As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cripples people's movements, some Egyptian startups and companies took it upon themselves to help the country's citizens in each aspect of their daily lives. The ultimate purpose? To facilitate the "stay at home" phase, which is advised by experts to help flatten the curve of the number of people infected with the virus.
With innovative solutions, discounts and promo codes, and free services, the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the country is attempting to navigate the uncertainty of the future.
1. A "Corona Hackathon" to find timely solutions
StartEgypt, an incubator powered by Flat6Labs, announced a "Corona Hackathon" in partnership with the Egyptian Red Crescent, Yomken, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the British Embassy in Cairo.
Since brainstorming isn't really meant to be a task for one person, the event was created to gather Egypt's innovators, entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers, and product designers to come up with solutions to three timely challenges faced by society today: safe public transport, empowering day-laborers, and safe banknotes.
The best ideas will win a symbolic award of up to 10,000 Egyptian pounds ($635).
Applications are now closed; the winning ideas will be announced on April 5.
2. Promoting remote-work job opportunities
With more employees being sent home to work in a bid to avoid human contact at offices, online recruitment platform Forasna (meaning "Our Opportunities") is launching a new filter on its website for remote-work jobs.
This way, employers who need people to do the job without physically being present on site and employees who've been made redundant, fired, or have too many unpaid leaves on their hands can now help each other out. The move is free of charge for companies enlisting such opportunities on the website.
Forasna is also collaborating with Almentor.net, a platform for online courses, to provide Egyptians looking to learn new skills from home with free online courses through a 100-percent discounted promo code, "Forasna-19".
3. Free-of-charge body transformation programs
"Your coach in your pocket" is the slogan of Arabic fitness and nutrition app ElCoach, which has decided to offer its 30-day premium subscription plan for free. The latter includes workout classes, nutrition plans, and connections to personal trainers and nutrition specialists.
Users can access AI-powered fitness programs that are designed by local coaches as well as nutrition plans prepared by local chefs by using the promo code "StaySafe".
The app has more than 50,000 monthly active users and has helped so far around 6,000 people get in shape through its personalized body transformation programs.
4. Free medical consultations
With a pandemic at hand, healthcare professionals are going the extra mile by offering their services for free and online.
Vezeeta, a digital healthcare booking platform, launched its telehealth consultations in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan to ensure the health and well-being of its patients remain uncompromised amid the current global healthcare crisis.
With a free "Call-Back" feature available on the app and website, users can consult with doctors instantaneously. Individuals can also search for doctors by specialty, book a consultation, as well as rate and review their telehealth experience. They will also receive directions to refer to a hospital or medical center if needed.
5. "Work from Home" kit and discounts
Homzmart, an end-to-end online furniture shopping platform, has launched a section for employees working from home who want to boost their productivity by having a comfortable setting.
The furniture items include desks, chairs, and lighting units with discounts up to 30 percent.
The website also provides customers with professional home designers' expertise, products, and ideas to furnish their homes.
6. Car sanitization services at home
As sanitization and disinfection have become top priorities during the COVID-19 pandemic, Turbo One, the first digital marketplace for automotive services in Egypt, is offering cleaning and sanitization services for cars at the convenience of their customers' homes.
For those using their vehicles during these times yet want to make sure their health isn't jeopardized, the company is offering at-home car sanitization services. Users can order the latter via Turbo One's app or hotline and will have fully equipped professionals at their doorsteps.
7. Contactless and cashless payments
Contactless and cashless payments aren't yet the most popular in the region, but they're getting there.
Fintech startup eddyPay, a mobile application that allows businesses to receive payments using their mobile phones, is reducing the transaction fee on any payment through its application to 2 percent instead of 2.5 percent. The startup aims to encourage contactless and cashless payments for safer transactions.