The investment firm supporting start-ups, Egypt Ventures, raised funds of EGP 104m in 2020 to empower the country’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and drive innovation, according to Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat.
The firm will allocate EGP 72.4m of the finance to 6 start-ups, and EGP 31.4m of indirect investments to business accelerators.
The latest figures means that Egypt Ventures’ total investments since its 2017 inception have amounted to about EGP 306.2m benefiting 150 start-ups. A total of EGP 139.9m of these investments have been made as direct investments, with EGP 166.3m allocated as indirect investments.
Egypt Venture’s Board of Directors recently held a meeting to review the firm’s progress in 2020. The meeting took place in the presence of: Ahmed Gomaa, Chairperson and CEO of the joint fintech start-up between EFG Hermes and Egypt Ventures, EFG EV; and Gihane Saleh, Advisor to the Prime Minister for Economic Affairs. Other attendants are: Hassan Al-Attas, Director General of Operations at the Saudi Fund for Development; Nermin Al-Taheri, Assistant Minister of International Cooperation for SMEs; Youssri Helmy, founder and CEO of ITWorx; Mohamed Metwally, CEO of NI Capital; and Mohamed Ramy, General Manager of Endeavor Egypt.
The meeting also saw the approval of the investment committee’s decisions to support three emerging and innovative start-ups. These have been set up in the fields of medical technology, research and industrial development, and financial technology.
Minister Al-Mashat stated that Egypt Ventures established a unique model to support local start-ups in the early and growth stages. The model combines public funding with private sector engagement, to encourage innovation according to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) principles, and drive the country’s overall GDP growth.
The minister added that SMEs are essential in building an innovation-driven economy, which has become increasingly relevant in the current changing global environment.
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has showed that there is a need for countries to leverage the growing digital economy and strengthen their capacity through a strong, educated, and innovative workforce.
For his part, Gomaa said that EFG EV aims to invest in fintech and tech start-ups owned by Egyptians, as well as other nationalities based in Egypt.
It aims, through its short-term plan, to provide alternative financing opportunities and open local investment opportunities for Egyptian entrepreneurs, as well as establish links with overseas experts.
This will ensure the transfer of knowledge and experience, and open doors for cooperation. It will also support regional and global expansion to achieve high returns for investment.
Gomaa added that the long-term plan aims to transform Egypt into a regional powerhouse for innovation and entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The plan will ensure that Egypt is in a position to attract foreign and domestic investments in the tech industry.
According to its 2020 annual report, the Ministry of International Cooperation secured development financing agreements worth $9.8bn during 2020. Of this amount, $6.7bn was allocated to financing sovereign projects, and $3.1bn went in support of the private sector.