The market now is emerging and growing to the point that not a single person can do it alone. If you have a dream, you better share it.
- Amr AbdelRahman, co-founder of MIMV
The Giza sun elicited hot topics last Saturday as emerging entrepreneurs and experienced experts shared challenges and strategies for new business in the Middle East and North Africa.
Wamda, an entrepreneurial support platform for the MENA region, launched its new partnership with Google through the expansion of an event series called Mix N' Mentor beginning March 16. Mix N' Mentor brings young entrepreneurs in contact with a variety of "mentors" ranging from industry experts to investors to serial entrepreneurs. (Con O'Donnell of Mercy Corps Egypt, an entrepreneurship advisor, was among the mentors.) Cairo's was just the first in a series of Mix N' Mentor events scheduled to take place in 11 different cities across the MENA region.
The series was built on successes last year in Amman, Beirut and Dubai, which inspired Wamda to expand and seek help from Google. This year, Google lends a hand with speakers and experts, as well as advanced technological assistance to widely share insights from these events via Hangouts on Air on Google+.
Google is proud to be a part of the program, says Maha Abouelenein, head of communications for Google in the MENA region.
"Google began as a startup in a garage and remains a startup at heart," she said in an interview with Wamda last week. "We are committed to helping build a vibrant ecosystem for startups and enabling the next generation of entrepreneurs to be successful."
The ideal startup would have three co-founders, two technical employees and a hustler.- Mike Butcher, editor-at-large at TechCrunch, in his initial talk at Mix 'N' Mentor, 'How to Pitch to Tech Bloggers'
Finding an investor is not only about money, it's like finding a partner. If you're just looking for money, go to a bank."
-Karim Beshara, CEO of Orascom Telecom Media
Egyptian entrepreneurs have strong technical skills, a key advantage for the country. But technology cannot foster success on its own. New businesses also need marketing and communications.
When hiring, I look for personality before technicality.
-Mahmoud Ghoz, CEO of Rawy.me
Finally, Butcher pointed to the main challenge and inspiration of the day: being unique. "We in the tech press look for purple cows,” he told the crowd. In other words: startups that stand out and may not have existed before are the most interesting to follow.
Despite current challenges and obstacles, the region of the Middle East and North Africa is proving to be a purple cow in the world's entrepreneurial ecosystem.