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Creating Egypt’s National Innovation Identity

Creating Egypt’s National Innovation Identity

According to the Global Entrepreneurship Report (2017), the Egyptian ecosystem is in the activation stage. The low output of startups in Egypt (around 1000 or fewer) is the major challenge hindering its growth coupled with limited local experience, and generalized resource gaps causing resource leakages. The ecosystem resources are growing at an organic rate (the rate of the local city) and becoming activated to participate in its nascent tech sector (GEN Report, 2017). The main objective for the ecosystem to grow is to build a larger and more connected community by activating local entrepreneurs, innovators, talent, and investors Egypt need.

Egypt in the past 7 years has focused on its innovation ecosystem (universities, incubators, venture capital programs) without a clear sense of exactly how it supports innovation. Government policy without the vital roles businesses, academia, and other organizations play, will not translate into an innovation/ entrepreneurial identity. These three actions may be key to creating an innovation / entrepreneurial national identity:

First, knowing where Egypt’s strengths lie.

Second, putting firms at the center of analysis, and designing programs from a firm-centric point of view, will provide a better lens on needs and opportunities.

Third, using a direct R & D funding model and focusing on niche areas where we can create a strong impact. The direct R & D funding model allows support to specific R&D projects by firms.

Finally, Egypt could benefit from improved education and training in innovation, management and marketing skills—this includes teaching at the high school level and possibly earlier. Young Egyptians need to be exposed to these career paths to avoid skill shortages. 

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