The evening of Thursday, 28th June 2018, heralded yet another first in the Egyptian startup scene. A diversity of entrepreneurs and investors thronged leafy Maadi for a gathering of some of the best minds in the ecosystem, to brainstorming about the future of investing in startups in Egypt and the rest of the world. The event which witnessed the gathering of entrepreneurs and investors was the brainchild of KMT, in partnership with Hivos and Icealex, was held at KMT House.
The central theme of the networking event revolved around Impact Investing and the Future of Startups, and it was organized as part of Icealex’s Mentoring-Up programme. The interactive session featured a pool of active investors in the startup scene. Some promising startups and their supporting organizations were also represented in the event which is expected to lay the groundwork for the introduction of the Egyptian startup ecosystem to the potentials that are in the offing with impact investing.
As pointed out by Keith Wallace, Senior Investment Manager at Hivos Impact Investment, the initiative behind the event is geared towards setting companies on the right trajectory so as to bring about greater turnover, improved services, happier customers and employees, as well as interest and inputs from investors which could take the form of investments, grants or even loans. The move is expected to put budding enterprises in better stead for garnering and taking advantage of the opportunities that impact investing could bring.
The event’s keynote speech, as delivered by the Dutch Ambassador to Egypt, Laurens Westhoff, stressed the significance of impact investing and the importance that social entrepreneurship might yet hold in both Egypt and the Netherlands. Coming in the aftermath of the keynote speech delivered by the distinguished ambassador, Ahmed Bastawy, Founder and Managing Director of Icealex, addressed the gathering with a welcome note and his speech culminated in highlighting and reaffirming the firm’s commitment to restructuring the entrepreneurial culture both locally and regionally. The company’s drive towards further spreading the word of the good tidings that impact investing can bring to businesses to bring about collaborative efforts from all the stakeholders was also an area that was trodden by the Icealex executive.
One of the highlights of the event came in its later stages in the form of a panel discussion session which explored the impact investments climate and the future of the startup ecosystem in North Africa. Also worthy of mention were a Mentoring-Up session and an interactive session which allowed for some networking between entrepreneurs and potential investors. Since the establishment of the initiative in February of this year, Icealex’s tailored Mentoring-Up program has channeled effort towards mentoring, coaching and guiding startups in strategic fields. It appears that latest foray into impact investing, in partnership with KMT House, amongst others, is motivated by the need to explore newer dimensions and expand frontiers in a bid to further the growth of startups in the region.