The Egyptian Entrepreneur who became a Harvard Case Study

Harvard Business School

Author(s): Seif Kabil, Entrepreneur Selection & Growth & Samia El Khodary, Marketing & Communications

Mohamed Azab is the Founder and CEO of Seha Capital as well as an Endeavor entrepreneur, mentor and most recently, a board member. Mohamed brings over 15 years of experience in sourcing, structuring and managing investments to Endeavor’s local and global network.

Mohamed was recently selected for a case study the world-renowned Harvard Business School (HBS). These case studies provide business students at universities around the world with in-depth analysis into local markets and entrepreneurial ecosystems. Being part of an HBS case study is a prestigious event, but more importantly, it is an intellectual exercise that allows for self-reflection.

This case study (“Mohamed Azab and Seha Capital”) will expose students to the healthcare industry in Egypt and Africa, with a specific focus on entrepreneurship and local market dynamics. By beginning to focus on growth economies such as Egypt and the MENA region, case studies like the one above offer students at esteemed business schools around the world a holistic view of the market; taking into account country and cultural context, the rapid growth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem since 2011 and the opportunities available in these markets. As the author of the case study, Professor Richard Hamermesh remarks,  

40% of [HBS] students do not have US passports and of those, there are the Canadians and British. There are students from all over the world, and it gives them the opportunity to speak up and explain what is going on with the other students.”

Students at Harvard Business School and similar institutions around the world will form the next cohort of investors and entrepreneurs. As growth and emerging markets such as Egypt continue to turn out an increasing number of high-impact entrepreneurs, more and more investors will begin to rely on high quality precedents such as those provided by HBS to guide their decision-making.

As the region continues to produce visionary entrepreneurs like Mohamed Azab, these case studies will serve as a beacon of hope for aspiring entrepreneurs in Egypt, the MENA region and Africa.

How did the story begin?

Mohamed Azab and Professor Hamermesh met at Endeavor’s 61st International Selection Panel (ISP) in Marrakech in October 2015. The ISP is the final stage in Endeavor’s selection process and brings together entrepreneurs, observers and panelists from around the world for a three-day evaluation of entrepreneur candidates. Although Mohamed and Professor Hamermesh were both in Marrakesh as panelists, Mohamed’s meteoric rise through the Endeavor network – from entrepreneur, to mentor, to panelist and finally, to board member – had already deeply inspired the professor.

“Over the last four to five years I have realized that some of the fastest growing economies are African. The combination of Mohamed’s personality, situation and the fact that it is in Africa made me really excited. I already had a great protagonist.”

After Marrakech, Mohamed attended Harvard’s Owner/President Management (OPM) program where he met Sarah McAra; one of Professor Hamermesh’s academic researchers. After the OPM program, Mohamed, Professor Hamermesh and Sarah began the comprehensive interview and discussion process to put together the case study.

Both Mohamed and Professor Hamermesh believe that this newly published case study (February 2016) can serve to motivate and catalyze other entrepreneurs in the MENA region. Harvard’s rigorous selection process ensures that only high-impact companies and entrepreneurs become case studies. As Professor Hammermesh notes,

“It puts the HBS stamp of approval. One of them, [a] Brazilian [entrepreneur] ended up selling his business and he gave a big giveback to Endeavor.”

On 21 April, Mohamed will head to the HBS campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts where he will see first-hand his company (Seha Capital) being discussed and evaluated for the first time by Professor Hamermesh and his students.

Endeavor is extremely proud of Mohamed Azab’s recent accomplishment and of his contribution to the local ecosystem.    

Check out Mohamed Azab’s full interview with Endeavor Egypt here:

Producer: Samia El Khodary

To purchase the full case study, please click here.

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