Localizing Entrepreneurship - 138 Pyramids

Localizing Entrepreneurship

January 31, 2016

Egypt is witnessing a rebirth. This rebirth, however, may not garner enough international headlines or the object of sensationalism by the press. This youth-driven rebirth is one of creativity, innovation, and advancement. The rebirth we speak of is that of entrepreneurship.

Cairo is fast becoming the epicenter of an entrepreneurial revolution in the Middle East. With countless events being thrown to support start-ups, the most notable of which is the RiseUp Summit, we have witnessed great ideas coming to life. Youth are increasingly proposing ways to change the business status quo with alternative ways of thinking, while often including social impact and advancement into their work. The ripple effect of this is vast, with youth increasingly looking to entrepreneurship as a means of making their mark on the world.

However, despite this great step forward, our journey is far from complete. As a veteran in the field of entrepreneurship, having established several companies, we are witnessing one area we are severely lacking in – localization. The recent entrepreneurial push seems to have transplanted models from other countries around the world and applied them to the Egyptian context. While this is a great stepping stone, and we are by no means a proponent of reinventing the wheel, we strongly believe that localizing entrepreneurship is necessary in order to cater to the local context and truly scale the start-up scene.

138 Pyramids is our own answer to the localization dilemma. When making the decision to enter the entrepreneurship support space, we looked at what we could add to this burgeoning ecosystem. This led us to the core components of what 138 Pyramids look for in a business to support. As a strong believer in the power and potential of youth, we decided that would be our starting point. With increasing interest in the field of tech startups, we decided to diversify the pool of applicants with an eye on non tech-enabled businesses as well. Looking at the Cairo-focused and English language predominated ecosystem emerging, we would like to bring in bright and innovative minds from governorates across Egypt that are creating labor-intensive businesses. And finally, with the growing gap between incubators and VC funds, we aim to create a hybrid model that we at 138 Pyramids proudly call the Pyramid Model.

The Pyramid Model (which will be discussed in depth in later blog posts) is a means of coupling investment with ongoing incubation and support services. By creating this model, and targeting a more expansive group of entrepreneurs, we are tapping into a diverse target group that would benefit from intensive support. We believe this approach will bolster the ecosystem and complement the current actors by supporting an inclusive and locally-relevant model. This is surely no small feat, but something that is greatly needed not only to advance our economic situation, but to invest in our youth capital – the latter of which is key to Egypt’s rebirth.

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