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Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program (EIP)

In his "New Beginning" speech on June 4, 2009 in Cairo, President Barack Obama announced that "I will host a Summit on Entrepreneurship this year to identify how we can deepen ties between business leaders, foundations and social entrepreneurs in the United States and Muslim communities around the world." The Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship, held in Washington, D.C. April 26-27, 2010, was attended by your Dean and 14 other Egyptians, along with leaders from across the globe, where a new initiative was launched, the Global Entrepreneurship Program. The goal is to leverage entrepreneurship as a tool for international economic development and cooperation. AUC is one of the lead partners in Egypt’s GEP, which is the first of two pilot programs to be launched.

The School of Business, in collaboration with Schools and Centers within AUC and partners from the community, is focusing our collective efforts to launch the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program (EIP), incubated under the International Executive Education Institute (IEEI). The objective of the EIP is to help foster the mission of the School of Business, “to educate principled innovative entrepreneurs who can make a difference.” While some would argue that entrepreneurship is a virtue imbued from birth, we believe this can be nurtured in all. We’re building an ecosystem to help identify potential entrepreneurs, and help grow those entrepreneurs already having an impact in the market.

One example of how we’re focusing our efforts is our partnership with Abraaj Group to launch an online portal and investment platform dedicated to small and medium enterprises in the MENA region under its newly formed subsidiary Riyada Enterprise Development ("RED"). RED will be looking to invest up to US$1bn in equity capital into SMEs across the region over the next few years. The intent is to bring together on-line—from a network of relevant and interested parties—the region's leading participants in the broader entrepreneurship space with the goal of sharing knowledge, news and inspiring stories for the benefit of the entire region. This will be the online meeting place for social entrepreneurs and commercial entrepreneurs. We have 42 launch partners, ranging from the IMD Business School in Switzerland, to the London School of Economics, to the Cisco Entrepreneurship Institute, Deutsche Bank, Aramex, Ernst & Young, Endeavor, Acumen Fund, Injaz, Ashoka and a host of other names you will recognize. The official launch happens this month, watch for developments at Wamda (“the spark”) at: www.wamda.com.

Another example of how we’re sharpening our focus on entrepreneurship is the recent naming of Dr. Ossama Hassanein as this year’s holder of the Willard W. Brown International Business Leadership Chair. A “serial entrepreneur,” Dr. Osama brings 39 years of high technology experience to the classroom, having launched a number of successful startups in Silicon Valley and beyond. In addition, we’re seeking a seasoned scholar for the Abdul Latif Jameel Endowed Chair of Entrepreneurship. This Chair is in honor of the late Sheikh Abdul Latif of Saudi Arabia, one of AUC's most important benefactors. With Chairs of Leadership and Entrepreneurship, coupled with the energy and expertise across the campus, the nation, and the region, we’re going to make a difference. Stay tuned.