As Injaz Egypt kicked off their 2018 edition of their Company Competition at Cairo's The Greek Campus, we unveil the 9 teams pitching their ideas on stage.
It's a bright morning and The Greek Campus - Cairo's tech valley, built upon the memories of both the Greek School and the American University of Cairo - looks as colourful as ever. The patio is filled with students, eager to take to the stage to pitch the companies they have spent a record two and a half months building. On the platform leading to the Greek Campus' library building, a series of booths dotted with stickers, cushions, bikes, car seats, green plant pots and even a wheelchair are lined up.
The teams are as big as they are driven: consisting sometimes of 35 participants, the teams hail from seven Egyptian private universities: Cairo American College, the American International School, Nefertari International School, British International School in Cairo (BISC), El Alsson American International School, Malvern College, Narmer American College, and the Integrated Thebes American College in Cairo (ITACC).
The Company Programme, run for the 12th year by Junior Achievement (Injaz Egypt), the programme simulates real business experience and enriches students with entrepreneurial skills, through a semester-long series of training and mentorship sessions, closing with a competition that will see the winner compete at the regional finals.
As we head towards the Library Building (an idea-hub of sorts, where former students used to peruse over books and now youth craft new concepts to change the world), each team showcases their product: from portable trays for busy commuters, to smart laptop bags for students to reduce paper consumption, to portable chargers utilising kinetic energy. Here's the 9 unstoppable teams:
Azwa2's premise is simple: everyone should be able to customise their PopSocket. Utilising plastic phone holders (also known as pop sockets), the startup creates designs based on the user's preference, be it slogans, images or emojis. The startup, created by students from the American International School of Egypt (AIS), focuses on the Millennial generation, while attempting to place the focus on plastic consumption: through a partnership with recycling company Bekia, the startup collects used plastic to be recycled.
2. Cloud 9
Cloud 9 is a company that creates convertible pillow-blankets; that is, a pillow that holds a blanket inside. Spearheaded by an impressive team of 35 students from the Nefertari International School, the company aims to provide comfort, no matter where users be.
"We put the flair in flannel," the entrepreneurs say. Having wowed the audience - quite ironically, since they are called 'W9W' the startup sells printed t-shirts with QR codes that offer entertainment related to the t-shirt's motive. From musical video clips, to football recaps from Mohamed Salah, the startup offers a very creative mix of fashion and tech.
The most sustainable and eco-friendly company of the competition, Roots is a startup that sells fresh herbal plants grown organically. "The message behind our product is that people should come back to their origins and take care of nature to have a cleaner and healthier environment," the entrepreneurs - who hail from El Alsson school - say. Having grown the organic products in makeshift greenhouses, these young entrepreneurs set off to sell them not only to consumers but also distributors.
Illuminate's cutting-edge holographic lamps are not only appealing due to their distinctive character: the company's structure, reflected in the four main colours the lamp comes in, embodies four different natural elements (Fire, Water, Wind, and Earth), which in turn serve four different causes in the form of donations. "Each quarter, we pick the colour we sold the most, and donate to the charity representing that natural element," they explain.
With a strikingly powerful marketing strategy and four different iterations of the product, Nomad creates a car-friendly table for commuters to make productive use of their time in Egypt - where traffic causes a loss of 4 percent of its GDP, according to the World Bank. The company was created by students from the Cairo American College, and won the marketing prize at the competition.
More, the company that took home the Company of the Year prize, creates locally-manufactured laptop cases for students and professionals. The company was created by students from the Cairo American College, has sold an impressive amount of cases, and has already closed sales with corporate clients.
8. Pillow Talk
Spearheaded by students from the British International School in Cairo, the company impressed the audience with both their branding and product. Their "lap desk," built on wood and fabric, is a workstation with a padded cushion underbelly, which also contains a neck pillow for travellers.
With an impressive stand and a thorough knowledge on energy, the impressive team behind Genergy created a portable generator that users can place in their bicycles, gym equipment, and even wheelchairs, to charge their phone batteries. Offering clean and renewable energy, the device uses kinetic energy to replace the use of electricity with a more sustainable source of energy, particularly in rural areas, where access to electricity is often not granted.
Photography by: @MO4Network's #MO4Productions.
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