Endeavor Entrepreneur-led companies, Almouneer, Smart Medical Services and Swvl, were among the seven high-growth scale-up businesses selected this year to represent the Egyptian entrepreneurship ecosystem at the 2019 Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), held in the Hague, Netherlands from June 3-5, 2019.
GES is a global annually-held entrepreneurship convention that gathers ‘next-generation’ entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers and other participants from around the world as a platform for innovators to facilitate connections with foreign investors who can assist them in international scaling and expansion. GES connects governments and the private sector, allowing companies to not only seize new investment opportunities but also to lobby for adapted regulations.
“You get really inspired and motivated by the positive, energetic vibes you feel at GES,” shared Amr El Tayeb, Founder of Smart Medical Services, as he reflected on his experience at the summit.
This year’s GES was organized jointly by the US Department of State and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, bringing together 1,200 entrepreneurs, 350 investors as well as policymakers, thought leaders, inspirers, and journalists for a conference, festival and marketplace all in one.
From Egypt, the delegation also included the entrepreneurs from Elves, Breadfast, Chitosan and Agrimatic Farms.
“Ultimately, everyone at GES has the same end goal - to be more creative and innovative. This shows you how, while entrepreneurship is not easy, it is also very exciting,” Al-Tayeb added.
Endeavor Egypt Entrepreneurs have had significant presence at past GES events, including Chris Khalifa, CEO of Zooba, who participated in 2017, and Mai Medhat, CEO of Eventtus, who in 2016 shared the stage with Former US President Barack Obama, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and other prominent entrepreneurs.
The 2019 program included keynote lectures by notable speakers, panel discussions and several matchmaking activities with a special focus on this year’s ‘The Future Now’ theme, covering five critical areas: Agriculture/Food, Connectivity, Energy, Health, and Water, as well as the future of work, access to finance and women’s economic empowerment.
For Noha Khater and Rania Kadry, Co-Founders of Almouneer, the “overall inspiring experience - meeting a lot of great people that work to make a real difference” and “being in a motivating and inspiring environment that gave us new energy and sparked our passion further” was the highlight of GES 2019.
By gathering participants from over 170 nations, GES gave entrepreneurs the opportunity to build the know-how and connections needed to scale their businesses beyond their local markets.
“You gain a lot of knowledge about expanding globally. Moreover, attending and networking with such an international audience gets you to start thinking in more comprehensive terms and to position yourself as a company not just in a local way, but also globally. You have to have the idea of expansion in the structure of your company and in your business model - you should always aim for more global outreach,” said Amr when asked about the most valuable knowledge he gained at the summit.
For Noha and Rania it was the latest global sector trends and innovations that resonated the most.
“The sector abroad is moving faster in terms of technology. They are steps ahead but that shouldn’t discourage us from pushing the boundaries that need to be pushed and trying to rise to the same level. It’s important to keep going so we can make an impact and change people’s lives for the better.”
Noha and Rania co-founded Almouneer in 2014 with a vision to create the first specialized diabetic eye care clinics in Egypt and the Middle East to help improve the quality of life for patients with diabetes. Today, they’ve scaled the clinic to three branches across Cairo, established a Research & Education arm to carry out research on diabetic eye diseases, and launched Control NGO, which raises awareness of the impact of diabetes on the overall quality of life.
Amr founded Smart Medical Services in 2009 to provide innovative healthcare solutions to businesses and offer individuals accessibility to affordable medical services providers. It manages medical programs for self-insured companies and offers a basic medical plan, Sehaty, directly to Egyptians who can’t afford health insurance. Smart Medical Services has become one of Egypt’s most promising companies, providing healthcare plans to thousands of corporate clients, individuals and families in Egypt.
Since their selection to the Endeavor network in 2013 and 2017 respectively, Smart Medical Services and Almouneer have only continued to demonstrate the significance of high-impact entrepreneurship in transforming societies by using innovative solutions at scale to solving real problems.
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