
The group has invested more than 11.5 million Egyptian pounds in more than 15 startups including Instabug and Egyptian tech startup Eventtus, an online planning and networking platform for event organizers and attendees.
6. Endeavor Egypt
Part of the global non-profit Endeavor, the incubator works on catalyzing economic growth through supporting high-impact entrepreneurs, who are able to create profitable companies that employ hundreds and thousands of people and generate millions in wages and revenues.
Endeavor Egypt selects high-impact entrepreneurs and accelerates their projects, while providing them with mentorship and business training. It has helped more than 48 high-impact companies during its six years of operation.
7. Rise Up Egypt
Rise Up annually organizes Cairo Rise Up Summit, MENA's top entrepreneurship event. Over the past few years, the summit has helped connect hundreds of startups and entrepreneurs to important resources, as well as helped connect them to stakeholders.
The event, which includes a variety of inspirational speeches by international speakers, has greatly contributed to the development of the startup ecosystem in Egypt and Cairo's status as one of the leading innovation hubs in MENA.
8. The Greek Campus
Located in the heart of Downtown Cairo, The Greek Campus is the capital's first technology and innovation park. In addition to offering office spaces for tech startups and entrepreneurs, it hosts major entrepreneurship conferences and events including Rise Up Summit, tech seminars and a variety of art exhibitions and concerts.
The Campus has become one of the most significant innovation hubs in Cairo, as well as one of the most significant cultural hubs, helping connect innovators from all sides of the spectrum.