On 12 September 2017, the Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Dr. Sahar Nasr launched “Fekretak Sherketak” Initiative, an innovative initiative to encourage startups and promote the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Egypt. Fekretak Sherketak promotes the launch of the Egypt Entrepreneurship Program (EEP) in partnership with Hermes Financial Group and the United Nations Development Program. EEP is a comprehensive platform designed to catalyze the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem in Egypt.
The Minister mentioned that, by virtue of the New Investment Law No. 72 of 2017, the EEP was comprised of four main components, namely finance, accelerators, business service centers and new legislation and regulatory reforms. Such four components back Egyptians to start their own projects, which would provide new job opportunities and contribute to economic growth.
Fekretak Sherketak, according to the Minister, is the outcome of MIIC’s support of Egypt Ventures, an investment company with a capital of EGP 451 million. Egypt Ventures is co-financed by MIIC, the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) and NI Capital. It was established a month following the Minister’s taking the office of the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation, within the framework of financing startups’ capitals and the significance of financial inclusion for the economic social development as a first step towards building a solid basis for a strong economy.
In addition, as clarified by Dr. Nasr, the program would be applied in other governorates soon and various investment areas nationwide. It is considered the second activity financed by Egypt Ventures, given that the first one was investing in Flat6Labs program in July 2017.
“Promoting the growth and competitiveness of startups on the global level is considered a major driver of economic growth and job creation. We have recognized the initial financing gap in Egypt. Thus, we developed Fekretak Sherketak Program to provide new projects with financial, trade, technical and legal support so that they grow and prosper,” stated Dr. Nasr. She emphasized that entrepreneurship was provided for in the Investment Law, referring to MIIC’s keenness and commitment to supporting small investors.
“Fekretak Sherketak is a platform for innovative and new ideas. It will help entrepreneurs and promote their startups to grow effectively,” emphasized Dr. Nasr, who indicated that MIIC would work on promoting the ideas of youth during the upcoming period.
“Today is the first phase of Egypt Ventures to be followed by innovative financial instruments that we will provide to the Egyptian market to enhance financial inclusion so as to help entrepreneurs. Such instruments will include financial leasing and other products that target startups and small enterprises as well as transportation network services and other services that target youth such as companies serving the food sector,” the Minister added.
Moreover, Dr. Nasr mentioned that MIIC worked on finalizing the development of the Investors Service Center soon so as to finalize all investors’ procedures rapidly, noting that “Fekretak Sherketak” bus would travel governorates to meet with participating entrepreneurs.
The Minister called on all development partners, international financial institutions and the private sector to support the initiative, reiterating MIIC’s keenness on supporting youth during the upcoming period.
GAFI’S Vice-CEO Advisor Mohammed Abdul-Wahab asserted that any legislative reform requires holding meetings with investors and businessmen associations, which resulted in 9 legislative reforms during the previous period. He pointed out that one of the principles of the Investment Law was the state’s support of entrepreneurship and SMEs.
Mr. Abdul-Wahab mentioned that the Investment Law’s Executive Regulations would provide for supporting entrepreneurship and the sectors of education and sport. He pointed out that the Companies Law included a chapter dedicated to sole proprietorships that encourage youth to invest, noting that GAFI would dedicate a facility at the ISC for such initiative.
“Anyone can participate in Fekretak Sherketak. All you need is an applicable and innovative idea for a high-growth product or service as well as a group of individuals that have complementary skills to transform their ideas into a profitable project,” said Dr. Shehab Marzeban, the Minister’s First Advisor and CEO of Egypt Ventures.
Dr. Marzeban indicated that Egypt Ventures would hold a 4-month training program for startups and that Fekretak Sherketak targeted entrepreneurs all over the country. Groups, as stated by Dr. Marzeban, can fill in the online application: www.sherketak.com. The top candidates will be selected to participate in the “Sherketak” startup accelerator and receive startup financing amounting to EGP 500.000 for 4-8% equity.
Further, Dr. Marzeban pointed out that the “Sherketak” startup accelerator was not limited to a specific sector. According to Dr. Marzeban, it was implemented in parallel with two other programs, namely FinTech program, in participation with Hermes Financial Group, which focuses on financial technological services and their solutions as well as the Social Impact program, in participation with the UNDP, which focuses on companies that support social development.
On her part, UNDP Director Mr. Randa Aboul-Hosn expressed her appreciation of the Minister for such initiative, noting that the UNDP aimed to support Egypt’s ideas to achieve sustainable development.
She mentioned that business incubators of social dimension was among the activities discussed, noting that the initiative not only would support youth in transforming their ideas into profitable projects but focus on the social impact of such projects as well.
As for Mr. Karim Awad, he stated that “Hermes” would contribute to accelerators to promote the ideas of youth that contribute to increasing Egypt’s economic growth. He added that “Hermes” was keen on supporting the Egyptian economy, believing that it would increasingly grow during the upcoming period.