28 November 2021
CREATIVA Innovation Hubs

“Innovation and Entrepreneurship” has become a key driver of advanced and sustainable economic development, with its enormous potential to create job opportunities. Therefore, developing a culture and thinking skills for innovation and entrepreneurship in the societies, where we live and work, has become the focus of governments and societies worldwide. The promotion of innovation and entrepreneurship in the ICT sector in Egypt is one of the main objectives of the Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (TIEC). 

Egypt is witnessing unprecedented growth in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship due to the thriving business environment for startups. This is also achieved in light of an ambitious strategy adopted by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) to deploy CREATIVA Innovation Hubs nationwide to provide technical training for young people in ICT areas and implement programs to promote technology innovation and encourage university students and entrepreneurs in the governorates to establish their pioneering projects in ICT.

The Egyptian government, represented by MCIT, has launched “CREATIVA Innovation Hubs”, aiming to support students, entrepreneurs, owners of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and startups and help them to contribute effectively to achieving digital transformation in various sectors of the country. 

MCIT, through its affiliate, the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA), has established six technology innovation hubs in public universities in governorates under the title “CREATIVA Innovation Hubs”. A plan is being implemented to establish 15 CREATIVA Innovation Hubs in different governorates through three phases.

The first phase includes the pilot operation of five hubs in the universities of Mansoura, Menoufiya, Minya, Sohag and South Valley; the second phase includes the establishment of hubs in Ismailia, Aswan, Cairo, Giza and the New Administrative Capital. The third phase is planned to launch the innovation hubs in other governorates in cooperation with the universities of Banha, Fayum and Zagazig.

The objectives of establishing CREATIVA Innovation Hubs within universities is to facilitate young people’s access to these hubs, while providing them with practical experience in ICT fields, developing the skills of university students and qualifying them in line with the requirements of labor market in ICT and entrepreneurship.

CREATIVA Innovation Hubs also aim to develop digital calibers capable of supporting and developing the ICT industry and to contribute directly to spreading awareness of the latest IT developments and specializations. The CREATIVA Innovation Hubs within universities have great potential to support and assist students and SMEs and startups. 

The CREATIVA Innovation Hubs are the right place for students who want to test an idea and learn the necessary skills. They are also the right place for faculty members with pioneering, marketable research and for owners of startups who need advice and assistance from experts. The hubs are also ideal places to interact with mentors; meet with task forces and colleagues; and hold workshops. This reflects the important role played by the state and universities in promoting innovation and entrepreneurship within society.
The CREATIVA Innovation Hubs include branches of MCIT affiliated training institutes at public universities in governorates as well as technology labs, specialized in software, embedded systems and electronics design. They also include technology incubators for business, co-working spaces for startups as well as halls for specialized training in various fields, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), data science and information security.

The CREATIVA Innovation Hubs act as a catalyst for business between the government, private sector and universities. They also aim to manage the different components of innovation environment, manage and coordinate various programs and initiatives, stemmed from the strategy of innovation and entrepreneurship in cooperation with the concerned parties. They also focus on the profit element by marketing the innovations and intellectual property licenses, solving the problems currently facing the county, and promoting Egypt as a global competitor in the value-added innovation. 

As a result of these efforts to support innovation, entrepreneurship and startups, Egypt ranks first regionally and continentally in the Kearny Global Services Location Index, and first in the Middle East and Africa in terms of the number of investment deals for startups. Egypt is also at the top in the region in terms of the availability of skilled employment and readiness for digital transformation. Around hundred countries receive services from Egypt in 20 languages, as Egypt accounts for 17% of the outsourcing services industry. 

MCIT cooperates with several concerned entities to transform buildings with cultural and historical value, owned by the state, into hubs for innovation and entrepreneurship development by rehabilitating, restoring and reusing them. This is in light of Egypt’s interest in transforming the buildings with cultural value, belonging to certain state agencies, into hubs for innovation and entrepreneurship development for young people. It is also in light of MCIT plan to deploy the CREATIVA Innovation Hubs throughout the county to provide a stimulating environment for technology innovation and entrepreneurship.

In this regard, the historic and archaeological Sultan Hussein Kamel Palace in Heliopolis is being transformed into an innovation hub. Labs of global advanced technology companies as well as technology incubators for startups, training and meeting halls and co-working spaces are planned to be established in this hub. This is in addition to the transformation of Sultana Malak Palace and another building affiliated to the University of Cairo in Bein El Sarayat into two hubs for innovation and entrepreneurship.

Seeking to offer a stimulating environment for technology innovation, MCIT has created EgyptInnovate, an innovation e-platform that provides a source of inspiration, education and communication for innovators and entrepreneurs with inspiring educational content, practical tools and spaces for innovation worldwide.

EgyptInnovate platform aims at shedding light on Egyptian innovators locally and globally, creating meeting points among them, building collaborative communities among representatives of the Egyptian innovation and entrepreneurship environment as well as teaching innovators and startups technology skills and innovation management.

The CREATIVA Innovation Hubs have success stories of several examples in the governorates, who contributed to developing their skills and acquiring great experience in online freelance jobs in technology fields. These hubs also qualified many of young people to have high ratings on global platforms for freelance jobs, through which they found unconventional job opportunities as independent professionals in regional and global markets with a rewarding financial return with a start salary of US 500 dollars per month, including for example companies from the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia, Nigeria, India, Ukraine and Saudi Arabia. 

Partnership agreements have been concluded with several global entities in the fields of training, technical management, technical support, technology accessibility and pillars of system creation. These include the partnership with Babson College, the top in innovation and entrepreneurship in the USA, Plug and Play Tech Center, in addition to other companies, such as Microsoft, Huawei and Ericsson. 

The development of human capital is a top priority of MCIT plans, through which MCI is striving to disseminate a culture of innovation and support entrepreneurship by providing the appropriate environment, and services and technology infrastructure that promotes technology innovation among young people.

This is achieved through these hubs that combine originality with modernity to produce innovative technological solutions, thus contributing to achieving economic and social development and establishing a national economy based on innovation. This development can be attained through developing the necessary strategies, providing facilities, promoting innovation and entrepreneurship, and establishing the concept of Intellectual Property (IP) in ICT industry and applications. 
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