With Cairo and Alexandria being the key focal points of entrepreneurship stakeholders, startups in other governorates have been biding their time on the off-chance that a good opportunity may cross their paths.
In recent years, however, there have been multiple initiatives paying attention to the chained potential of entrepreneurs in other governorates in Egypt. One of these initiatives is “Khaleeha Suessi,” organized by Arabian Cement Company (ACC) in collaboration and partnership with early-stage social enterprise incubator Nahdet El Mahrousa (NM).
The program, focusing on the Suez governorate, has already graduated two cycles of startups, the most recent of which was earlier this month. After 135 hours of training and consulting 150 projects, Khaleeha Suessi awarded seven startups from the governorate up to LE120,000 each. Most of them are focused on helping and solving problems of the people living in Suez, adding to the development of local communities. Here are the seven winners:
- Art House, an art and culture hub for the people of Suez.
- Zoro’a, a sustainable agriculture project offering organic food.
- Ecosolar, a producer of fresh water using innovative solar power techniques.
- Heart Made, a t-shirt production unit that trains and employs women supporting their families.
- Baraka, a startup that produces fertilizers from organic waste.
- Dawana, a mobile application offering a local medicine and pharmacy data base for the people of Suez.
- Family Care, a center offering medical and psychological care services to women and children of Suez.
The ecosystem of Suez
In a previous visit to Suez governorate, and as entrepreneurs were chatting with Business Forward on the entrepreneurial landscape in Suez, the majority of them agreed that their governorate is entrepreneurial by nature but lacks the needed mentoring and attention from incubators and investors alike.
In response to Business Forward during the conference, managing director of NM Jackie Kameel said that youths outside Cairo are more appreciative of the chances they get due to the scarcity of support and opportunities.
“The ideas are not only limited to Cairo, but only a few initiatives decide to get out of the city and explore potential outside of it,” Kameel pointed out, adding that youth in Suez are persistent in offering real solutions. She went on to call on the private sector to adopt the same approach in order to achieve inclusive economic growth in Egypt.
In a press statement, CEO of ACC Sergio Alcantarilla said: “Based on our experience from the first round, we saw the need to commission a business opportunity mapping; to identify the most important sectors to focus on for this round, making the winning projects more relevant and sustainable.”
To date, Khaleeha Suessi has graduated 14 startups in total.
Hesham Wahby, CEO of Innoventures incubator, previously told Business Forward that the interesting feature of the Canal cities, including Suez, is that they are part of a global market that pertains to the transportation and petroleum sectors.
“There is potentially a lot of development and money that will be placed in the Canal area, but the resources and money should be used in a good way,” Wahby had said.