Despite the challenges in the local market, young people are not pessimistic; rather they are trying to develop their work and overcome these challenges, said Shezlong founder Ahmed Aboul Haz.
He said Shezlong seeks to expand its services locally, in addition to expanding in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, with intentions to eventually expand to Kenya. He noted that start-ups in Egypt require a suitable entrepreneurship environment in order to expand to other markets.
Aboul Haz explained that entrepreneurs take many risks, using his own personal experience as an example. “I left my job, from which I made EGP 14,000 monthly, and I sold my car to provide the necessary financing I to launch my own project,” he said.
He advised potential entrepreneurs to begin by studying the market for their project and the timing of their launch, adding that if an emerging company is incapable of attracting investments it is taking an incorrect approach in the business.
For a company to be able to compete globally, it must gain its strength from the local market, Aboul Haz noted. He said he founded his first company at Cairo University while he was still studying, and rented an old storage area in the campus. In exchange, the university gained 15% of every deal he made, eventually allowing the university to make nearly EGP 600,000 from his company within three years.
For his part, CEO and founder of DrBridge Amir Barsoum believes an entrepreneur must learn the mechanics of obtaining the necessary investments for his projects. He explaining that if the current level of disorganisation in the sector continues, startups and entrepreneurs might have to flee to Dubai, as it is considered a regional centre for such businesses.
Barsoum said startup investments in Egypt are insufficient. They are considered developmental investments after all, he said, highlighting that the field requires immediate procedures and intervention from government agencies in order be provided with the support it needs.
Regarding negotiations with investors and choosing the most suitable investor for the stage the company is going through, cofounder of Wi-LAN Inc. Hatem Zaghloul said one of the major problems that young people face is lack of confidence in their projects during negotiations, in addition to little understanding of the legal aspects for signing contracts with investors.
Founder and CEO of KI Angel fund Khaled Ismail explained that the ability to found companies has greatly developed compared to the past, whereby entrepreneurs have the choice of a number of investors that they can compare, allowing them to choose the most suitable one. Moreover, entrepreneurs must gain the trust of investors.
Meanwhile, CEO of Ta2heel Tarek El-Fakharany said some investors have launched an electronic platform as an initiative to support the sector by offering services to entrepreneurs. This is in order to introduce them to the field of entrepreneurship more efficiently, as well as introduce them to ways of forming plans of action, the methods of establishing companies, andthe ability to differentiate between contributing companies and companies that function through other systems, like solidarity companies.