In a vast area in the heart of downtown Cairo, Egyptian women from various fields have gathered in exchange of experiences, success stories and networking opportunities as part of ‘She Can 2018′ annual event organized by Entreprenelle.
Entreprenelle is an enterprise that aims to further integrate women in the business and the entrepreneurial fields. The annual event was held on 2 and 3 March at the GrEEk Campus offering a number of talks, workshops and a showcase of products and innovations by Egypt’s women.
Stage speakers started by hosting The Doodle Factory Co-founders Farah el-Masry and Yasmeen Khamis who launched an Egyptian brand that allows underprivileged children to turn their artwork into designed products. It was followed by an energizing talk by fitness enthusiasts Norshek Fawzy and Nabil Rostom who co-founded The Wellness Log and Jumpsuite, a fitness tech-company based in the United States.
Among the speakers were Hamsa Mansour, Egypt’s first female solo-cyclist to go around Egypt in an exceptional trip and Actress Yasmeen Ghaith who shared her battle against cancer and her journey to survival.
The Founder of Entreprenelle Rania Ayman said that every year they faced different challenges. “We were trying to offer, or to satisfy, girls of different backgrounds or different professional fields, they don’t have all the same basis, so this for us a big challenge.”
She explained that they started by offering the event to a small number of people to introduce what entrepreneurship is. “Last year we had an event with 500 girls, this year we had 1500 girls,” she added that they have developed from introducing talks only to including workshops, activities, sessions and mentorships to grow bigger.
“I was very keen that all of these people really benefit from the event; there weren’t many challenges as much as there was excitement […] the positive vibes of the place turned challenges into an adventure,” Yara El-Braidy, host of the event, told Egyptian Streets.
The event also hosted many innovations by Egyptian women entrepreneurs who take their first steps into the field of business innovation. Booths featuring businesses of pastries, artwork, career advising services among others, stood nearby the stage that featured the talks of different women.
Egyptian Streets spoke to the Founder of Matba5 Immy Dina Dahmash who shared her passion for her business idea originating from her country Palestine.
“I was doing something that I love[such as] cooking so I wanted people to taste the good food and introduce them to Palestinian food so that they know this culture,” said Dahmash.
Dahmash is a Palestinian woman who has been living in Egypt for 40 years. She said that her business is self-funded and she uses word of mouth to grow her business. She added that finding “loyal and permanent” workers were among her biggest challenges. She found the solution in a rather unexpected labor force. […]
“I hired women who work from home. The women who can’t leave their homes to work, or for any reason, their husbands don’t approve. So, I picked a few women, I made sure that their homes are clean, their work is clean [and they got the job],” clarifying that she has three or four women who work from home.
Audience members had different opinions regarding the event’s planning and organizations in addition to the pricing of the tickets. Most of the attendees interviewed expressed a genuine interest in the workshops rather than a public talk to ensure learning and exposure to opportunities.
“I came to the event because I needed a support system to remind me of the days of university, activities, [activities and events found here remind me that] it develops a person a lot. It opens new ideas that might be distant from you,” Andiana Essam told Egyptian Streets, who graduated 8 years ago.
Toqa, one of the attendees, said that she has enjoyed the event in general but her main interest has been the workshops focused on communication skills. Amal Badr, another attendee, shared the same opinion however she stressed on the unavailability of access to all workshops as they are scheduled at the same time when important speakers are on stage.
Nouran has complained about the lack of organization in regards to announcing the opening of registration for workshops. “I was surprised when I found no space to attend a workshop […] turns out we had to register an hour before a workshop starts to guarantee access which was never announced,” said Nouran. She also added that workshops are more beneficial and an added value to her as the speakers could be easily approached individually.
On the other hand, Rania commented on the talks of the speakers saying that all of them have shared their success stories, but none said how they started ‘which is why I am here in the first place’. She continued saying “I need to know how to start rather than what they have done”.
She further added that the price of the ticket is expensive noting that it only grants you access to the event; “I still have expenses for two days including food and drinks that are not cheap,” she added.
Entreprenelle was founded in 2015 and it has been introducing ‘She Can’ annual events for three consecutive years.