Egypt is a market of more than 100 million people and full of opportunities for the trained entrepreneurial eye. Like many developing nations, Egypt seems to have a struggling job market, but many see this as a blessing in disguise
. In a country where millions are looking for jobs, there are also millions who give up on the search and create their own opportunities. This might seem far-fetched, but the reality is that poor people in developing nations are extremely entrepreneurial – probably even more so than in developed countries. Professor Ha-Joon Chang captured this fact in his book, 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism
One of the best decisions in my life was to reject a job offer from a big corporation and embark on an entrepreneurial start-up journey. Indeed, the journey has been tough and there were, and still are, bumpy roads, but the rising entrepreneurial spirit across the country has been extremely uplifting. I have been in the Egyptian entrepreneurial ecosystem for the past few years and I consider myself well connected and quite informed about everything that has been happening. But I can say with confidence that what the country has been seeing in the past few years is very promising and inspires us to do more.
Although, as start-ups, we sometimes struggle as a result of Egypt’s current brain drain
. What I realized, however, is that as Egyptians say, ‘Egypt is a breeder’ (Masr Walada) that is continuously giving birth to new talents. I was recently sitting with a fellow entrepreneur who was studying computer science in Germany and returned to Egypt to work on his start-up. He was worried about finding the right technical talents, but to his surprise, he met and hired a talented 16-year-old from rural Egypt. "This young kid teaches me something new every day", my friend told me. There are many stories like this that we just don’t hear about, but with the growth of incubation programs through public-private partnerships, there will be exciting start-ups coming out of Egypt in the next few years.
I have been working on different startups across different industries. I co-founded Egyptian Streets
in 2013 which is today Egypt's largest independent English news platform. Then I co-founded Wassel
in 2015, a directory for startups in the Middle East in order to connect them with relevant investors from the West. Finally, I moved to the food commerce industry and co-founded Breadfast in 2017. At Breadfast
, we deliver fresh-baked goods every morning to customers' doorsteps through a mobile app.
Believe me when I tell you that Egypt is full of resources
. Education needs to be reformed and improved, and some social aspects need a revamp. But this market is ready for entrepreneurs and is well worth the effort.