RiseUp Summit, the leading event for the MENA region’s entrepreneurs, kicked off today with major news announcements, featuring a protocol signed between the Ministry of Social Solidarity, RiseUp and Pepsico Egypt for the “Egypt 2030 Hackathon”.

Taking place in April 2019, the hackathon competition aims to explore innovative solutions and sustainable development objectives, in line with Egypt’s 2030 Vision, to some of the main challenges facing Egypt in the fields of zero hunger and gender equality in the labor market. Her Excellency Minister Ghada Wally, signed the protocol during the Summit at The Greek Campus with Mr. Mohamed Shelbaya, chairman and CEO of Pepsico Egypt, and Abdelhameed Sharara, founder and CEO of RiseUp. 

HE Ghada Wally expressed her great excitement to be among the participants at RiseUp Summit for entrepreneurs. She said: “This place is full of positive energy, and I’m very happy to be among this beautiful gathering. Today, I’m very proud of Abdelhameed Sharara’s journey and RiseUp, and the time I have been spent more than ten years ago during my participation as a member of the judging panel at Injaz when I met Sharara for the first time.”

HE Wally added “We are looking for new, young, creative ideas to support. I’m sure this summit will help us find them, in order to work with them on helping to achieve Egypt’s sustainable development goals for the Egypt 2030 Vision.” 

Her Excellency Ghada Wally also signed a protocol with Flat6Labs whereby the Ministry will support the StartEgypt initiative, in terms of orientation on the social problems in Egypt coinciding with the strategic vision of Egypt 2030, marketing and outreach efforts to promote for StartEgypt as well as logistical support in liaising with various governorates across the country. 

StartEgypt is an Egyptian startup initiative funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), supported by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group and powered by Flat6Labs to inspire and support hundreds of Egyptian entrepreneurs and social impact enterprises. StartEgypt is poised to support aspiring Egyptian entrepreneurial services and activities and rich targeted content. 

Furthermore, Her Excellency Rania Al Mashat, Egypt’s Minister of Tourism, addressed thousands of attendees gathered to talk about her journey of “staying grounded” in a fireside chat on stage with Sandra Farid, co-founder of Acumen Consulting. 

“RiseUp is a true pride for Egypt, an Egyptian youth, and a real contributing force to the economy and tourism,” said HE Rania El Mashat. “I’m very excited to be here because entrepreneurship is extremely important and as we go into what is known as the fourth industrial revolution, the role of governments in setting policy will be to set the platform for entrepreneurship and enterprising to take over.  The number of jobs and exports that are created by technology and start-ups is extremely impressive”. Rania adds “We are hosting the United Nations World Tourism Organization Conference for the Middle East and there is more than one day dedicated to start-ups and hackathons and we will be announcing an exciting partnership with RiseUp in due course.”

“Today we’re seeing a lot more MENA entrepreneurs, investors and ecosystem players on stage because these are are success stories built over the past six years. Throughout the first few editions of the Summit the majority of speakers were led by global stories, today we have local and regional stories to tell, share and learn from – because the reality is, these are the lessons learned that we can apply practically to our ecosystem. That’s what “Grounded Experiences” is about,”  said RiseUp CEO & Co-founder Abdelhameed Sharara. “On top of that, we’ve seen government representatives, and key global experts from the likes of Uber, and people like Dom Hallas, to help us look at global best practices to overcome challenges we are yet to face.”

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Dom Hallas, executive director at the Coalition for a Digital Economy, Codec, spoke today about how technology and politics are colliding around the world. More and more, startups need their own voice in government to speak up for policies that matter to rapidly-scaling early stage tech businesses. From his experience, Hallas spoke about the lessons for startups and startup organizations in how to deal with the government, and the significance of Egypt’s StartUp Manifesto in facilitating this dialogue. 

Day One’s key highlights included talks by Mohamed Farid, Chairman of the Egyptian Stock Exchange, Brook Entwistle, Chief Business Office at Uber International, Wael Abdoush, general manager of IBM in the MENA region, Mounir Nakhla, founder and CEO of Halan, who just raised a multi-million Series A round of investment days before the Summit. 

Brooks Entwistle Chief Business Officer of Uber said “Having a mission on shaping how the world moves are my new Everest. With a long-term vision of becoming a multi-modal mobility platform, Uber’s technology is reflecting the economic, social, and environmental change in over 600 cities around the world. As part of our commitment to solving some of the world’s toughest problems, we continue to explore opportunities to invest and grow our presence through our strategic partnerships, that will lead us to unlock the ride-sharing benefits for riders, drivers and cities,”

In addition, during the summit, the startup Halan bagged an investment. Oscar Salazar, serial entrepreneur, co-founder of Uber and founding Chief Technology Officer from 2009 till 2011, has joined the company’s Board of Directors and has invested in Halan. Salazar made the decision to join the company because of Halan’s mission to bring mobility services to underserved areas in the world. Speaking about the decision, Salazar says, “While everybody is fighting to bring ride-hailing to 1 billion people in the world, Halan is focusing on the remaining 6 billion.”

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