CAIRO: “Start” with Google, a new initiative in Egypt was launched by the company Monday in order to seek some of the country’s most talented entrepreneurs to give them intensive technological and entrepreneurship training and award one finalist with $200,000 (LE 1.2 million).
During the eight-month project, Egyptian entrepreneurs will go through a process of screening and selection, which will be based on a set of criteria laid out by an independent judging panel of experts from various fields of business.
The entrepreneurs will also receive intensive training and mentoring from professionals in the industry, including executives and established entrepreneurs.
“Today’s youth have something we need, the willingness to experiment,” said Ziad Aly, CEO and founder of Alzwad for mobile services.
“We aren’t just looking in Cairo, nor are we leaning towards any kind of technology, all ideas are welcome, even competitors,” said Wael El-Fakhrany, country manager for Google North Africa. “Today isn’t about Google, it is about how we can help serious entrepreneurs in this country.”
Although Google is encouraging young entrepreneurs, the program is open to all tech-savvy and ambitious Egyptians who have ideas or visions.
In order to get the insight of local entrepreneurs and organizations, Google partnered with Science Age Society (SAS), a local NGO and Innoventures, a local teach incubator, who will be executing the program.
This week, the SAS team along with Innoventures, will be traveling across the country to 10 governorates to promote the initiative and create awareness among local college campuses.
“We need people who can dream, who have ideas,” El-Fakhrany emphasized.
El-Fakhrany pointed out that all participants would benefit from the program, not just finalists or the standing winner. Advisers and trainers will help these young people take the right steps they lack in order to actually implement their ideas.
“Through the training, we plan to show the participants how to talk to investors so they can know how to sell and promote their projects or ideas,” said El-Fakhrany.
The application process will end on October 31. After this deadline, Google and their teams will have chosen 200 top applicants, who will be announced in November.
The process will eventually narrow down the candidates to 50 finalists, then 20, and then out of those 20, one winner who will be given the $200,000 to launch his or her start-up will be chosen.
El-Fakhrany pointed out that this initiative is an opportunity for investors and companies who are looking for fresh, innovative projects to invest in.
Google’s main message they hope to relay with this new project is to encourage the skilled youth of Egypt to take real steps towards making their dreams come true.
El-Fakhrany stressed that the country is full of rich minds that lack guidance and resources.
“We need people who are serious, fast to take action, because the world can’t wait and nobody will wait for you, you have to take action,” said El-Fakhrany.
“Start” with Google is not the only initiative the company is undergoing in Egypt and the region.
In July, Google launched their Student Ambassador Training program, which included 73 handpicked college students from all over the region to represent Google in universities across the region, and through which Google highlighted their confidence in the region’s youth.
The program, which is part of Google’s commitment to empower the Middle East and North Africa’s academic community, aims to provide knowledge, tools, and infrastructure to help these students reach their full potential.