On 11 July 2017, the Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Dr. Sahar Nasr signed an agreement with Mr. Ahmed El Alfi, Founder of Flat6Labs; Egypt Ventures represented by Dr. Shehab Marzban, the Minister’s Assistant and CEB of the Company; Mr. Hassan Alatas, member of the Company’s Board of Directors; and Mr. Ashraf Ghazaly, Managing Director of NI Capital for investing in startups with an amount worth EGP 10 million at the Greek Campus in the American University in Cairo (AUC).
The purpose of the agreement, emphasized the Minister, was to encourage the private sector’s investments in Egypt through encouraging innovation and supporting entrepreneurs so as to achieve economic growth and increase the capital. She noted that MIIC’s aimed to help small investors and startups, in light of its keenness on maintaining a level playing field for all investors and providing them with technical and financial support.
The Minister indicated that the Investment Law provided for supporting youth projects, while referring to MIIC’s interest in supporting youth who account for 50% of Egypt’s population. MIIC also gave priority to supporting startups in light of a legislative framework that facilitates procedures for small investors.
As mentioned by the Minister, MIIC aimed to support entrepreneurs to develop their skills, provide an adequate environment for rendering their projects successful, help them choose an adequate labor market, improve their business and increase startups, and provide administrative support, legal consultations and trainings.
In addition, the Minister revealed that the agreement came in collaboration with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) that provides funds worth USD 2 million to Flat6Labs, and the Egyptian American Enterprise Fund (EAEF). She added that Flat6Labs would invest in about 100 Egyptian startups and would support 300 entrepreneurs during the five upcoming years, commending the Saudi Fund for Development’s (SFD) support of small investors during the previous period.
The Minister also pointed out that a window would be dedicated for entrepreneurship in the Investors Service Center, noting that funding was not enough for supporting small investors, thus further training would be provided in collaboration with the UN to develop their skills. She emphasized that after joining the United Nations Social Impact Fund’s (UNSIF) Advisory Board, she would initiate the development of small investors’ skills.
On his part, Dr. Marzban stated that the capital of Egypt Ventures stood at EGP 451 million and negotiations were underway with development partners to increase it to EGP 1 billion. He indicated that the main objective of the fund was to invest in the private sector, beginning with Flat6Labs with investments worth EGP 10 million with a view to support entrepreneurs and startups, adding that cooperation was underway with EAEF.
“Egypt Ventures will help overcome the financial gap faced by startups, by providing funds to contribute in the capitals of these companies, whether directly or indirectly through entrepreneurship incubators or venture capital funds, which would help boost the growth of these companies,” Dr. Marzban added.
Mr. Alatas, on the other hand, said that Saudi Arabia contributed to that project through its contribution to the capital of Egypt Ventures.
Moreover, Mr. El Alfi stated that today’s agreement was considered a step forward for entrepreneurs and startups in Egypt. He added that MIIC’s and EAEF’s investments in entrepreneurship reflected their commitment to supporting Egyptian talents and providing capitals for Egyptian startups.
Afterwards, the Minister visited Uber’s training centre at the AUC and met with employees there, given that Uber provides 50 thousand job opportunities in Egypt.
The Minister emphasized that the Cabinet approved a draft law for regulating services provided by the transportation network companies, referring to MIIC's keenness on eliminating any obstacles facing Uber Egypt that contributes to providing distinguished services in the Egyptian market, which would, in turn, lead to the expansion of the Company's work according to the law. She asserted the importance that such transportation services had to include taxi drivers, noting that MIIC worked on 4 areas to support startups, namely the legislative framework, financing, training and development of skills.