Egypt: Challenges & Social Entrepreneurship Opportunities

Egypt: Challenges & Social Entrepreneurship Opportunities

there is a strong sense of urgency

Just what was the catalyst for the Arab Spring revolutions last year? Many would argue that it was due the very high rates of youth unemployment across the Middle East and North Africa. So to help address this pressing issue, the Development Marketplace is preparing for a country-level competition in Egypt early this year. The proposed DM competition will focus on social entrepreneurs with projects that have a strong impact on creating sustainable job opportunities, especially for low-income and marginalised groups. The main focus of the Egypt DM will be on supporting projects in the agricultural supply chain sector.

For Ehaab Abdou (part of the DM Egypt competition project) the barriers to setting up a new business are multifold, ranging from a culture with little appreciation of risk and entrepreneurship in favor of secure government jobs to a lack of finance for start-ups paired with regulatory frameworks and corruption that stifle private enterprise. However, the sun is shining as plans to hold public-private dialogues around the restrictive regulatory framework are in the making. Furthermore, civil society groups interested in becoming implementing partners of the Egypt DM program have expressed a desire to work collaboratively and not competitively. There is a strong sense of urgency now to build on this recent momentum and offer social innovators in Egypt the support they need to transform society. 

The Arab Spring has set the stage for social entrepreneurial energy to surge. Let’s hope the momentum can be maintained and that Egypt can rise to the heavens once more like their ancestors before them!
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