StartEgypt's Programme Manager Ragia Amr gave Startup Scene a tour around their new office and how they're supporting their 30 social startups.
Surrounded by walls painted in white and yellow, and on a ground furnished with artificial grass, five social startups stepped up on August 13th and presented their ideas before the audience which included British Ambassador in Egypt John Casson and Flat6Lab's co-founder Ahmed El Alfi, celebrating StartEgypt's new office launch in Giza.
StartEgypt accepts startups from the very early idea stage, on a condition to have a social impact. "We look at certain sectors such as agriculture, education, financial inclusion, marginalised communities, transportation," StartEgypt's Programme Manager Ragia Amr tells Startup Scene. "We got over 1,500 applications in the previous cycle, we filtered them out to 30 startups, and admit them into our incubation programme." It's a five-month programme, with sessions twice a week. Throughout the five months, the startups form their ideas and graduate with a solid business model.
The first to get on stage was Ibrahim Fathy to present the idea and urgency behind his startup "Rasseeny." The presentation started with people taking off jackets while they express their frustration for not being employed in their fields of academia and specialty. Rasseeny aspires to be an online platform that provides seniors and fresh school graduates with guidance through the college application projects.
Next is MedEx, a pharmaceutical startup that finds a need to reduce operating expenses to provide profits for the pharmacy. MedEx wants to provide pharmacists with a tool to get rid of excess medicine before it reaches expiry date to accelerate the capital cycle and to avoid expiry losses.
Other than being handicapped herself, Rasha Arnest has worked as a journalist covering disability affairs for 10 years. Inspired by her experience, Arnest and her colleagues, Wael Hammam and Walid Elsabagh have launched their startup: iHelp, a mobile app that maps out areas with most and least accessibility, notifying users where to take care and providing them with a hand with their mobility struggles in Egypt. Hammam is a web and mobile app expert, network expert mechanical engineer, and data analyst. Meanwhile, Elsabagh is a PMP certified software engineer who has worked at the Siemens affiliate Mentor Graphics for 12 years. He now works as a project manager, planning and monitoring specialist at the National Council for Disability Affairs.
After iHelp, MedEx, and Rasseeny, we got introduced to a couple of startups that are involved with food production. The first is "Dairy House;" as the name suggests, it's a startup that revives the ancient job of milkmen and places it into a more modern and digital frame. Dairy House aspires have fresh and organic dairy products - be it food or beverage - to the customer'd doorstep.
Last but not least, VWaste is a startup that is involved with food waste management. Demonstrating his idea on an orange's skin, Diaa Adham aims to collect over 100 tonnes of orange waste left at factories and often end up in landfills waiting for combustion, leading to significant carbon footprint. VWaste, which is an acronym for "Valuable Waste" wants to collect this abandoned waste and transform them into into market-valued products through eco-friendly recycling.
Although all the ideas presented reflect on the social entrepreneurs' good intentions, there needs to be a strategy for monetisation unless the startups intend on evolving into a non-profit organisation in the future. "We [at StartEgypt] don't give [the startups] money, we give them pure training about all the basic stuff; marketing, budgeting, how to write a financial statement, how to grow your business, how to approach investors and secure funds," the programme manager explains. "We get lots of applications from rural areas and faraway governorates; lots of whom don't know how to register their startups and handle all the legal matters, so we also provide mentorship in this area."
Main Image: Ragia Amr, StartEgypt's programme manager.
All photos courtesy of #Mo4Productions.
Photographer: Eslam Mohamed
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