EIP goes Global as AUC School of Business Partners in the Global Entrepreneurship Program Egypt Delegation and Sawari Ventures
Following a visit by the Global Entrepreneurship Program (GEP) Egypt delegation, the School of Business and Sawari Ventures, an international capital firm that invests in people turning visionary ideas into market-leading companies in the Middle East and North Africa, signed a partnership incubator agreement to create an Entrepreneurship Lab, Flat6Labs. The agreement will allow entrepreneurs to work with faculty at the School of Business, who will advise the entrepreneurs and assist them in developing their business plans. Sawari Ventures will provide the space and funds, while the School of Business will provide session leaders drawn from AUC’s network of faculty, alumni and students, in addition to external members selected from Sawari Ventures’s network of contacts.
“AUC and Sawari Ventures converge at the intersection of talent, vision, skill and capital,” said AUC President Lisa Anderson at the signing. “For more than six months, we have been talking about how to work together at that seam, developing a capacity to incubate promising entrepreneurs in what we’ve been calling an Entrepreneurship Lab.”
In the wake of the first series of visits by the GEP delegation to Cairo and the signing of the incubator agreement, the School of Business will soon be the hub of entrepreneurial focus in the region. This will benefit not only the AUC community, but also serve the region with new ideas, supplying the economy with eager entrepreneurial minds, and leading entrepreneurship and innovation in the region. “We have plenty of ideas that need fostering, supporting, mentoring, and nurturing, not just financing,” said Sherif Kamel, dean of the School of Business. “Egyptians are entrepreneurs by nature. That’s why the entrepreneurs we are producing at AUC will be the agents of change across the market.”
Kamel added that the agreement is in accordance with the main goals of the School of Business’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program (EIP), launched in October 2010, which strives to create a healthy entrepreneurial environment inside AUC that serves the business community in Egypt and the region, educates students in entrepreneurship, and encourages innovation by connecting budding entrepreneurs to venture capitalists, angel investors, and mentors.
The GEP Egypt entrepreneurship delegation brought together U.S. and Egyptian investors, entrepreneurs, and government leaders for a series of events and meetings designed to foster opportunities for conversation and collaboration. The 11 representatives of the GEP delegation met with 32 Egyptian entrepreneurial applicants, of whom more than a third were graduates of AUC. The applicants, who represented different Egyptian start-up companies, were evaluated on their products and services. The winning companies, Kngine and SilMinds LLC, whose founder is an AUC alumnus, received $20,000 each.
GEP is a U.S. Department of State-led effort to promote and spur entrepreneurship around the world. Announced by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship in April 2010, GEP highlights the Obama Administration’s commitment to advancing entrepreneurship in emerging markets. The program is managed by an inter-agency team, which includes the U.S. Department of Commerce, the United States Agency for International Development, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation. The School of Business participated as one of the lead partners, alongside Sawari Ventures and the American Chamber of Commerce, among others.
Back: U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Margaret Scobey
Front: President Lisa Anderson with Ahmed El Alfi, founder and chairman of Sawari Venture