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Egypt's First Government-Led Accelerator Just Launched, and it Has a Startup Tour Bus

Fekretak Sherketak, led by Egypt's Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation, is the country's newest part of its plan to support its booming entrepreneurship economy.

The Cairo Marriott was bustling with activity this morning as the nation’s most prominent investors, businesspeople and entrepreneurs gathered to hear Egypt's Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, Dr. Sahar Nasr, unveil some much anticipated news: Egypt is launching its first government-led accelerator programme. Nasr revealed that Egypt’s MIIC has partnered with leading financier EFG Hermes and the UNDP to launch the initiative, which sets off to catalyse the country’s growing entrepreneurial scene: Fekretak Sherketak.

The new effort is using multiple channels to mobilise young changemakers, from legal and regulatory change to direct mentorship and training of Egypt’s innovators. The Ministry outlined its new strategy to strengthen the nation’s economy through four pillars of business development: accelerators, funding, a startup services platform, and new regulatory reform. This includes a new four-month long accelerator and mentorship programme and seed funding of up to EGP 500,000 ($28,300) for qualified startups, for a 4-8 percent equity stake in the business. One of the most exciting aspects of this new plan in action is the Sherketak Bus, a startup tour bus set to roam across Egypt, meeting the country’s most promising entrepreneurs.

Qualifying startups will compete for placement in the selective four-month accelerator, which will mentor its participants and connect them to valuable business resources such as legal services, commercial support, training, access to investors, and a co-working space. The programme has two tracks: a FinTech arm, led in partnership with EFG Hermes, and a Social Impact program, supported by the UNDP with a focus on companies supporting the UN’s Social Development Goals through commercially viable means.

“Supporting the growth of startups to compete globally is a key driver of economic growth and job creation and we recognized that gap in seed financing in Egypt,” said Dr. Nasr of the the financial facet of the Egypt Entrepreneurship Programme. “Fekretak Sherketak will harvest new and innovative ideas and our programme will help, support, and nurture entrepreneurs and startups to hit the ground running.”

Fekretak Sherketak is financed through the support of Egypt Ventures, an investment company worth upwards of $25 million.This is the second activity funded by the financier - a subsidiary of the MIIC - the first being a $1.12 million commitment to Cairo’s most prominent startup accelerator, Flat6Labs this July.

“Anyone can participate in Fekretak Sherketak. All they need is a viable business concept and a founding team that can demonstrate a complementary set of skills to transform their idea into a revenue-generating business,” said Dr. Shehab Marzban, Senior Advisor to the Minister and Chairman of Egypt Ventures.

Applications are open until September 30th through this link.

Main photo: Hisham Moll.

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