Mahmoud Hammad, a professor of economics in the Faculty of Commerce at Sohag University, in southern Upper Egypt, believes universities should build on the qualitative and quantitative developments in this field.
“It is necessary to take advantage of this success, by expanding the teaching of entrepreneurship courses in Egyptian and Arab universities, and providing the necessary funding for business incubators,” Hammad told Al-Fanar Media.
He called for sustainable funding of entrepreneurship programmes, saying the startups they foster would create a lot of job opportunities and become a source of income for universities that enter into partnerships with those companies.
Egypt a Powerhouse for Startups
Egypt is emerging “as a tech powerhouse for Africa,” according to the 2021 Egyptian Startup Ecosystem Report by the Disrupt Africa, a portal that reports on tech startup affairs in the continent.
The report credits university programmes, along with government and business initiatives, with contributing to the rapid rise of tech startups in Egypt. The country now rivals “and even surpasses more established startup ecosystems such as South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya for levels of entrepreneurial innovation and investment,” says the report, which was issued last fall.
It particularly notes university programmes that go beyond simply offering courses on business and entrepreneurship. Cairo University, Al-Azhar University, and Nile University have rolled out initiatives that provide early-stage startups with access to training, mentorship, networks, and even funding, it said.
Egypt had at least 562 tech startups in operation as of September 2021, employing almost 13,000 individuals and accounting for about 20 percent of all active tech startups across Africa, the Disrupt Africa report said.
It also noticed that the pace of launching new startups had quickened. A total of 114 Egyptian tech startups were funded in 2020, up from just 10 in 2015.
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Since January 2015, around $800 million has been raised by at least 318 Egyptian tech startups, according to Disrupt Africa’s data.
Stronger growth has taken place in total annual funding secured by those companies. The $156 million raised in 2020 was nearly 20 times the $8.6 million banked in 2015. The total for last year soared even higher, with 82 startups having secured a staggering $400 million.
Egypt’s prominence in Africa’s technology scene is gaining attention overseas as well.
Viva Technology, an annual trade show in Paris that brings together business leaders, startups, investors and researchers, and the International Finance Corporation recently announced that eight Egyptian companies were among the 45 startups that have been selected to compete in the first AfricaTech Awards.
The winners will be announced at a ceremony during the 2022 edition of Viva Technology, in June.