The U.S. Department of State’s next Global Entrepreneurship Program (GEP) delegation will be to Cairo, Egypt, from January 9 to 12, 2011. In coordination with the Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), the U.S. Department of State is sending 13 prominent U.S. investors and entrepreneurs–along with several U.S. government employees – to meet with Egyptian innovators, to learn about business opportunities, and to foster partnerships in support of entrepreneurship in Egypt.
“The Middle East and North Africa region is poised to become one of the next global centers of entrepreneurship, and Egypt is a central focal point of entrepreneurial activity in the region,” said the U.S. State Department’s Senior Advisor for Global Entrepreneurship, Steven Koltai, explaining the impetus for the delegation’s trip. “That’s why the U.S. chose Egypt as the first country for the GEP’s launch. Regional investments in economic reform and human and capital infrastructure in Egypt provide a strong foundation for entrepreneurs and investors, both local and international.”
The U.S. delegation will be hosted by representatives from Egyptian government, business, industry, and academia, including MCIT, Cairo’s Smart Village, Nile University, the US-Egypt Business Forum, the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt, and the American University in Cairo. The Lead Private Sector Partner for the Egypt Delegation and organizer for many of the events in Cairo is Sawari Ventures, LLC.
The delegates will begin their trip on January 9 with a visit to Smart Village to learn about Egyptian and multinational technology companies and the general ecosystem in Egypt for technology, entrepreneurship, and venture investment. On January 10, Google Egypt will host the delegation for a working lunch and presentation on the MENA Digital Landscape, and on January 11, Nile University will provide a presentation entitled, “Research and Innovation in Egypt: Powering the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs.” The delegation will also be received by Dr. Ahmed Nazif, Prime Minister of Egypt. Between these events, there will be spaces for private meetings with Egyptian start-ups. On January 12, at an event hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt, the American University in Cairo, and Sawari Ventures, the delegates will award a cash prize for the winning concept for a new Egyptian startup business.
U.S. and foreign investors are already actively engaged in the Egyptian market, and more are looking to join. The GEP’s role is to catalyze, consult, and coordinate with partners (including government ministries, non-governmental organizations, universities, professional associations, foundations and businesses) in support of the burgeoning trend of business start-ups and social innovation in Egypt. The GEP brings U.S. and local partners together to work around six main activities related to supporting entrepreneurship in Egypt: 1) identifying opportunities, 2) training aspiring entrepreneurs, 3) connecting and sustaining them, 4) assisting with access to funding, 5) enabling policy decisions, and 6) celebrating entrepreneurial successes in Egypt.