By Shaimaa Al-Aees and Karim Salah
Intel is one of the world’s largest semiconductor chip makers and suppliers of computers processors to companies such as HP and Dell. The company’s revenue reached $54bn last year.
Intel is investing $300m in the Diversity in Technology Initiative to achieve greater representation of women and under-represented minorities at Intel by 2020.
Daily News Egypt met Ferruh Gurtas, corporate affairs director overseeing Intel’s operations in the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa to talk about Intel’s educational and training strategy in Egypt.
During the press conference, Intel said it seeks governmental cooperation; what kind of cooperation does Intel envision with the Egyptian government in particular?
Yes, we seek to cooperate with Egyptian government through the private sector. It is good in execution and is important as it enables scale-up measures across whole country.
NGOs and private sector companies showed their experience in specific topics. For example, for Intel Science Competition we cooperate with Sharaf Organisation for Sustainable Development (SHF). Sometimes we work with some NGOs who focus on women issues, education, and youth.
Who are your partners or co-partners in Egypt?
Our partners are academic organisations, NGOs and a segment of the government. On the government side are counterparts in education because most of our programmes are targeting the youth demographic and teachers. So we cooperate with the Ministry of International Cooperation and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT). On the academic side, we work with all top universities, governmental or private.
The “internet of things” is growing commercially so we are helping universities to teach its core concepts, giving them curriculums, and doing workshops to help them in educating the next generation of students in this technology. The hope is that these measures will feed directly into the private market with increased tech companies who will create new products to grow the economy.
Since the start of Intel’s competitions, how many young inventors have participated? And how many teachers have you trained?
Our strategy is based on “Enara” Intel education initiative. Under this initiative, we train teachers and provide certain tools for teachers and students, in addition to entrepreneurship programmes where we prepare entrepreneurs to introduce their service or product to the market.
We are also attentive to developments surrounding “Intel Science Competition Arab World” since we want to be sure that the youths are still interested in science and technology because young technology users are the industry’s primary consumers. However they are not necessarily interested in learning science and producing their own products and so we want to keep the youths become interested in the sciences. Under Enara we celebrated the tenth year of the initiative last year to meet our commitment in the Egyptian market.
The competition in the Arab World is a part of Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) and their affiliated fairs in each country. Every fair makes sure to attract hundreds of thousands of students, which is why there has been increased participation from local partners, with 100,000 new students every year over the past ten years.
As for the teachers’ side, we have the Intel Tech programme in Egypt, which started in 2004. Since then, we have trained more than 300 teachers. In entrepreneurship, we also provide curriculums for students in formal education and for civil society partners in informal education system.
Globally, our entrepreneurship programme has reached 1.1 million students and in the MENA region we aim to teach 300,000 by the end of 2018.
Regarding new technology, will Intel launch new products soon in Egypt?
Intel launches new products all the time and the latest product is the sixth Generation Intel Core Processor, which was launched four months ago.
The Sharaf Foundation declared that by next year, there will be innovative projects in the industrial sector; what are these products?
ISEF is looking for more scientific projects, which is why we met Chairman of SHF Essam Sharaf to develop a project directly relevant to Egypt. One possible example to emerge from that meeting is a project trained addressing Egypt’s energy shortages.
By January, we will meet with SHF to discuss the competition related to industrial issues, before things are further clarified in January, in order to take specific action. But the cooperation is already ongoing.
Last year, we issued a pilot project in cooperation with Injaz Al-Arab in 14 countries.
Injaz Al-Arab ogranises an entrepreneurial educational programme with a focus on technology and so we thought they would make a perfect collaborative partner to find solutions for major regional challenges in the first Sci-preneurship Competition. Participants from Jordan, Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco were given 24 hours to create a product or provide a service that can help to solve water supply issues in the region.
How do you see the start-ups climate in Egypt?
Not just in Egypt but in the larger Middle East there is a shift to entrepreneurship and start-ups and I think Egypt is one of the leading countries as it is has a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem. There is also productive collaboration between the private sector and the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA), the participation from academic partners such as Nile University, American University in Cairo, and Ain Shams University.
Will you expand your educational activities in Egypt?
Yes, we are currently implementing a programme to encourage women’s empowerment under the campaign name, “She Will Connect”. The programme focuses on gender equality and women’s inclusion in the economy and community. Current figures indicate that for every two men working in the technology sector, there is one woman. We want it to be a one-to-one ratio.
Do you think that such programme will strengthen women’s situation in entrepreneurship field?
Intel believes that if we give women chances to participate, they will be much more successful than men are. For example in the Intel Science Competition this year, women made up 45% of the competition and among the competition’s winners, around 55% were women.
Egypt’s society is suffering illiteracy and the level of youth education is not low compared to the rate in European countries; how do you motivate students to participate in your competition?
We have education products that aim to develop educational through our one-to-one programme.