ITIDA, USAID, AmCham join forces to promote entrepreneurship and startup ecosystem in Egypt

ITIDA sees investment in Egyptian startups set to double

The Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) has on Wednesday participated in an event jointly arranged by the USAID, and the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt (AmCham) aimed at supporting startups in the country.

The symposium, entitled “Towards Creating an Enabling Environment for Venture Capital and Start-ups in Egypt”, aimed at empowering and scaling up the thriving startup business environment in Egypt by shedding light on the best practices and the governance of venture capital.

The symposium was inaugurated by ITIDA’s CEO Amr Mahfouz, along with Leslie Reed, Mission Director of USAID Egypt; Hossam Osman, ITIDA’s VP; Hermann Thiel, Chief of Party of the Economic Governance Activity; and Tarek Tawfik – President of AmCham Egypt.

“Entrepreneurship has become the key engine in different economies for the investments it attracts and the jobs opportunities it creates.” Amr Mahfouz said in his opening remarks.

“This year, we are foreseeing significant growth rate in the number of investments and number of deals on the Egyptian startups where they have already collected 26 percent of deals in the MENA region, amounting to nearly $194 million in the first half of 2021,”

“The Egyptian startups had recorded the highest venture investment of $190 million, up 30 percent year-on-year in 2020, with a CAGR of 100 percent from 2015-2020,” Mahfouz noted.

Several prominent startups as well as local and international VCs have also attended the symposium, including Flat6Labs, Algebra Ventures, 500 startups, Shorooq, FinBi, and Nile Capital, in addition to some entrepreneurs and founders of tech startups.

Several interactive sessions were held during the symposium, chaired by many field experts and specialists. The sessions discussed topics of the best practices for attracting more venture capital firms to Egypt, advancing regulatory reforms to create a prosperous ecosystem, and availing a roadmap for entrepreneurs and tech-enabled Startups.

“International VCs represent 32 percent of all investors supporting Egyptian startups in 2020, compared to 21 percent in UAE and 18 percent in KSA”, Mahfouz added.

According to MAGNiTT, the number of VCs in Egypt more than doubled in the last three years and is expected to furtherly double in terms of investments and the number of deals. The total funding deals grew by 30 percent year-on-year in Egypt, higher than the 13 percent growth in venture investment recorded across the entire MENA region.

These figures are a testament that the Egyptian government has over the past few years ramped up its entrepreneurial activities, making the country one the fastest growing ecosystems in the Middle East and North Africa.

“Egypt didn’t get this far by luck as the government has been giving unprecedented support to further boost the startup ecosystem and help its youth kickstart their technology and innovation-driven entrepreneurship and accelerate their growth; capitalising on many advantages and the right mix of strengths the country enjoys,” Mahfouz noted.

“We are investing heavily to spread digital innovation hubs “Creativa” to act as a one-stop-shop for tech entrepreneurs, and we’re also upskilling talent with an investment that exceeds 400 million Egyptian pounds to help 115,000 Egyptian youth to excel in future jobs and acquire the digital and freelancing skills.” ITIDA CEO further said.

ITIDA is working on a five-year strategy; in collaboration with the USAID and a global consultancy firm, that aims at taking the Egyptian startup and entrepreneurship ecosystem to a more advanced stage from where it currently stands especially in policy and regulations domains and finance capital, market penetration elements.

The Egyptian startup and entrepreneurial ecosystem continues to grow and evolve dramatically, attracting strong momentum both regionally and globally and making the most Arab populous country a global contender in the technology startups scene.

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