Endeavor Egypt hosted the Egypt launch of Scaling-up MENA SME’s, a report co-authored by Strategy& Middle East’s Ideation Center and Endeavor offices in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, UAE and Saudi Arabia, that highlights the growth potential of scale-ups and their positive economic impact, while assessing the state of scale-ups ecosystems across the region.
The launch, held at AUC in collaboration with the AUC School of Business Center for Entrepreneurship, brought together key business leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, IFIs and ecosystem players to join the discussion on the challenges faced by scale-ups in the region, ways of supporting and enabling the scale-ups ecosystem, the impact of scale-ups on economic growth, and more.
The launch opened withwelcome remarks from Dr. Ayman Ismail, AUC Venture Lab Director and Abdul Latif Jameel Endowed Chair of Entrepreneurship. This was followed by a presentation of the report's outcome and results with a special emphasis on the Egypt’s findings by Mohamed Rahmy, Endeavor Egypt’s Managing Director.
The presentation, Scaling Up Egypt, kicked off with an introduction to the characteristics and distinguishing features of scale-ups, followed by a survey of the challenges that scale-ups face across the MENA region and in Egypt before concluding with recommendations for Egyptian policymakers and entrepreneurship stakeholders to further enable the Egypt scale-up ecosystem and to unleash its potential.
“Our research showed that scale-ups in MENA can generate 3x the revenues of a comparable SME, and create 8x jobs. Egypt’s findings are no different with Egyptian scale-ups capable of generating 1.3x revenues and 7x jobs of a comparable SME,” shared Rahmy as he presented the report findings adding that “it is important to recognize such impact, and the potential it holds on Egypt’s growth prospects, as this will be the starting point to start designing a nation-wide policy that identifies and supports high-growth scale-ups.”
The presentation led to a panel discussion that featured a number of industry and ecosystem experts, including Ayman Ismail, Chairman of Endeavor Egypt and DMG Group, Malek Fawaz, Advisor to the Minister of Investment and International Cooperation for Investment Promotion, Dr. Khaled Ismail, Founder and Chairman of HIMangel, Hussein Rifai, Chairman of Inertia Group and Rania Kadry, Managing Director of Almouneer.
The panelists, moderated by Maye Ayoub, Partner at PwC, led an engaging and insightful debate that took on the main challenges of scale-ups in Egypt with access to markets, customers, finance and regulations emerging as the key areas that often deter companies from reaching their potential. Representing a wide array of perspectives the panelists also addressed one of the research recommendations which is the creation of a local “scale-up champion”, an entity that would look after scale-ups helping catalyze their activities by furnishing the support they need in order to grow, thrive and fulfill their economic development potential.
“This ecosystem has evolved dramatically over the last few years and I think entrepreneurs, NGOs, investors have been able to achieve a pretty good platform that allows companies to grow,” said Ayman Ismail reflecting on the state of Egypt’s scale-up ecosystem.
Building on the government’s role in supporting the scale-up ecosystem, Malek Fawaz reflected on the role that initiatives like Egypt Ventures and Fekretak Sherkatak play in catalyzing entrepreneurial ecosystem, while also touching on legislative reforms and the new Investment Law that was championed by the Ministry.
Furthermore, Fawaz pointed to the efforts invested by the Ministry to optimize internal processes and leveraging technology to streamline its own operations and how it supports investors and entrepreneurs. “What we have done may be technology-centric but actually, there was a lot of change management involved because in the end we needed to redefine the rules of the game to be able to play better in the market and better communicate with our stakeholders in ways that are relevant.”
By the end of the event it was clear that the key message put across was that Egypt’s scale-ups need a coordinated and tailored efforts of support in order for them to progress and grow; creating more opportunities for entrepreneurs and success stories that will inspire generations to come and to have a profound impact on economic growth and development. The report launch is just the beginning of availing more spaces and knowledge geared towards enabling Egypt’s scale-up ecosystem.
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