Our Startup Haus Cairo: Captivating Entrepreneurial Narratives From The Heart Of The City
In downtown Cairo, you can easily spot the city’s contradictions. At every corner, you will meet charming vintage architecture opposite bustling traffic and people from all walks of life holding on to different aspirations and facing similar challenges.
Zooming into Talaat Harb Street, up into the Ouzonian building, you will find the Startup Haus Cairo (SHC), home to a vibrant community of entrepreneurs who share a common goal to create change with their businesses and solve many of the challenges we face in our daily lives.
Over 2021, our Startup Haus Cairo hosted
- 8 startups operated from their private offices
- 86 events took place in our Arena
- 98 workshops & meetups took place in our indoor spaces
- 6,020 event attendees
- 1,960 workshop attendees
“It’s always the good vibes, the reliable services, and the like-minded people whom we meet at Startup Haus Cairo that enrich our journey. I can say that a huge part of my network developed because of this community.” — Amr Abodraiaa, Co-founder and CEO of Rology.
Amr Abodraiaa is the very first entrepreneur who chose Startup Haus Cairo as a location for his startup. He first heard about it while participating in enpact’s International Mentoring Program in 2017. The idea for Startup Haus Cairo follows the same concept of the previous Startup Haus we founded and managed in Tunis.
“It may sound astonishing, but I signed the rental contract for our office even before the opening of Startup Haus Cairo itself,” Amr recounts. “In the beginning as a team of four, we used to work all the time from coworking spaces. So it was a great opportunity for our business to find a ready-to-move-in office in an accessible location like downtown”.
With its slogan, “We save lives” Rology is on a mission to solve the shortage of radiologists in the region and eliminate the risks associated with late or bad quality reports. The company offers an on-demand tele-radiology platform connecting hospitals and radiology centers in Africa and the MENA region to highly qualified radiologists across the globe. To date, this med-tech startup has saved over 290,000 lives in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, and Kenya and raised a total of around 1.6 million USD in funding since its establishment.
Something really beautiful and inspiring happened in autumn 2021. We witnessed the reunion of Amr and his team with Maha Alusi, their first enpact mentor from back in 2017. The bonds, friendship and impact built then outlasted the actual program itself. And this time, Maha met more than the first four team members as Rology has grown and now includes 20+ employees in Egypt along with 50+ remote radiologists worldwide.
An empowering environment for creating milestones and celebrating achievements
“In February 2021, I decided to have an office space at Startup Haus Cairo, and since then, our business exposure and sales have developed noticeably! For me, Startup Haus Cairo is not just an office; it has been a big part of my entrepreneurial journey and my second home” — Ragy Ramadan, CEO and founder of Green Energy Academy.
Ragy Ramadan is the first green entrepreneur to join our “InHausers” community, which is our name for the entrepreneurs whose businesses operate from SHC. With his Green Energy Academy, he delivers renewable energy services and offers German-accredited renewable energy training programs and professional consultations in Egypt and Africa.
In December 2021, Ragy announced the establishment of a sister company to his startup, NoorNation, which he says is “the first Egypt-based clean energy startup that brings sustainable decentralized energy and water infrastructure solutions to the off-grid sector”.
A one-stop-shop for entrepreneurs on a journey of growth
Both Rology and Green Energy Academy, plus 138 other Egyptian businesses, are part of enpact’s Empowering Entrepreneurship Initiative. Participants receive a curated combination of training, mentoring, and direct financial support to help them recover from the pandemic. We are glad that both innovative startups operate from Startup Haus Cairo.
Empowerment along the way with the Startup Haus Cairo
Startup Haus Cairo is not only a physical space that boasts the needed resources and necessary infrastructure to establish a local business. It has also developed into a gateway for entrepreneurs to learn new perspectives, find guidance, and access enpact’s global network of over 600 experts and mentors.
Its venues hosted countless demo days and celebrations for milestones. Basically, the Startup Haus Cairo serves as the hardware for the implementation of many of enpact’s programs on the ground. Earlier this year, for example, it hosted the hybrid demo day of enpact’s International Mentoring Program in Europe + Africa. Over this eight-month program, nine participants from Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa, Germany, Denmark and Senegal worked with dedicated mentors to develop their businesses, which empower women in tech. For the program’s last milestone, all of the participants tuned in to, or were at, Startup Haus Cairo and amazingly pitched their businesses, showcasing the significant progress they achieved during the program in front of a panel of seven global experts.
Reliable partnerships for visions coming true
Since its inception in 2018, SHC has been a space for creating partnerships with a positive, long-term impact, the basis of which is our long-standing partnership with the Drosos Foundation. This trust-based relationship allowed us to develop the Startup Haus Cairo to become a leading actor in the Cairene ecosystem. The Drosos Foundation — which has been active in Egypt since 2005 — started with economic empowerment, supporting underprivileged segments of society and promoting creative industries initiated by youth. A myriad of ventures and partnerships have been growing under its umbrella to solve the country’s challenges and foster social entrepreneurship. Combining our forces was a natural choice and has resulted in very impactful achievements.
Both enpact and the Drosos Foundation share a holistic vision of driving the Egyptian startup scene forward. Represented by its regional manager, Wessam El Beih, the Swiss organization supported enpact in establishing Startup Haus Cairo as the enpact hub in the MENA region.
Between 2018 and 2021, 4,000+ community members have utilized the physical space for different occasions. Additionally, we are catering to the needs of a digital community of around 17,000 followers. Constant interaction takes place through the SHC social media channels, with a focus on providing access to opportunities. The most prominent and recent example is the promotion of enpact’s Tourism Recovery Program in June 2021.
What was the pandemic’s impact on the Startup Haus Cairo?
The year 2020 changed billions of lives. Needless to say, our activities at Startup Haus Cairo were also affected. After Egypt’s short lockdown was lifted, we resumed hosting physical events, following the required health regulations and restrictions. We downsized the capacity of our venues to half while working with our community according to the official workplace guidelines.
Conveying insights, news and informative resources to our community members has always remained our focus. The result is that, throughout 2021, our audience grew by 35% on Facebook, 110% on Instagram and 148% on LinkedIn, an audience that includes entrepreneurs, freelancers, experts, investors, mentors, creatives and local ecosystem players.
A diverse community & dynamic partners
Housing this diverse community enabled us to build partnerships across different sectors and regions. Seven new partners joined our network in 2021. In Upper Egypt, we now work with NubiaVest, a growing economic empowerment platform that aims to connect investors and entrepreneurs in creative industries to revive the Nubian heritage.
In the technology sector, we partnered up with Wuilt, an easy-to-use platform for building informative websites or online stores within minutes. Wuilt offers its services at discounted prices exclusively to entrepreneurs in our community to help them start their online presence.
In the realm of arts and culture, we now have partners that are catering to the needs of artists, advocates and media creatives, such as The Egyptian Film Producers Club, The Nada Foundation for Safer Egyptian Roads, Breaking Walls Festival and 404.eg.
“Can you imagine how many talents among us need exposure? Thanks to enpact and Startup Haus Cairo, we were able to showcase the ‘Holter Stills’ photography exhibition. It allowed over 60 artists to showcase their best artwork,” says Yousef Mansour, a 19-year-old entrepreneur who founded 404.eg as a platform to protect the diversity of cultural and art expression in Egypt.
Holter Stills went on for three days and included talks and discussions delivered by art and media professionals in Egypt along with live musical performances and short film screenings presented by young artists.
Last year, 184 events, ranging from weekly workshops to team meetups, bootcamps, photography exhibitions, live dance performances and film screenings took place at our space. They are the direct result of the amazing work our partners are doing. Each event provided us, the Startup Haus team, with a new opportunity to watch and learn as much as the audience themselves. Any moment captured at one of these events provides a glimpse of how entrepreneurs are eagerly working on a pool of solutions to solve many of modern life’s contradictions and add value to our future. We are forever grateful to them for choosing Startup Haus Cairo and for making us part of such life-changing journeys.
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To learn more insights about our work in Egypt and across the world, you can now download the 3rd edition of our Yearbook!