California’s Silicon Valley has long been considered one of the world’s most important hubs of innovation and technology. Many cities across the globe have begun to follow in the footsteps of Silicon Valley, developing entrepreneurial climates of their own.
Over the last several years, Cairo, Egypt, has experienced a startup revolution that has seen the rise of a thriving technology sector. This ecosystem is growing ever stronger thanks to a number of key contributing factors. In time, these ingredients could propel Cairo towards a future as a new Silicon Valley.
Here are a few reasons why Cairo could very well become the Silicon Valley of the Middle East:
Cairo boasts a progressive business culture filled with young people.
Entrepreneurs looking to establish startups in Cairo will find a city filled with dedicated young professionals. The city boasts a population of nearly 100 million people, more than a third of whom are youths. Since the political revolution of 2011, Cairo’s youth population has turned its gaze towards a more progressive future filled with innovative ideas.
More importantly, these young professionals are among some of the most well-educated in the Middle Eastern region. They have been able to hone their forward-thinking attitudes and professional skills while studying at some of the top-ranked institutions of higher learning in the world. Schools such as the American University in Cairo and the Modern Sciences and Arts University are based right in the city.
Over the years, Cairo’s young people have also become increasingly more technologically inclined. As technology business monopolies of the past have fallen away, these skilled young professionals have seen more opportunities to create tech businesses of their own. This growing culture is one that can easily welcome other like-minded entrepreneurs.
With such a young, intelligent professional network calling it home, Cairo is well-equipped for future innovation and entrepreneurial success.
Cairo presents numerous opportunities for success.
In Cairo, a number of disparate elements have come together to facilitate success for the city’s entrepreneurs. Since it is located in a developing country, the city is home to countless opportunities for entrepreneurs to tackle issues that will allow the nation to progress.
For example, though Cairo is known as an incredibly tech-savvy city, the rest of the country has been much slower to adopt emerging innovations. This has presented local entrepreneurs with the unique chance to engage in business pursuits that will help bring internet access to the rural communities of Egypt. As a result of this work, consumers in cities across the nation are able to join in on the trend of digital consumerism.
In addition to this, Cairo is one of the most linguistically diverse cities in the region. Arabic, English, German, and Chinese are only a few of the languages that entrepreneurs can expect to hear in the city. With such an array of languages and cultures represented in Cairo, local entrepreneurs have the opportunity to interact with a diverse set of business professionals.
Cairo regularly hosts important startup events.
In 2017 alone, Cairo played host to just under 40 different startup events. Such an active entrepreneurial scene as this creates a strong foundation for the future success of both individual businesses and the startup ecosystem as a whole.
The RiseUp Summit was one of the first major startup events to take place in Cairo. During the inaugural 2014 event, attendees from 17 nations gathered to talk about what the future would hold for the Egyptian startup scene. Since then, the annual RiseUp Summit has become an internationally-recognized startup event that features pitch competitions, networking events, and educational seminars.
StartupWeekend is another startup event that frequently comes to Cairo. This event serves as an arena in which entrepreneurs can share their startup ideas with their peers and develop their business models in teams over a period of 54 hours.
Cairo provides a geographical advantage to entrepreneurs.
Cairo is situated in one of the most optimal locations in the Middle Eastern region. Positioned right on the threshold of the Arab world, Africa, and Mediterranean Europe, the city is a prime location for any entrepreneur who is looking to ultimately achieve global expansion with his or her startup.
Cairo’s location also offers entrepreneurs a unique advantage when it comes to market penetration. Not only will startups based in this city have direct access to three major local markets, but they will also be able to work with a diverse customer base from within each of these different geographical locations.
It does not take much capital investment to establish a startup in Cairo.
Funding is one of the most significant roadblocks hindering entrepreneurs from starting new businesses. In Cairo, however, the cost of establishing a startup is lower than in many other growing entrepreneurial climates around the globe. When looking to open a company in Cairo, entrepreneurs can expect to pay around $1,500 in total. This fee covers all the standard requirements of startup registration, including Notification of Incorporation paperwork and Name Clearance Certificates.
Low cost of living is another financial benefit to establishing a startup in Cairo. Entrepreneurs who choose to live and work in this location can expect to pay far less than they would in other major international cities.