September 23, 2013
Photos: Egypt’s Entrepreneurs Try to Build a New Tech Hub Amid Unrest

Amid Egypt’s ongoing political turmoil, there is another, tech-ier revolution afoot: the birth of Cairo’s start-up culture.
Young entrepreneurs there have created everything from taxi calling services to portable solar water desalination companies, and everything in between.
Despite Egypt’s recent struggles, there is hope among those in the start-up crowd, says Mohamed Radwan, an Egyptian-American engineer and activist who is now community manager for ice cairo, a co-working space, fabrication lab, and “pre-incubator” for green-tech startups. 
“Before the revolution, those who wanted to change things channeled their energy into the NGO scene,” he says. “Now, people are starting to look at the private sector. Entrepreneurs are trying to fix the same problems in a different way.”
Entrepreneurship itself is not a new concept here, although the term for it in Arabic, Reyada Al Amael (literally pioneer of business), was coined only a few years ago. But it is something that has recently taken on a new dimension.
 “We had entrepreneurship before the revolution,” says Ahmed Alfi, CEO of Sawari Ventures, a venture capital firm, who has personally invested over $5 million of his own fortune in growing Egypt’s tech startup scene. “The revolution accelerated it, by giving a sense of optimism.”
It also attracted the Egyptian diaspora around the globe — and their money, skills, and experience — back to Egypt, creating a supportive ecosystem.
Read more. [Image: Jonathan Kalan]

Photos: Egypt’s Entrepreneurs Try to Build a New Tech Hub Amid Unrest

Amid Egypt’s ongoing political turmoil, there is another, tech-ier revolution afoot: the birth of Cairo’s start-up culture.

Young entrepreneurs there have created everything from taxi calling services to portable solar water desalination companies, and everything in between.

Despite Egypt’s recent struggles, there is hope among those in the start-up crowd, says Mohamed Radwan, an Egyptian-American engineer and activist who is now community manager for ice cairo, a co-working space, fabrication lab, and “pre-incubator” for green-tech startups. 

“Before the revolution, those who wanted to change things channeled their energy into the NGO scene,” he says. “Now, people are starting to look at the private sector. Entrepreneurs are trying to fix the same problems in a different way.”

Entrepreneurship itself is not a new concept here, although the term for it in Arabic, Reyada Al Amael (literally pioneer of business), was coined only a few years ago. But it is something that has recently taken on a new dimension.

 “We had entrepreneurship before the revolution,” says Ahmed Alfi, CEO of Sawari Ventures, a venture capital firm, who has personally invested over $5 million of his own fortune in growing Egypt’s tech startup scene. “The revolution accelerated it, by giving a sense of optimism.”

It also attracted the Egyptian diaspora around the globe — and their money, skills, and experience — back to Egypt, creating a supportive ecosystem.

Read more. [Image: Jonathan Kalan]

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    I find it to be extremely similar to what is happening in Mexico, particularly in Mexico City.
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