Egypt: 90 million people! 50% below 30 years of age and technocrats!

I recently got invited to attend Techne Summit the annual startup conference that took place at the iconic Bibliotheca Alexandrina in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, Egypt.

Honestly, I did not expected this kind of startup buzz from students disrupting the IoT scene to social businesses exporting bio-diesel to tech addicts connecting crowds through mobile apps, these incredibly young arab entrepreneurs are taking the reins of the Egyptian economy through innovation and unstoppable drive. Add in the hundreds of other startups spanning everything from digital health, agri-tech, transport, crowdfunding, and social enterprises, and Egypt’s entrepreneurs are growing up.

The startup scene in Egypt is comparable to that of India 5 years back in terms of scale, culture, and challenges it is no doubt yet another screw driver economy emerging up the scene! Just like India, Egypt’s population is growing, and so are the challenges of basic needs and services for the people. But, I was really surprised with quality of SaaS products and entrepreneurs I came across they are at par with Indian startups leaving a lot of space to bridge a cross country relationship.

With 40% internet penetration (growing at an exponential rate), massive e-commerce potential (expected to hit the $450 million by this year), the country has got the potential to be an attractive investment destination.

Egypt, along with much of the MENA region lacks significant players that aim to provide funding that is halfway between seed-funding (100k-200k) and the Series A VC’s (1M+). Egypt needs a good bunch of accelerators and incubators that can mentor startups to commercialize technology, and assist with expansions into foreign markets. Mostly, they need capital.

What are your thoughts.. Can the Nile give life to entrepreneurship in Egypt?

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