Entrepreneurs in Egypt: Characteristics, most famous, Post revolution
Your kids turns to you and says that they want to be an entrepreneur when they grow up, of course, you have to carefully choose your reaction because it can and probably will haunt you for the rest of your life.
First, before even deciding to have a kid, one cannot live in our modern era without at least having the basic knowledge about its viral terminologies. “Entrepreneur” is one of those.
Entrepreneur means “adventurer” in French, so the term is not that new it’s just used to give you a more in-depth description of a type of business person.
What makes an Entrepreneur
This is one of the most arguable opinions that people talk about these days.
What makes someone an entrepreneur? Is it something you are born with? or is it something you learn?
The discussion can go on for hours, but there are some characteristics that most of the people agree that an entrepreneur should have, so whether you are born with them or you work on yourself to have them, you are an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs are known to be risk-takers, it’s literally in the definition.
Because sure everyone has an idea for a business they would like to make it happen, but an entrepreneur is willing to take risks for his ideas to come to life.
If you’re taking risks, then you must be confident, and confident here is not just about your appearance or social skills, it’s also about your idea and the passion that drives you every day and gives you purpose.
A passionate person is often very energetic and hyperactive.
And that is not only acceptable, but in some cases essential.
You’re not gonna find open doors everywhere you go with rich people offering you financial aid or even tips and tricks on how to run your business.
You have to be willing to do the dirty work and apply your vision to your business, at least to know for sure that you have it in you to run a successful company one day.
And that takes a lot of energy so it’s better if it’s passion-driven.
Workaholics exist everywhere and most of them are working hard for companies, not of their own, so if you’re not working hard for your own company and your own ideas then why are you even trying?
Some entrepreneurs are passion-driven, but others are just problem-solvers, because we’re all consumers at the end of the day and when an entrepreneur sees something they don’t like.
They work hard to solve it.
Some believe that you have to be charismatic as an entrepreneur, which is true to an extent.
If you’re running a business one day it means that you’re going to be a leader.
And let’s just say that it helps if you’re a charismatic leader, no one is saying that if you’re not charismatic you’re not going to be a leader, but it’s one of the things that make your job easier.
We’re all human after all.
Innovative is one of the most important characteristics of them all, you want to bring something new to the market, you want to have an impact on your generation, you want to inspire, and leave the world a better place than you started.
And with innovation in mind you don’t have to wander around in the world looking for something new to offer, with entrepreneurs the idea comes first then the means second.
Everyone has an idea for something that they think it’s going to make a difference and most importantly can grow one day.
The means come after you’ve already settled for the idea.
Entrepreneurship in Egypt
According to The Washington Times
“Egypt’s core asset and the main engine of growth is its youth. Its total population of more than 92 million is characterized by a demographic youth bulge, with a young median age of 23.8 years, compared to 37.9 in the United States and 46.8 in Germany.”
What investors see in Egypt is an opportunity, not every country has the advantage of a majority of youth in their demographics.
With that said, it’s no surprise that the Egyptian government is now more appreciative than ever to the youth and what they bring to the market and the economic advantage behind their innovative projects.
Surely it’s good news to the government, but for the aspiring entrepreneurs out there it means that the bar is set high for the competition.
Especially since young people are known for wanting to stand out and fight for their own ideas.
The good news is with the large number of fellow entrepreneurs you also get a large amount of labor, and for startups, labor can be an essential asset only if they share the amount of passion for your ideas.
And here is where you can actually distinguish successful entrepreneurs from the “wannabe”s that only desire to be their own boss out of laziness.
Being able to convince a bunch of people to fight for your project and putting in the extra hours of work is a key characteristic of an entrepreneur, keeping in mind that the capital is sort of limited because again, you’re still a startup.
Fortunately, Egyptian entrepreneurs have proven themselves worthy of the title and were able to stand out in the intimidating world of entrepreneurs.
And for that, it’s safe to say it was them that brought the government’s attention to the importance of entrepreneurship in Egypt and what they can accomplish if given the proper funding.
Egyptian culture is all for tradition in a way that we cherish our old school business models for the sole belief that elders know best, due to that belief, our business industry suffered immensely for a time and was saved by our heroic entrepreneurs.
Changing the way things work in a middle-eastern country takes courage and ground-breaking confidence.
Our new generations are fortunately egomaniacs.
As an entrepreneur, especially in Egypt, ego gives you an advantage.
Passion-driven, ready to change the game, the new wave of fresh young blood is given us an overwhelming content of story-telling.
It’s only fair to acknowledge their contribution to the once change-resistant industry.
Famous Egyptian Entrepreneurs
If we were making an entrepreneur hall of fame, these names will be first on the list to come claim their star.
Those rising stars made it to Forbes’ 30 under 30.
The 23-year-old built a technology vastly recognized by the US universities giant such as MIT and Harvard along with Software giants like Microsoft and Intel.
VOUND is the world’s first hearing-aid technology enabling deaf community to visualize surrounding sounds through augmented reality.
The technology converts sound waves into visual forms like images and words, providing a risk-free solution for the healthcare industry with no side effects whatsoever.
His algorithm was recognized by Forbes as a “Technological Breakthrough“.
Mostafa Kandil, Mahmoud Nouh, Ahmed Sabah
The trio’s career path is what dreams are made of.
They interned at Schlumberger Egypt, Google AdCamp, Rocket Internet’s e-commerce zeal, and Sawari Ventures.
With that in their CVs, the next step was becoming Otlob’s head of operations, and then Careem’s market launcher.
They then co-founded the famous SWVL bus-booking app that encountered a lot of success for their affordable, accessible services.
In 2014, he launched Uber‘s first official office in Egypt bringing of the biggest franchises to millions of Egyptian riders to our day, also helped to create jobs for the potential, trusted drivers with better pay than our Taxi business.
The young franchisee managed to get sponsorships to the company that helped make it more recognizable for those who lacked the awareness for its importance in other countries.
One of the biggest sponsorships Uber Egypt has is Al Ahly Football club.
They now also have Mohamed Salah as their brand’s Sports Ambassador.
Mostafa Amin and Mohamed Khairat
Co-founders of the media organization “Egyptian Streets” that started one year after the revolution with the sole purpose of story-telling, talk about perfect timing.
What’s better than roaming in the streets of Egypt in a time where people literally fought to be heard.
You can count on an Egyptian to provide you with enough content to write a book in a 2-hour interview.
Taking advantage of Egypt’s most valuable asset; cotton, Rami along with Mackenzie Yeates, and Ben Sehl co-founded “Kotn” combining quality with fashionable designs and creating fashionable, affordable must-have in every closet.
The company is Toronto-based, but everything is manufactured in Egypt.
Moving onto the Science field, 29 year old Assem is the youngest Master Inventor in IBM history.
The title he earned in 2015 for publishing several papers in top-tier conferences and got more than 35 patents filed in different domains related to smart cities and artificial intelligence.
Becoming an entrepreneur does not always mean starting a multi-million peso company; sometimes it could be as simple as starting a business in the garage of your parents’ house.
This is just what Mostafa Hemdan did to start up Recyclobekia, an electronic waste recycling company that now sells around 360 tons of e-waste per year.
Hemdan recycles about 70 percent of electronic waste in Egypt and has expanded to the UAE.
If you look closely, most of the startups and entrepreneurs started operating after 25 of January 2011.
And this goes back to many reasons.
One is that during the days of Mubarak most of the companies were state-owned, so there wasn’t any room for the young ambitious to express themselves and their vision through startups.
Another reason that goes back to the moral side, without getting political but the revolution in some ways made people feel heard, so the sense of neglect Egyptians felt before the revolution brought desperation with it.
Whether you agree with the revolution or not, you have to admit that it made the feeling that young people have no voice nor power is no longer the case.
This being the case, being overlooked is no longer an excuse, pre-graduates finally have the permission to dream big without feeling like you’re delusional.
The revolution also opened the door for story-telling, people felt that they had a voice so it was finally time that people offered to listen, not out of charity but those who work in that industry are very appreciative of what you can learn.
Egyptian entrepreneurs have made a name for themselves all over the world in every industry there is. From technology to story-telling to finance to healthcare.
Whether it’s pre or post-revolution, the country once-called a dead-end is now competing heavily all over the world, Egyptians have shown that they’re not a force to be reckoned with and that they have it in them to change the rules and shuffle the system.
Things are not as they used to be, everyone now has room to create and to speak out loud.
The groundbreaking achievements are more than enough to make your voice heard in this country.
And by making your voice heard I mean to be in control of your own destiny, to prove that your vision for the once so unclear future of the country economically is actually worth looking into.
A huge part of why people choose to be entrepreneurs is about making an impact, not just on the market or on the change-resistant corporate laws.
But also an impact on people’s lives as consumers, vicious readers, healthcare industry, and young people desperate for a success story they can relate to.
That is one of the things that makes entrepreneurs very important, aided by the internet and social media, they all just began as ambitious pre-graduates waiting for the right opportunity.
Reading how they made their dreams into a reality is more inspiring than reading about the success story of Mark Zuckerberg for example because simply being Egyptian, young, ambitious makes you immediately more ambitious.
Another impact entrepreneurs have is that the made it easier for the upcoming generation to do their own thing, they don’t have to start from the beginning and knock on doors to be heard.
You get to start at the beginning of the line and do your best to finish the race to show them what you’ve got.