Egypt has one of the fastest growing startup ecosystems in the world and the second largest after the UAE. It is also witnessing a strong entrepreneurship wave, driven by a domestic appetite for technological advancement.
According to recent statistics, more than 73% of Egyptians think entrepreneurship is a good career choice, and a total of 46% of Egypt’s adult population is able to recognize good market opportunities for new businesses, perhaps suggesting that more people have the capability and knowledge to become entrepreneurs.
The startup scene in Egypt is also highly impacted by the quick pace in technology adoption we are witnessing, which is evident in the entrancement of new ventures and the transformation of existing businesses. We are also leveraging novel digital technologies in new ways, such as block chain, AI, social, mobile, analytics, cloud and cyber-solutions, all in order to adapt the traditional way of creating and doing business to the digital era.
Over the past decade, international tech companies have been increasingly working with many Egyptian startups, such as IBM (International Business Machines Corporation).
IBM Egypt is currently working with multiple initiatives targeting developers, including hackathons, meet ups and workshops, in partnership with local incubators, universities and partners, providing Egyptian developers with access to IBM’s Cloud and AI platforms.
IBM Egypt is also hosting the Middle East and Africa Digital Sales Center, which is designed to transform the way IBM digitally engages with its ecosystem, including clients, business partners, academia, developers and startups across 70 countries in the region.
Since startups are tech-inclined in building their business models, IBM has partnered with several incubators and reached hundreds of startups offering tech solutions. IBM has also partnered with Nile University’s NUTechSpace. More recently, IBM signed a MOU with RiseUp Summit to reach more startups at the Greek Campus. This is in addition to another partnership with Falak Startups.
IBM and Egypt’s Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) are also partnering under a common vision to support the growth of the local entrepreneurship ecosystem.
According to Ahmed Dwidar, IBM Cloud & Cognitive Software Technical Leader at IBM, Egypt has always been a hub for young talents. He adds that the startup scene is rapidly growing with many entrepreneurs and business-minded youngsters increasingly surfacing to the scene. Moreover, Egyptian startups are now maturing into the next phase of the business cycle, with companies in their third or fourth year requiring investments surpassing US$2 million. However, in comparison to regional and international benchmarks, there is still much room for growth, Dwidar says.
“IBM is committed to helping technology startups realize their goals on their own terms and in the shortest amount of time,” Dwidar tells Business Today Egypt. He adds that as IBM is working closely with more startups, new ideas and new services will be added to the IBM Cloud platform to help startups reach their Time to Value faster.
“We help startups, not just by offering technology credits and technical activities but also by remaining supportive for their inter-social interactions by providing a healthy climate for startups to share their thoughts, ideas and how they can help one another. This kind of exposure and growth mindset will empower startups become more innovative and strengthen their brand and idea,” Dwidar says.
For example, Fawateerk, a strartup incubated by NUTech Space, has been mentored and enabled by IBM’s DevEX team to utilize IBM Cloud. Soon after, Fawateerk was able to build a cognitive chatbot for their website using IBM’s Watson AI service. Two other growing startups supported by IBM are Badgewell, a digital badging and business solutions company; and Bypa-ss, an Egyptian healthcare IT company.