Nine of Egypt’s most promising young entrepreneurs were showcased at the Ye! Awards Egypt at the Marriott Cairo Hotel on April 15, 2018. More than 120 guests from across the country attended the event, organized by the SANAD Fund for MSME’s Technical Assistance Facility (TAF) and Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI) in collaboration NilePreneurs, the Central Bank of Egypt, and Nile University.
The Ye! Awards Egypt served to raise awareness of the unique needs of young entrepreneurs in Egypt and recognize the most outstanding new businesses in the country. Awards were presented for three categories:
• Ye! Superstar – For a registered enterprise with annual turnover of more than 50,000 USD. The winner of the Ye! Superstar Award was Amira El Gharib of Orcas. Orcas offers a safe and secure mobile application that connects parents to verified tutors and babysitters and in turn connects Egyptian youth to valuable employment opportunities.
• Ye! Rising Star – For a registered enterprise with annual turnover of less than USD 50,000. The winner of the Ye! Rising Star Award was Abdallah Hanbak of Freeziana. Freeziana is an e-commerce platform connecting rural artisans who specialize in providing handmade products to consumers around the globe.
• Ye! Stars to Watch – For a pre-revenue or unregistered enterprise with a strong business plan. The winner of the Ye! Stars to Watch Award was Tarek Mandour of Mazboot App. Mazboot is an easy-to-use mobile health application that allows diabetic patients and doctors to connect, share data, and monitor exercise and medications to stay on top of the disease.
In addition to the awards, two entrepreneurs received special recognition: Rania Ayman of Entreprenelle was named top female entrepreneur, and Ahmed El Rawy of ASKOVA Wind Energy was recognized for his entrepreneurship in green energy.
Ines Ebrecht, Chair of the SANAD TAF Committee, explained: “Access to finance is not an isolated constraint to the growth of small enterprises and the economy. We are therefore happy to have partnered with CYFI and the NilePreneurs program on making an important contribution to entrepreneurs’ ability to grow their business and network with one another through the Ye! Platform.”
Speaking to an audience of high-level representatives from the governmental, banking and private sectors, as well as entrepreneurship hubs who are active in the local ecosystem, Nermine El Tahri, Assistant Sub Governor, Banking Reform Sector at the Central Bank of Egypt, stressed the importance of supporting young entrepreneurs, stating: “Our participation in this significant event comes within the strategy of our continuous efforts to support and empower youth and entrepreneurs.”
Addresses were also given by Heba Labib from Nile University and Abel Aziz Nossier from the Egyptian Banking Institute.
Prior to the ceremony, the Ye! community had opened applications for the Ye! Awards Egypt through its online platform. The applications were then evaluated based on their levels of innovation, potential for growth, and social impact. All entrepreneurs were under the age of 30.
Prizes include sponsored travel to the Child and Youth Finance Summit in South Africa; incubation and ongoing support through the NilePreneur program; immediate shortlisting to the MINT Incubator competition; and placement with the Global Leasing Company where the winners will receive first-hand training on finance and financial analysis.
In her closing remarks, Ye! Director Lubna Shaban stated that there was still a lot of work to be done in providing additional institutional support to young entrepreneurs. “The Ye! Community aims to act as an awareness builder and convener, bringing together government and the private sector to encourage dialogue to impact change in the Egyptian ecosystem.”
The Ye! awards are part of a global series of international awards given via the Global Inclusion Awards. Last year, these were held in Berlin as an official part of the German G-20 presidency’s agenda.