Amid an inspirational atmosphere, the Greek Campus in Downtown Cairo stood witness to the fierce Empowering Egyptian Young Women Entrepreneurs competition for an entire day on October 10. With a surge of optimistic and creative minds that gathered 143 young women entrepreneurs from all over Egypt, the competitors arrived to the capital city in hopes of pitching their future start-up ideas amidst a wide presence of potential investors.
The competition, organized by Hudson Egypt, which took place as part of the Young Woman Entrepreneur Development Program (YWED-P), saw an impressive initial application flux of 1,800, out of whom, only 143 proceeded to the competition. Passing through several pitching rounds, during which judges and attendees voted for the ideas, three winners were selected.
“The program aims at encouraging ambitious young female entrepreneurs nationwide, especially those in rural areas in a number of governorates and in Upper Egypt, who have ideas for future start-up projects in various fields,” said Abd el-Aziz Salah el-Deen, CEO of Hudson Egypt.
“These fields include education, marketing, management, health, culture, fashion and renewable energy,” he added.
According to Walid el-Gendy, program project manager, the competition succeeded at attracting the sound ideas of young females in Upper Egypt and rural governorates, where the opportunities are limited and rather scarce.
El-Gendy added that the 143 winning candidates’ ideas attracted many investors who seek to invest in the young women’s ideas, and fund their projects.
The winning pitches were selected according to originality, sound business model, chances of success and the number of job opportunities they offer.
Among the candidates was Hanan el-Sayed, 20, who told Egyptian Streets how she faced several challenges in order to make it from Sohag to Cairo. El-Sayed arrived to Cairo hoping to pitch her idea about reviving the industry of wool in her city, including how to make better use of the industry’s wastes, and shedding light on the various benefits of wool.
El-Sayed explained that the wool industry was so prominent in the town of Akhamim in Sohag since the era of Pharaohs. During that period, Egypt was considered the top exporter of wool worldwide.
On a different spectrum of ideas, another participant discussed the necessity of preparing school students to think in an entrepreneurial way.
Stemming from a dire need, the enthusiastic entrepreneur explained how young women in Upper Egypt are constantly seeking change by countering the wrong taboos and misconceptions of society. However, she adds that in order to succeed at their quest, many girls in impoverished villages need to be addressed and introduced with a set of different perspectives.
In order to guarantee that the majority of participants concluded the event with added value, 100 candidates out of the 143 were selected to attend a training program on how to convert ideas to real projects.
By the end of the event, three winners were qualified to attend the 2015 World of the Women (WoW) Conference on November 18-19 in Cairo.
In addition, according to the event organizers, the first place winner was offered the opportunity to deliver a speech in front of 350 businesswomen and men during the WoW conference.
Given the inevitable reliance on networking for achieving success as an aspiring entrepreneur, WoW poses as an excellent networking opportunity to maximize women’s potentials, cultivating leadership and forging unconventional partnerships to turn ideas into action.