Ministry of Communications and Information Technology
25 November 2022
ICT Minister Witnesses Signing of MoU on Establishing ‘500 Global’ Office in Egypt, Running Giza Creativa Innovation Hub

The Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat has witnessed the signing of a cooperation agreement between the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) and 500 Global.

The agreement is aimed at establishing a 500 Global office in Egypt, its first ever in Africa. The company’s office in Egypt will run CREATIVA Innovation Hub in Giza, serving as a vibrant global hub that is highly equipped to develop startup capabilities and promote digital innovation and entrepreneurship among youth.
The agreement was signed by ITIDA Vice President Hossam Osman and Chief Operating Officer and Managing Partner at 500 Global Courtney Powell.

Under the three-year agreement, 500 Global will establish an office in Egypt, support nearly 200 startups, and create an investment fund for startups in Egypt.

Commenting on the agreement, Talaat said that the partnership comes within the Ministry’s keenness to establish cooperation with key global players to build an inclusive and robust network of experts and investors, aiming to accelerate the growth of the local startup sector and boost the innovation-based entrepreneurship.

The ICT Minister added that MCIT is keen on making optimum use of all its capabilities and leveraging global expertise to create an enabling environment that supports startup growth, attracts foreign investments, and promotes creative thinking among youth.

Talaat added that MCIT is establishing CREATIVA Innovation Hubs in different governorates to develop the capabilities of startups and enhance entrepreneurship. The Ministry aims to establish 30 Hubs nationwide with investments of nearly five billion EGP.

Under the agreement, three programs will be carried out: a bootcamp for 25 seed-stage companies, a Scale-Up program for 15 Pre-Series A companies, and a bootcamp for 60 accelerator managers. A series of periodic events will also be held to network startups locally, regionally, and internationally and create an investment fund for startups in Egypt.

For her part, Powell said, “We are thrilled to partner with ITIDA to bring 500 Global’s world-class programs, which have produced eight of our 49 unicorns, and a venture education program tailored for accelerator managers.” “As long-time investors in the country, we have the utmost confidence in the potential of the Egyptian market and look to be a key enabler of its fast-growing ecosystem,” she added.

500 Global is a global venture capital firm that invests in startups worldwide, especially in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Located in Silicon Valley, California, US, the company has offices in 27 countries.

500 Global has invested in more than 60 Egyptian startups, including MaxAB, Homzmart, and Breadfast. It has a unique business model compared to other venture capital firms, in terms of providing integrated services that are significant to evolve the startup ecosystem.

For his part, Osman said that ITIDA, through the agreement, seeks to empower the community of local entrepreneurs and encourage them to launch their projects and innovative startups in collaboration with a globally renowned venture capital firm such as 500 Global. He added that the 500 Global office will be located at Giza Creativa Innovation Hub, which embraces a state-of-the-art business environment and highest standards of launching successful startups.

As part of its expansion strategy, 500 Global has appointed Amal Enan as Partner, based in Cairo, overseeing deal-related activities in the country. Enan has been investing in Egyptian startups for the past eight years, and helping them scale. Her experience includes roles at the American University in Cairo, Global Ventures, the Egyptian American Enterprise Fund, the Ministry of Finance, EFG Hermes, and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

Enan stated that 500 Global’s partnership with ITIDA serves to reinforce the company’s commitment to founders of Egyptian startups and entrepreneurs as they mature. She said she was pleased to join 500 Global and be part of their mission to uplift people and economies through entrepreneurship.

It is worth noting that MCIT signed a cooperation protocol with Cairo University to renovate a historic building owned by the University, in Giza, and transform it to a CREATIVA Innovation Hub. The Ministry carries out development operations that include a series of necessary technical and technological construction works and procedures as well as architectural aspects to retain the heritage value of the building to become a hub for creativity and entrepreneurship for students and graduates of Cairo University and other Egyptian universities. This is in addition to supporting young innovators in ICT through specialized technical and scientific supervision.

This comes in light of MCIT implementation of a project to establish CREATIVA Innovation Hubs nationwide. Eight Hubs have been established and 10 others are to be opened soon, including CREATIVA Innovation Hub in Giza. All other hubs will be completed to reach 30 hubs nationwide.

CREATIVA Innovation Hub in Giza is to include laboratories equipped with the latest technologies, training halls, and spaces for fostering digital creativity, including brainstorming camps, business incubators and startup accelerators, along with the necessary training for those in charge of those startups and networking events for bringing startups with investors.
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