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“They represent the hope that'll take us to a shining sun and better future, if we give them the chance to express themselves,” said Alex Shalaby, Mobinil chairman, expressing his optimism regarding the ten winning teams in Injaz’s competition “Dare to Dream: Egypt’s Young Entrepreneurs Competition.”
The Injaz press conference, which was held on Wednesday at Marriot hotel in Cairo, opened with a short motivational video by a number of young entrepreneurs who participated in the competition. Combined with a moving sound truck, the video shows the youth’s faith in post-revolution change, the benefits they have derived from their projects, their aspirations to leave their influence in the world, and assertiveness to live their dreams.
The Dare to Dream Competition is the culmination of the INJAZ Company Program (CP). During the school year, CP students meet at least once per week with their mentors and learn about assigning leadership roles in their companies, conducting market research, deciding on their products, raising capital by selling shares, and manufacturing and marketing their products.
Last Saturday, the awards ceremony took place in which Mobinil, Exxon Mobil, and Abraaj provided the best startups grants aimed at making their companies financially sound, legally registered, profitable and sustainable.
Walid Bakr, principal at Riyada enterprise development, Abraaj capital, explained that social responsibility is the precept that pushes him to take part in society development projects. “We should all play an efficient role in our society’s progress because we are not living alone on isolated island,” Bakr said. “We (Abraaj) would have never achieved this stature if the society had not given us a hand and provided us with opportunities to succeed.”
The winners - whose products were chosen based upon various criteria including innovation, sustainability, usefulness and profitability by professional panel - told how the prize money would help them expand their businesses.
Mohamed Adel, production head of Simpion, said that his company will launch a new production line of 3D glasses made of high quality plastic. “Before winning the prize, we could only afford cartoon materials because it was cheaper than [plastic],” said Adel.
Simpion is a student company with innovative products such as Grabit, iCan and 3D glasses. The company is the first to introduce “Made in Egypt” 3D eyeglasses at reasonable prices.
Adel said that the idea was received with great enthusiasm. “We’ve already made a deal with 'Dare’n’Deal' to supply five thousand 3D glasses,” he said, adding that his team is now arranging to supply them to movie theatres across Egypt.
Bara2a is another winning team planning to improve the quality of their materials in the next production phase and import some essential materials needed for manufacturing new type of products. “In our first stage, we faced obstacles producing certain products due to the shortage of equipment in the Egyptian market, especially magnetic materials,” said Ahmed al-Aqad, Bara2a product manager.
Bara2a is run by Cairo University students who produce scientific toys aimed at promoting intellectual thought among Egyptian students.
“Our aim is merging education with entertainment. Egyptian education is only based on theoretical expertise. Students should practice what they are studying in books, not only stuffing their minds with information that would soon be forgotten if there is no actual experience,” said Aqad.
A student company named Basmety has decided to take its business a step further.
“We’ve received an offer from a Lebanese company to sell our products. So, we now have to come up with other types of products including bags, mugs, anything that can be printed on and recruit a number of young Egyptian designers to create innovative models for our products,” said Nour al-Gharib, Basmety’s CEO.
Basmety's first products were colorful t-shirts with fresh pictures of Egypt’s iconic figures aiming to revive a sense of identity among Egyptian youth.
“Our first phase was only comprised of hard disks because it is the cheapest electronic products we could offer before winning the prize," said Mostafa Ahmed Hamdan, CEO of Recyclobekia. “Now, we're planning to buy more valuable electronic devices and recycle them in China, America and Indonesia,” he said.
Recyclobekia is a company aiming at increasing national income in a way that protects Egypt’s environment by recycling old electronic and computer devices in big factories outside Egypt.