Like many other Middle Eastern nations, Egypt is in the middle of a startup revolution. In recent years, the country has seen an influx of up-and-coming entrepreneurs, many of whom are under the age of 30. These young adults, many of whom are turning entrepreneurship as an alternative to struggling to find jobs in the local market, are showcasing a number of innovative ideas. From social enterprises to fashion labels, Egypt’s under-30 entrepreneurs are making a big splash in nearly every industry.
Read on to take a look at a few of the most innovative young Egyptian entrepreneurs and their startups.
Abdalla Amin, FlareInn
A graduate of Ain Shams University, Amin is one of the co-founders of FlareInn. During college, he belonged to a cohort of students working to establish startups. Amin honed his own entrepreneurial skills on the Internet before contributing to the launch of FlareInn in his senior year of school. Together with his co-founders, he participated in the startup incubation program at Injaz.
Since then, Amin has helped FlareInn grow into a thriving online marketplace for art lovers. The startup allows local artists to sell their creations to consumers online. Users can search for the best deals or peruse the latest additions to the site. FlareInn offers home delivery and free returns, making it more convenient for users to obtain the pieces they love most.
Radwa Rostom, Hand Over
Thirty-year-old entrepreneur Radwa Rostom created her startup Hand Over to address the lack of housing in Egypt’s most underprivileged communities. While pursuing a degree in construction engineering, she traveled to local communities to teach residents who did not know how to read or write. While visiting the homes of her clients, Rostom learned just how “informal” these people’s housing situation was.
In 2015, she set out to help underserved communities by founding Hand Over. The startup focuses on three areas—community, construction, and education—each of which addresses different housing-related issues. Its community sector, for example, works on promoting social advancement by building community centers, clinics, and other public facilities in partnership with local residents, universities, and NGOs.
The startup’s education sector raises community awareness about its projects. Not only does this sector support the educational needs of university students, but it also helps laborers increase their skillsets.
The construction sector at Hand Over oversees the design and building of sustainable homes in Egypt. To this end, the startup uses local, inexpensive materials to provide quality, stable housing.
Aly Mohamed, Vound
Mohamed originally formulated the idea for Vound as a school science fair project. His concept initially took the form of goggles that could assist those who were hard of hearing. Mohamed expanded the product during his gap year and eventually turned it into a startup. Over the last several years, he has improved his product through five iterations and a final launch is on the horizon.
With a name that combines “vision” with “sound,” Vound leverages augmented reality (AR) to help those with hearing loss visualize the sounds around them. By combining AR glasses with a wearable controller, the startup has created a headset that turns different sounds into vibrations, written words, and flashing lights. This ambitious device includes other features such as voice recognition and location-based visualizations.
Ahmed Omar, Odiggo
25-year-old entrepreneur Omar made his first online sale at age 14, when he helped his father make some money on a motorcycle part. Within just a decade, he went on to found his startup, Odiggo. Originally dubbed KasrZero, the startup allows Middle Eastern consumers to easily find and purchase car parts.
The first online marketplace of its kind in Egypt, Odiggo garnered a network of more than 2,000 clients within its first seven months of operation. The startup has achieved such success by revolutionizing the Egyptian market for car parts. As car parts are imported from other nations, it can be difficult for local consumers to tell which ones are fake and which ones are real. Odiggo creates a direct link between customers and verified parts from vendors, so there is no confusion when buying the products they need.
Noura Galal, Rafeya
Galal drew upon her lifelong love of fashion to establish her startup Rafeya, a fashion brand and social enterprise. Early in life, her parents did not encourage her to pursue a career in the fashion industry, instead preferring that she focus on her studies. This did not deter her from honing a passion for sewing. It was not until she visited the neighborhood of Konayessa that she noticed the skills of the women who made garments by hand. In 2014, Galal decided to combine her own designs with the talents of others by founding Rafeya, which is a play on the word for “tailor.”
Looking to accommodate the personal style and shape of every woman, Rafeya allows customers to personalize the clothing they select from the site. Whether they choose a high-waisted skirt or a casual dress, they can tailor each garment to their exact measurements. Rafeya offers free shipping, complimentary returns, and a 24/7 customer support system to ensure that its clients are completely satisfied with their purchases.
Rafeya does more than sell clothing to Egyptian women; it also supports a local network of talented female garment makers. For every piece they help create for the site, these women receive a portion of the profits. This both gives them a feeling of partnership in the business and allows them to make money.