In this hyper world of fast information, businesses come and go. Those that come out with innovative ideas dare to fare against the corporate giants of the market.
Unfortunately, not everyone has that groundbreaking idea, but that doesn’t stop millions of ambitious entrepreneurs around the world from starting up their own businesses.
With that risk in mind, this generation saw a massively growing trend of small businesses capitalizing on the global instrument that is the internet.
Several large companies we know today have started small. They once began as ‘Start-ups‘.
- What is a Startup?
- Startups in Egypt
- Startups and the Economy
- Startups and Technology
- Top startups in Egypt
- Startup investors
- Egyptian investment companies for startups
What is a Startup?
There is no easy way to define a start-up as the term is defined differently by different entities that provide financial aid for startups.
One definition is
“A startup is a company designed to grow fast. Being newly founded does not in itself make a company a startup.” Says Paul Graham
Another definition that emphasizes the moral side is
“It stops being a startup when people don’t feel as though what they are doing has impact.” Said Russell D’Souza
There’s a website that ranks startups all over the world, but chooses them based on their own definition which is:
An organization with high innovation competence and strong technological base, which has the faculty of accelerated growth and maintains independence through time. The max lifespan should be of 10 years.
We can go on and on in terms of definitions, it can be complicated to reach a definition that makes everyone happy.
What we can agree on is that the common factor in all definitions is growth.
Another thing we can agree on is that a franchise is not a startup, it may surprise you, but if you start operating in a market with millions is your mother brand’s capital, you are not running a startup company.
Innovation can also be the main factor in your definition, which means that your startup has to bring something new to the market you’re entering.
Startups in Egypt
Egypt is known to be a developing country economic-wise, therefore the term startup has dramatically risen in the last few years.
Which makes sense since the unemployment rate in Egypt is something to discuss and that has probably been discussed daily by the government.
If you are of the vast number of young people that are unemployed in Egypt you have two options, one is that you can cry about how the world is not treating you fairly.
Two, you can find what you’re passionate about, then translate it into a business.
Finding your passion can be a challenge if you’re not ambitious and have a pessimistic take on life. But for those who have big dreams for a successful life, they find it in them to do what it takes to get there.
This is what makes startups very interesting.
It basically tells the story of young entrepreneurs who found creative ways to make money and pay their bills.
Startups and the Economy
Startups are directly linked with the employment rate (one of the major economic problems in Egypt).
Studies have shown that startups can create more jobs for the unemployed than big companies.
This means that by hiring employees in your startup to share your passion for work and what you contribute to society.
You are also giving key solutions to a struggling economy.
By running a startup you should know that not only do you make your living and practice what you love, but also you are contributing to the wealth of your nation in massive amounts.
And that is because startups are added to your country’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product).
So not only you’re raising capital for your company, you’re raising capital for your country.
Startups and Technology
Some people when you mention the word “startup” the first thing that comes to mind is Technology.
That thought is true to some extent, startups do rely on modern technological advances to operate.
That explains why the term Startup is booming now all over the world.
But a misunderstanding is that startup ideas are limited to the tech world, sure technology and the internet plays a huge part in the process and in the daily operations of any startup, but your startup idea can be about anything not just limited to the tech world.
How the internet is an advantage to the business industry is a whole topic to be discussed.
Technology has reshaped the entire process of operating the business to a more fast, easy and efficient one.
Startups being flexible and known for introducing new models to the industry, technology has given them the advantage of shaping the business in a modern way.
Meaning that if an already known big company wants to adopt new technology to operate, it needs to make major costly changes in the company in order to be on track with the fast-changing, technology-driven world.
Startups, on the other hand, have a clean slate to shape their company in the way they want and to be introduced to the world in a respectable way.
Which gives them a constant upper hand in this area even if the money is not good at the moment.
To conclude, technology being an advantage for startups leads to recognition, growth, and success. Which is the whole purpose for a startup; Growth.
Top startups in Egypt
They take the lead here.
It’s an e-commerce website specialized in online shopping, you can find in their website electronics, fashion items, home appliances, and basically anything your heart desires.
They operate in 14 African countries. As you blink right now there’s a transaction being made on Jumia so imagine how many times you blinked reading this article.
They are one of the biggest technical groups in the middle east, they are specialized in computer hardware and video games.
They also have a very useful youtube channel for every tech savy out there.
If you visit Supermama’s website you’ll find it so colorful and cheerful which only makes sense because it’s a mothers-guide to everything a mother needs to know since the day she finds out about her being pregnant till her children are healthy and well.
The content on this website is insanely helpful for the new mothers who want to do everything right.
It’s only the most important job in the world right?
You guessed it right. Wuzzuf is a recruitment website.
They do not just help the Egyptian youth to find jobs, they also help companies that are looking for employees with specific skills.
Wuzzuf made it easier for both parties (employees-employers) and reduced the huge cost and effort spent to advertise for open jobs in newspapers and the even more huge effort by the unemployed to apply for jobs on opposite sides of the country.
It’s a win-win.
The real estate business can be very tricky since everything you buy is expensive and you can easily be scammed.
Aqarmap helps you with one of the biggest decisions of your life.
In Aqarmap you get to choose your convenient real estate from the variety of options and collaborations with real estate companies.
They also help you obtain the information you need to prevent scam.
Fatakat is a blog that in my personal opinion made one of the most recognizable brand names in Egypt.
It’s a lifestyle blog that you can register and ask questions about literally anything in your life.
You can also start an open discussion about an issue of any kind.
You can advertise for your company there in the never-ending blog sections on their website.
So powerful is what should be used to describe this business.
This is a news website that has a reputation to be objective. It’s considered a very reliable source for a lot of people.
When women mention fashion in the middle east first thing that comes to mind is Vogue/Elle/Women magazines.
Fustany.com entered a market of giants and managed to make a name for Arab fashion and Arab women in the world.
They have the latest fashion trends for all styles, including hijabi outfits.
They can teach you about table etiquette if you wanna enter the fancy lifestyle well prepared.
Otlob has made the lives of people a lot easier since us Egyptians are proper foodies, to find a website that has all the food options there is and all the deals you need to not spend your whole salary on sushi was happy news.
You simply just type what kind of meal you’re craving, they list all the restaurants near you that serve that food and give you the best deal you can get.
And it doesn’t end here, you can also place the order online and they deliver on time. They’re a gift from god.
It’s is a place where you can book doctor appointments online. You can also find there very detailed reviews of the doctors you’re looking for so you can get the ultimate top-level experience.
This is another food delivery portal, if you’re lazy you can “shake” your phone for random restaurant suggestions which are very cool.
They also provide pictures of the food you’re going to order with client reviews and price evaluation. It also tells you if the restaurant you want to order from delivers to your area.
Yaoota is a search engine for online shoppers to compare prices of what you like to order, which includes electronics, fashion items, and books.
Forbes called Yaoota the Egyptian version of google shopping in the article published about them. Egyptian excellence in the flesh.
It is an online educational service that provides free lessons to all school curriculum in Egypt and other Arab countries.
If you think about it parents can save a lot of many spent on private lessons by using this device.
It is also very helpful for homeschooled students and those who don’t regularly attend their classes from primary to secondary years in schools.
Wazayef helps you in your job search in Egypt based on your career interests.
This website is designed for e-book lovers and those who struggle to find their favorite author’s books in physical stores.
It has Arabic books in almost all categories and you can download them for free.
Raising capital for your startup can be a challenge.
If your parents are unable to sponsor your startup idea and if you don’t have contacts in the investment industry, the money is going to be an issue.
Unless you are secretly friends with Naguib Sawiris which is doubtful.
Egyptian investors are now awakened to the importance of the talented youth who are sitting at home waiting for their voices to be heard.
And since as discussed, startups have a major role in the economy, it’s in the investors’ best interest to hop on the wave and give their money to winners.
For that to happen you have to know where to look for investors to raise money.
You can’t just go knock on business men’s doors and ask for money.
There are of course National funding programs offered by the government which emphasizes the importance of Egyptian entrepreneurship.
But the government cannot fund every project there is.
Egyptian investment companies for startups
Also known as “Angel investors” or “Private Investors”
Cairo Angels (Tech startups)
Launched in 2011, they have invested in 15 companies mostly tech-based.
The company consists of 80 angels and expecting more.
Also launched in 2011 by Sawari Ventures and AUC, those giants have supported over 220 entrepreneurs and 90 companies and also expanded in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Lebanon and most recently in Tunisia.
The Cairo-based company offers to fund in return for 10-15 percent equity, in addition to the funding, they also offer office space, training, legal support and mentorship services.
KI stands for Khaled Ismail, founder of Sysdsoft and an active player in the Egyptian startup scene.
KI Angels closed a deal with the startup Filkhedma recently.
Menagurus (tech startup)
The company’s investors started with 12 million in capital, with continuous growth and by signing 6 IT startup deals in Egypt and Lebanon, they are starting their own e-commerce company, either in Egypt or Kenya.
To conclude, Egypt is now more inspiring than ever.
For the first time, young entrepreneurs in the making can actually have a good bunch of people to look up to.
Those who made it are working hard to make it easier for others who didn’t yet.
Big investors are enjoying the young ambitious competitors who get up every day searching for something new to offer to the world.
The impact that Entrepreneurs have over young business students is impeccable. So it’s safe to say that the “entrepreneurship day” or other summits that people make are actually making a difference.
This is the start of something big.