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Entrepreneur Global Stories

Kolikoo.com: An Egyptian Entrepreneur Going Global

While some people lead their entire lives with boxes of doubt depriving their ideas of sufficient room to grow, others simply refuse to take ‘no’ for an answer. A well thought of idea is worth nurturing, and all it takes is the proper soil to grow. And that’s why Egyptian entrepreneur Ibrahim Khalil, co-founder and CEO of Kolikoo.com, was persistent enough to locate the proper soils for his project to prosper, even if it meant taking it overseas.

With a rich e-commerce experience in Souq.com, Ibrahim was well equipped to take his knowledge to a younger market where both, consumers and business owners are in need for what he has to offer.

Eastern Europe E-commerce Market

According to the Eastern Europe B2C Ecommerce report released in 2013, the e-commerce market in Eastern Europe has witnessed an average growth rate of 35.7% over the year 2012, which ranks it the strongest growing e-commerce market in Europe. The report also announced that the annual growth of e-commerce sales in Eastern Europe outpaced Western Europe by 13 percentage points in 2012.

“There is a lot of potential in the Eastern European e-commerce market. First of all, only 27 million of 162 million inhabitants are shopping online – a percentage bound to increase once internet penetration is picking up pace. As demand will rise across this region, logistic services will improve, enabling retailers to serve also the less urbanized areas”, says Wijnand Jongen, Chair Statistical Board Ecommerce Europe.

A Project with Potential

Kolikoo.com is the first social e-commerce network in Bosnia & Herzegovina, a place where businesses and individuals can offer their products for sale in a social interface, combining web shop and social network business models into one business model.

Although Khalil, and co-founder Amir Ahmetovic, have been working on Kolikoo.com since 2012, it had an impressive boost as the winner of the Balkan Venture Forum which took place in Sarajevo on May 16th, 2014, and was considered as one of the most promising startups in the region, which qualified the team to participate in the European Venture Summit in Dusseldorf in December 2014.

Future Plans

According to the 2013 Eastern Europe B2C Ecommerce report, a double digit growth rate above 20% in Eastern Europe was expected for 2013, though this growth rate is estimated to reach a climax by 2017.

Meanwhile, Khalil plans on scaling out within the next 5 years through Europe, with Turkey, Czech and Italy being on top of the expansion list. He is also currently in the process of securing his first round of investments for expanding.

It is worthy to mention that Turkey has topped the 5 emerging countries in % growth, according to the 2013 Eastern Europe B2C Ecommerce report, with a 75% growth rate.

With an Egyptian e-commerce market that’s currently flooded with activity, it brings us pride to see an Egyptian entrepreneur penetrate a new fresh market with knowledge and experience obtained on Egyptian lands.

Categories
Tourism, Travel & Hospitality Uncategorized

Tourism Business Circle kick-started at Egypreneur Club

Egypt has established a worldwide brand for being a touristic destination, and tourists are interested in its rich culture and sceneries. However, the political instability is the main off-putting factors when they decide to travel to Egypt.

The question whether the Tourism industry in Egypt is recovering soon or the whole sector will continue going down the drains.

An answer to that might be

In a fabulous evening and with one of its first activities Egypreneur Club in Talaat Harb, hosted the Tourism Business Circle featuring a fabulous group of entrepreneurs and domain experts including Mr. Tarek Maher, Business Development Manager at Travelport for MENA region, Ehab Malek of e7gezonline.com, Mohamed El Fouli of Mageegi.com, Morkos Ishak of Egy-Hospitals.com and Ahmed Abdel Fatah of GenieTravelDeals.com and Mona Shokrof, Software developer interested in the sector.

As an industry outsider, I had one of the most efficient crash courses. The business circle witnessed the formation of the Tourpreneur business circle, an industry specific groups for entrepreneurs Egypreneur stated building in different sectors and intending to scale it as a part of its Membership offering.

Our discussion was based on the travelling circle: being inspired, making decisions, and planning their trips, reservations, experience and sharing.

As tourism entrepreneurs, we can engage in the inspiring and sharing process. We also found that videos are 85% more inspiring than pictures and descriptions.

The factors that influence the decision process are the

  • Pains
  • Needs
  • Social
  • Seasons,
  • Words of mouth,
  • Desire of different experience.

We will discuss further whether to corporate free Internet and free water into the travelling package.

Categories
Events

Egypreneur Crew Celebration!

In an energetic celebration took place Friday 14th of October at Al-Azhar Park, Egypreneur Crew gathered to celebrate their previous work together and get energized for the future, the gathering marked a new stage for the Crew as they start their public activities.

Egypreneur is a community of grassroots entrepreneurs, building that community is the greatest asset for all Egypreneur upcoming work. The Crew celebrated the beginning of an organized model to build Egypreneur community, a signup page is now with our community team members across the country as they organize casual gatherings and guerilla activities to invite people to become Egypreneur(s) and expand the community of entrepreneurs all around Egypt.

The signup page, which will be used for our social network afterwards is going to be available in the upcoming events that’s open to promote entrepreneurship to its audiences, our community team will be identifying these events and activities and invite participants to signup!

By 5PM Egypreneur friends who signed up to attend the celebration joined in, after a very interested round introduction during which they spoke about (Google Ebda2, ArabNet Conference, Education vs. Career, Public Speaking and energetically shared the positive energy towards building the New Egypt) while signing up for Egypreneur.

After the introduction and break, attendees split in 2 focus groups and a networking area.

First focus group for entrepreneurs support, identifying what entrepreneurs in Egypt need and how Egypreneur can help them was lead by Ahmed AbdelFatah our PR Executive and contained very interesting discussions and suggestions. Egypreneur CEO, Abdelrahman Magdy asked the focus group members for their views about the financial model they think would be best for sustaining Egypreneur and a lot of interesting suggestions had been shared.

The second focus group was about Za7ma the Cairo Traffic problem in Cairo, led by Sherif Ahmed the Za7ma project manager, the focus group included entrepreneurs already running ICT projects to help solving Za7ma and students working on their graduation project to solve the same problem.

Around the focus groups, attendees enjoyed networking, chatting and discussing how they can possibly work together to advance their projects.

Egypreneur Crew received very positive feedback on the gathering and wishes for more, attendees was promised of a lot more gatherings in the coming period as the community team starts its public activities.





After this gathering, Egypreneur community team will be organizing and/or participating in at least one activity per week in every city around Egypt, where the signup form will be available.

Categories
General

Optimism, is it real?

I state being optimistic about the future and what it brings at all times. That includes the Egyptian economy that might be going through hard times currently as warnings show that: Egypt might go bankrupt in 6 months. I learned that people conceive that optimism differently and some might consider it lack of understanding, hiding head in the sand or self-manipulation.

I believe that positivity and optimism are more of a way of life other than an attitude we selectively have when things are going well. Being a Muslim, my religious belief teaches that everything happens for the best including failures, difficulties and hard times and that my role as a human being is to heartfully submit to the will of god in all that I don’t have direct control over and then change reality with the power god has given me, which is endless!

While observing tweets about the economic and political situation in Egypt currently, I find it mostly sarcasm and crying over a situation you’re a part of; the story of prophet Joseph occurred to me and found it a brilliant representation to while objectively and realistically facing challenges, staying positive and optimistic at all times other than crying over a situation you’re not objectively working on solving.

The king of Egypt called Prophet Joseph telling him a dream he had – Having the talent to interpret dreams – he didn’t went on describing the fact that Egypt will be going through deadly seven years, but he directly described what should be done about it and how to tackle the situation and get through it with minimum losses.

We’ll be always faced with obstacles, challenges and hard times while realistic realization of the situation and an an objective plan to get through it is obviously a must, I believe the attitude and emotions involved during these times should still be positivity and optimism and that stating being optimistic during these times, is not being an unrealistic dreamer, but maybe a natural optimist and a firm believer.

As an entrepreneur, you’ll have to rely on your internally generated positive energy when the things you need to get done, teams you have to lead, people you have to deal with, disputes you have to go through and challenges you have to face demands more and more energy, positivity and optimism.

What about you, what motivates you to stay positive and optimistic during hard times?

Abdelrahman Magdy

Abdelrahman Magdy

Founder & CEO

Abdo is an Entrepreneur, Founder and MD of Al-Adham Co. and involved with running several entrepreneurial activities, started Egypreneur 2008, sustained it, developed its strategies, recruited the crew and currently leading its strategic and executive work!

Categories
General

Egypt, The Startup Nation 2.0

Have you ever heard of the “Startup Nation” term before? Probably we are all familiar with the “Nation” part of it 🙂 .. Still the “Startup” part can somehow be a new term to many, especially those who are not into business.

A “Startup”, as defined in Wikipedia, is a company with a limited operating history. These companies, generally newly created, are in a phase of development and research for markets. The term became internationally popular during the dot-com bubble that occurred roughly in the second nibble of the 90s ending around 2000. During this bubble a great number of dot-com companies were founded enriching what we call now the IT industry.

Although startup companies may come in any form, still the phrase “Startup Company” is often associated with high growth, and mostly technology-oriented companies. On the contrary, we have the “Established Business” term which we can use with companies like IBM, Intel, General Motors, etc. Successful startups are typically more scalable than an established business, in the sense that they can potentially grow rapidly with limited investment of capital, labor or land.

Back to our “Startup Nation” term, should we now understand it as the nation with the ‘largest’ number of startups or namely ‘successful’ startups? From my own personal point of view, unsuccessful startups are also successful in a way they contribute to the successful ones who learn from their failure. Still, the number of startups within a nation is insignificant until they positively contribute to the nation’s economy. But what about the “2.0” part that we missed all the way? Does it mean that there is already 1.0? The straight answer comes from DAN SENOR’s & SAUL SINGER’s book “Startup Nation: The story of Israel’s economic miracle”.

YES, Israel is the current Startup Nation or what we technologically version as Startup Nation 1.0. Being an Egyptian doesn’t make me disbelieve in this fact. The economy of Israel is a technologically advanced market economy, consisting of rapidly developing high-tech sector, mainly innovative startups, which is backed by a strong Venture Capital Industry. Israel is known for being a world leader in software, telecommunications and semiconducturs development industries. Amazingly, it’s also known for being relatively poor in natural, and probably human, resources that make up greatest nations. Israel depends on imports of coal, food, petroleum and the latest “Natural Gas” from our own beloved Egyptian Nation.

A huge effort was done to make Israel the current Startup Nation. This effort came from three main tributaries: Government, Entrepreneurs and Investors. The erudite, eighty three year old, two-time prime minister and Nobel Prize winner Shimon Perez along with the thirty nine year old smart geek, who is of an Iraqi origins, Shai Agassi make the best example of the cooperation between Israeli state government and Israeli entrepreneurs leading to the Startup Nation 1.0. Perez invited the CEO’s of the world’s five largest carmakers to let Shai pitch his electric car idea in front of them. Doesn’t it look odd to pitch an electric car idea in 2007? Electric cars were popular in the late-19th century and early 20th century, until advances in internal combustion engine technology and mass production of cheaper gasoline vehicles led to a decline in the use of electric drive vehicle. The idea of the electric car came back to the scene after the huge rise in oil prices during 2000’s. Shai decided to make a national project that allows Israel to be completely independent from neighbouring, enemy, oil and natural gas. The good news here is that his, most probably 5 minute, pitch managed to raise a fund of $200 million dollars, $130 million out of the total amount came from only one risk-taking Israeli investor who wanted to build a better Israeli state. This Shai’s pitch made his “Better Place” company the fifth-largest startup in the whole history. No brainer a state like this is the world’s Startup Nation given such persistent government, smart innovative entrepreneurs and risk-taking investors.

Israel’s military service is obligatory the same way it is in Egypt. Yet, the service is due after the completion of high school education; unlike in Egypt. I won’t spend much comparing our military service to Israel’s. I will let you do that by your own after telling you about one of Israel’s military service programs/units. “Talpiot” program has the distinction of being both the most selective unit and the one that subjects its soldiers to the longest training course in the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF)—fourty-one months. This is comparable to our military service training camp of 45 days (now probably shortened after #Jan25 revolution). Those who enter the program sign on for an extra six years in the military, so their minimum obligatory service is a total of nine years! What’s so good about this program that imprisons people for whole nine years!

Each year, the top 2% of Israeli high school students are asked to try out – two thousand students. Of these, only one in ten pass a battery of tests mainly in “Physics” and “Math”!! (Physics and Math as a qualification to the military service!!!!!). These two hundred students are then run through two days of intensive personality and aptitude testing (this reminds me of the screening tests of Police Academy in EgyptJ). Once admitted into the program, Talpiot cadets blaze through an accelerated university degree in math of physics while they are introduced to the technological needs of all IDF branches. The academic training they receive goes beyond what the typical university student would receive in Israel or anywhere else—they study more, in less time to get university degrees comparable to those obtained from MIT, Berkeley and Stanford. They also go through basic training with the paratroopers. The idea is to give them an overview of all the major IDF branches so that they understand both the technology and military needs – and specially the connection between them. The Talpiot program as a whole is under Mafat, the IDF’s internal research and development arm, which is parallel to America’s DARPA (can we call the Arab Organization for Industrialization “AOI”, the Egyptian Army arm for R&D???). Mafat has the coveted and sensitive job of assigning each Talpiot cadet (Talpion) to a specific unit in the IDF for their next six years of regular service.

Talpiot training is optimized to maintain the IDF’s technological edge, the same combination of leadership experience and technical knowledge is ideal for creating new companies. Although the program has produced only about 650 graduates since founded after the historical defeat against Egypt in 6th of October war, they have become some of Israel’s top academics and founders of the state’s most successful companies. NICE systems, the global corporation behind call-monitoring systems used by 85 of the Forbes 100 companies, was founded by a team of Talpions. So was Campugen, a leader in human-gnome decoding and drug development. Many of the Israeli technology companies traded on the NASDAQ were either founded by a Talpion or have alumni situated in key roles. We need to know that, after the United States, Israel has more companies listed on the NASDAQ than any other country in the world, including India, China, Korea, Singapore and Ireland.

More stories can be narrated about how Israel became the current Startup Nation. Still, this is not the end. They will do more to sustain their success and grow their illegal state. But where are we? What is our reaction towards that? Should we even have a reaction?

Yes, we have to have a reaction. We successfully moved one step forward towards being an independent nation. We made a peaceful successful revolution against dictatorship that inspired even our enemies. We should continue to build a great nation. I, personally, believe that “Economy Comes First”. We should have a national dream, not like Turkey’s, not like Malaysia’s, not like Korea’s, not even like the United States’ or Israel’s. We should have our own model that, once again, redirects the history towards this part of the world called Egypt. We should be the Startup Nation 2.0 in less than 10 years. Israel could have muscles but lacks both the spirit and belief behind to achieve victory. We have the true belief and divine spirit and all we want now is to work out our muscles.

Mohammad Omara

Mohammad Omara

Community Manager Alexandria

Mohammad is one of the most outspoken individuals about entrepreneurship in Egypt, he’s the lead organizer of Startup Weekend Alex and managing Egypreneur community in Alexandria!

Categories
General

We are all Egypreneur(s)!

The best things about Egypreneur Crew is that entrepreneurial spirit you can sense in every single crew member. Every crew member either already had been running a business for a while or working on starting one, that’s why Egypreneur doesn’t feel like work to us it’s our passion and what we need as entrepreneurs to keep moving forward.

That gives us the opportunity to deeply understand entrepreneurs needs and obstacles they (we) face. Actually we’re very fortunate to interact with Egyptian entrepreneurs on a daily basis in the projects we execute or the events we sponsor. The best feeling ever is when we get to help an entrepreneur or give his project a needed push.

For me being the Co-Founder of 7elme a startup creating the perfect environment for dreamers and achievers to share, talk about and push their dreams forward while enjoying bringing them to reality, I can reflect my experience as an entrepreneur to my work with Egypreneur.

Through 7el.me we believe that all ambitious people can be connected together and work on their dreams, also when a group of people share one dream, they need a tool to help them organize their thoughts and ideas to combine their efforts in a better way. All of that will certainly lead to increasing success stories in the community and that’s what we all aspire to.

I am a huge believer in entrepreneurship and as a Marketing Executive at Egypreneur, my role is to spread entrepreneurship spirit in Egypt. In Egypreneur we look to it from 2 angles, the ecosystem development and grassroots promotion:

First, thinking that the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Egypt is lacking an organized structure and practical approach to encourage, support and sustain entrepreneurs’ work; through Egypreneur we’re establishing that organized structure. Activities like entrepreneurship booth during Cairo ICT and the Cairo Traffic (Za7ma) project and the “entrepreneurs support center” we’re working on is a good example of how we’re tackling this.

Secondly is promoting entrepreneurship to grassroots, that can be seen in some of our activities like our booth during ESEA Job Fair showing Computer Science fresh graduates that if you didn’t find any company you like at the fair then maybe building your own business is what you need to be doing.

Also I am sure you’ll be hearing more and more about the great work S3Geeks are doing to develop Upper Egypt and similar activities will be rolled out soon.

Here at Egypreneur, our ultimate objective is to evolve Egypt into a startup nation, being a group of entrepreneurs ourselves gives us the passion, drive and perseverance and of course we can’t do it without regular interactions with such an vibrant community of Egypeneur(s).

Sherif Ahmed

Sherif Ahmed

Marketing Executive

Sherif is a firm executive and smart marketer, he’s one of the main driving engines of Egypreneur, currently leading its marketing activities and managing our #CairoTraffic project.