CiviConnectors: Sparking innovation and network creation in Egypt’s CivicTech Sector

Connection is the first thread in the fabric of communities. People are connectors by nature. Over the past few decades, technology has revolutionized our connection norms, influencing our lifestyle with mobile apps or real-time platforms that cover several aspects, including our daily interactions with public services and administrative needs. With CiviConnectors, we are delving into the means of empowering technology-focused solutions that can enhance the connection of communities and individuals in Egypt with public services and provide them with inclusive, seamless experiences nationwide.

In partnership with InnoPA’s GIZ Egypt, we are thrilled to launch the CiviConnectors program, dedicated to driving progress across the civic technology ecosystem in Egypt. 

The program comprises two complementary pillars:

    • CiviConnectors’ network: bringing together stakeholders across all levels in the tech ecosystem that encompasses startups, technology experts, investors, academic researchers, corporate professionals, and public sector representatives focused on solutions for improving the quality of life for people living in Egypt.
    • CiviConnectors’ program for startups: providing direct financial support, training, mentoring, and market access to tech-enabled startups and innovators to develop challenge-based, citizen-centric solutions that can promote active involvement of Egyptians with public services, creating streamlined and accessible experiences.

The purpose is to create a holistic infrastructure that can support the network members, the program participants, and of course, their solutions that can ultimately contribute to sustainable development in Egypt.

Through the CiviConnectors network, members take part in regular networking activities, opening dialogues within the sector on a local and international scale, sharing experiences, identifying civic technology challenges, and supporting the participants throughout their journeys of developing their digital citizen-centric solutions.

Who are the CiviConnectors?

With the name CiviConnectors, we are meant to reach innovators and changemakers in Egypt, from business owners to growing entrepreneurs, who are committed to driving impact by fostering accessibility and connection between citizens and public services with their digital solutions. The program aims to support them in transforming their solutions’ prototypes into minimum viable products (MVPs) that can be marketed and applied all across the country.

How does the CiviConnectors’ program for startups work?

CiviConnectors kicks off with a nationwide open call, where we invite tech startups and entrepreneurs across Egypt to submit solutions as concepts or digital prototypes for the posted challenges through an application formBy the end of a 20-day selection process, the program commences its first activity, the Idea Competition.

From the filtered applications, 15 teams will be selected to present their solutions to a jury of industry experts in a one-day competition event. Before joining, the selected teams will attend a virtual bootcamp to receive pitch training in preparation for the competition.

Through the idea competition, six teams will be selected to advance to the second and final stage of the program, the 6-month Incubation, where each team lead will receive direct financial support of 600 Euros per month, dedicated mentoring, and additional resources, including business development training and a technical expertise budget of up to 4,000 Euros, besides becoming part of the CiviConnectors network.

Why does the program focus on Civic Technology in the first place?

Civic technology, or CivicTech, is one of the focal sectors that has evolved worldwide over the past few years. As the world is transforming into a digital village, the demand for digitizing all services is growing every day. 

That’s why the CivicTech sector still holds tremendous opportunities for economies to promote inclusive growth—providing communities with the chance to contribute to designing digital applications for public services that can ease their everyday interactions. Entrepreneurs, startups, and SMEs can also play a crucial role in this sector, building virtual bridges across different verticals with their intuitive data systems, mobile apps, or digital platform solutions, thereby adding direct value to economies and making a tangible change in people’s lives.

Zooming into Egypt’s dynamic tech ecosystem: According to the 2021 Egyptian Startup Ecosystem Report, the country boasted over 560 tech startups that represent around 20% of the up-and-running tech startups across Africa. Additionally, the Information and Communication Technologies sector reached a 16.7% growth rate in FY 2021/2022 and aims to contribute 5% to the GDP by the end of this year. 

Given this progress, we have designed the CiviConnectors network to be an active exchange platform that can drive further growth across the sector. Through it, we aim to bridge gaps between knowledge and action by combining industry expertise and innovation endeavors to develop challenge-based, innovative solutions.

Driving innovation in Egypt’s transportation and urban development

Egypt also witnessed a surge in its transportation facilities and urban infrastructure. Smart cities and seamless mobility are already part of the country’s strategy towards sustainable development.

That’s why the first track of the CiviConnectors program focuses on digital prototypes for solutions in the sectors of transportation and urban planning and development. As part of our preparations for launching the program, we chatted with experts in CivicTech, along with business founders and academics in both sectors. We aimed to further understand the needs for innovation with the country’s growing population and the rapid progress happening across these sectors. 

The output was the two main challenges that CiviConnectors aims to tackle in the meantime:

    • Developing digital solutions/services for the Egyptian transport system that contribute to sustainable mobility, increasing capacity, or help provide a seamless experience for public transportation in Egypt
    • Developing digital technologies and tools to manage and plan the use of land to accommodate the population and improve the quality of life

What’s next?

We plan to launch two tracks of the CiviConnectors program; each will be tackling different challenges across Egypt’s CivicTech ecosystem. The first is now open for applications —Do you know someone who is seeking such an opportunity? Encourage them to learn more about the CiviConnectors support program and apply today!

And if you work or partner with tech-focused key players, feel free to sign up for the CiviConnectors network, and let’s connect!

Junior Communications Manager

Noha is the Communications Coordinator at enpact. She is a content writer and storyteller,  skilled in Journalism, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Interviewing Subject Matter Experts, Newspapers, and Magazine Articles.

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