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Meet 20 Speakers Taking The Creative Track By Storm At RiseUp Summit 2018

Creativity is a complicated business. That's why this year, RiseUp Summit has curated an extraordinary group of inspirational and innovative creative entrepreneurs to engage in a thought-provoking conversation about the good, the bad and the transformative of this multi-faceted industry...

Staff Writer

As the sixth edition of RiseUp Summit inches closer (December 7th to 9th!), hundreds of startups and investors among other key-players in both local and global ecosystems are rolling up their sleeves. Taking place in Downtown Cairo’s monumental Greek Campus, Egypt’s most anticipated entrepreneurial summit is split into three main tracks; Capital, Tech, and Creative.

The creative scene in the country’s startup landscape is always on the move; traveling domestically and internationally to give talks, collect awards, and snag investments. This year, RiseUp Summit is giving thousands of its attendees the opportunity to listen to the 1-billion-dollar stories of several global game-changers in the ecosystem. Meet 20 tycoons of the creative industry speaking at RiseUp Summit 2018...

Bart Van de Vel // Facebook  

"When he isn’t glued to a mobile screen," his bio reads, "he spends time traveling the world and the seven seas." No wonder Bart Van de Vel is leading Facebook’s efforts to build strong partnerships with personal care and luxury businesses across the Middle East and North Africa, as Head of Beauty and Luxury. Before moving to Dubai in 2017, he spent four years at Facebook’s EMEA HQ in Dublin as part of the Global Marketing Solutions team. A highlight speaker on RiseUp's creative track, the Belgian will be sharing tips and hacks for how creatives can make the most out of the world's biggest social network to boost their businesses and branding. 


Amy Mowafi // MO4 Network

In just seven years since launching MO4 Network, Amy Mowafi has built one of the region's leading and most innovative full-service creative digital agencies, boasting offices in Cairo, Dubai, and most recently London. The agency's client roster (over 140) reads like a who's who of the world's biggest brands including the likes of Coca-Cola, Uber, Red Bull, Marriott Group, Nestle and more. Alongside her three sibling co-founders, Mowafi has been able to position the company as one of the biggest independent rivals to their multinational equivalents. MO4 is also one of the most powerful digital media entities in the Middle East with six leading publications in its portfolio including,,,,, and this magazine, 

Ahmed El-Ghandour // El-Da7ee7

After making a name for himself as a regular independent vlogger on Facebook, Ahmed El-Ghandour became the host of the most popular science web-series in the Middle East, El-Da7ee7, on AJ+. With over 80 episodes viewed more than 70 million times, his approach to creating valuable, engaging content has inspired a new generation of digital content creators, proving you don’t need to exploit click-bait content to become influential. At #RiseUp18, he’ll be tackling two topics; one talk will see him engage in conversation on digital content, while the other will focus on how innovation and new digital mediums can revolutionise traditional education methods (not unlike his show).

Bassem ElHady // Kijamii

Winner of the British Council’s Young Creative Entrepreneur award, alumni of NGO Injaz, and speaker at everywhere from RiseUp Summit to the Skoll World Forum for Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Oxford; Bassem El Hady has plenty of notches on his belt – but it’s as co-founder and CEO of Cairo-based social media agency, Kijamii, that he’s best known. Having executed groundbreaking campaigns for an eclectic portfolio of clients that has included Vodafone, Durex and even German football club, FC Bayern Munich, ElHady's experience and penchant for producing engaging marketing and storytelling make him one of the most influential and innovative figures in the field.

Leo Porto // COLLINS

Born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Leo Porto is a Senior Designer at the New York City office of COLLINS, the famed design firm used by tech unicorns like Dropbox and Spotify. He works with a diverse range of retail, technology and fashion clients including Nike, Spotify, Coca-Cola, and Target, as well as cultural institutions such as the Brooklyn Museum and the Guggenheim Museum. He has also collaborated on projects with artist, Ahmed Mater, and with late architect, Zaha Hadid. At #RiseUp18, he will be involved in two highlight events - a 101 workshop about the branding process at the renowned COLLINS and a talk on Brazilian design and aesthetic that will also see him discuss the the challenges and opportunities of simultaneously building local and global identities in design.

Hebah Fisher // Kerning Cultures 

The audio industry in the Middle East is on the rise, with many stakeholders trying to win the hearts of Middle Eastern consumers to listen to their content. As the co-founder and CEO of Middle East podcast network, Kerning Cultures, Hebah Fisher is one of those stakeholders. Fisher is also the former manager of Impact Hub Dubai, an incubator and global platform for entrepreneurs, and co-founder of Community Investment Collaborative, a micro-finance and business education organisation in the US. Inspired by this experience, Fisher brings a vast and eclectic background to the creative panel, in which she will reflect on her experience with a Middle Eastern podcast industry that has massive potential.

Maria S.Muñoz // Maison Pyramide

Having co-founded two Egypt-based NGOS in Tahrir Bodygaurd and Dignity Without Borders, Maria S.Muñoz moved into the world of fashion in 2016 launching fashion PR agency, Maison Pyramide alongside Giovanina Atieh. Maison Pyramide has quickly become a stylish force to be reckoned with having catapulted an array of local designers to global fame including Kojak, The King’s Mother, Hugo Boss, and Okhtein - an Egyptian bag brand that has been spotted on a slew of international celebrities including Beyoncé and Queen Rania of Jordan.

Ahmed El-Attar // D-CAF 

Debuting in 2012, Ahmed El Attar's annual Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (D-CAF), powered by his company Orient Productions, has acted as a powerful platform for a slew of previously unknown Egyptian contemporary creative talents ranging from visual artists to actors and musicians while also enticing countless international talents to make their way to Cairo anually for three weeks between March and April of impassioned performances, workshops, seminars, and artistic displays. The festival has also played a key role in Downtown Cairo's renaissance, luring a new generation into the historic theatres and stunning spaces that were once the envy of the world. At RiseUp, El Attar will be weighing in with a fundraising workshop on how to seal deals with international entities. He will also be giving a talk about the Arab Arts Focus, a very important project that is occupying his company's attention and drive. #RiseUp18 has partnered with both Orient Productions as a content partner, which means they will contribute to several panels and fireside chats this year.

Ahmed Hayman and Reem Ossama // Beit El-Sura 

While his reputation as a celebrity photographer precedes him, its Ahmed Hayman’s contributions to the local arts scene and industry that have seen him become an influential figure. In 2016, together with his wife Reem Ossama, he co-founded Beit El Sura, a photography showroom and gallery, offering workshops and a sense of community for both budding photographers as well as those that have come to represent the best of what the industry has to offer. During #RiseUp18 we will be giving a workshop on mobile photography for beginners, speaking to startups who might not be able to afford hiring professional crews, nor own professional equipment. He’ll also be joining his partner Ossama on a panel discussing the business of founding a photography school, including his approach to investors. 

Dina Saoudi // Seven Circles

Empowering Through is a project that has set a new standard of engagement across multiple domains to provide women with a platform to learn, be heard, build communities, and develop new ways of self-sustaining businesses. The boss-lady behind it all is Dina Saoudi, the co-founder of Seven Circles, the consulting agency through which she launched Empowering ThroughSeven Circles provides full-fledged services for companies and organisations, establishing strategic partnerships, creating new revenue streams and building sustainable, impactful solutions. At Seven Circles, Saoudi makes use of her years of experience in Silicon Valley’s tech industry as an entrepreneur, investor, and a consultant for startups. At #RiseUp18 Saoudi will be talking about her ‘Empowering Through’ project and the power of simple yet creative philanthropic efforts. 

Kareem Abou Gamrah // Peace Cake 

Quirky Cairo-based production house Peace Cake, has been nothing short of a viral sensation and much of it has to do with the Managing Director Kareem Abou Gamrah, who started his career at Google. After three years, and several international startup competitions later, he returned to Cairo to co-found Peace Cake and challenge the norms of communications. "Every brief is an opportunity and every insight is an opportunity to speak to our audience in a new way; which is rarely ever the easy way," Abou Gamrah says of his approach.

Ramsey Tesdell //

Ramsey Tesdell is the  executive director and partner of, an Arab podcast network based in Amman, Jordan, that produces one of the top ranked podcasts in the region on iTunes, Eib. He's also a founding partner of, which works with new media startups, focusing specifically on media strategy and business development. At #RiseUp18, Tesdell will be taking part in an exciting panel discussing the rise and future of podcasts in the Middle East. 

Mustafa Sharara // Excuse My Content

From pharmacist to filmmaker and entrepreneur, Mustafa Sharara has brought the craft of film into the advertising world as CEO of Excuse My Content – an innovative creative agency that offers a complete design experience, from concept creation to production. Having been mentored by Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Pinterest, Twitter, Airbnb, VISA and Autodesk for two weeks in San Francisco, Sharara will be sharing his thoughts on and experiences with telling human stories at RiseUp18's storytelling panel.

Amr Assaad, Farah El-Rafei, Israa Ibrahim, Nada Salem // Film My Design 

Gathering plenty of momentum in just one year, Film My Design (FMD) is a project that aims to establish a creative community of Egyptian designers and filmmakers who collaborate to produce design-film documentaries. Farah El-Rafei and her co-founders, Israa Ibrahim, and Nada Salem have been working on FMD to shed light on the grassroots of the Egyptian arts industry. Having initially met at university, the three founders took distinctly separate career paths; El-Rafei moved to Dubai to work on several arts projects, Ibrahim flew to Milan and pursued her career in product design and Salem worked in architectural branding. As fate would have it, however, these experiences equipped them with the tools and know-how on which FMD would be conceived and subsequently founded in 2017. The trio will walk #RiseUp18's audience through their experiences and learnings in a panel discussion moderated by the co-founders' mentor, Amr Assaad, a renowned media design professor. 

Dina Aly // Matter

Spurred by her experience in branding and various entrepreneurship programmes at top schools like Harvard Business School’s Scaling Venture Program, Dina Aly co-founded a branding agency, Matter, that has garnered a reputation as a leading name in the Middle East for its ability to create strong brand stories and personalities. Having navigated and survived Egypt's tumultuous post-revolution years, Matter went on to be internationally recognised and awarded, putting Egypt on the map by being the first local branding agency in the Middle East to win a Dieline Packaging Award, a worldwide competition devoted to the art of consumer package design in 2013.

Nouran Abdel Raouf

Another speaker taking part in the storytelling panel is Nouran Abdel Raouf, who most recently accompanied founder of Humans of New York (HONY), Brandon Stanton, during his time in Egypt earlier this year. Her work has been featured on all HONY social media accounts, where she has found plenty of fans, and is expected to be part of Standton’s upcoming book. A translator and interpreter by trade, Abdel Raouf is Assistant Lecturer of Translation and Interpreting at the Department of English, Faculty of Al-Alsun, Ain Shams University and is currently working on her PhD dissertation, which focuses on narrativity. She has translated some 40 books, published globally, giving her a unique understanding of cross-cultural storytelling.


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