The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is collaborating with Google to train and mentor hundreds of Egyptian women and youth business owners, as well as business advisors, in 2021.
By focusing on digital skills and online marketing, the programme will help entrepreneurs build and promote their online brands. It will also equip business advisors with the skills to better support startups.
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic amplified the importance of e-commerce and of helping businesses survive and thrive. This has made the partnership with Google, and all US government programmes that support entrepreneurship, even more vital.
USAID and Google selected 20 youth- and women-owned startups and 50 business advisors for the pilot phase of the project. The participants have all contributed to building Egypt’s entrepreneurship ecosystem through previous participation in USAID projects.
They are also part of Egypt’s leading networks, established by USAID, including the Women’s Entrepreneurship Network, the Youth Entrepreneurship Network, and Tiye Angels, which is Egypt’s first women’s angel investment network.
The programme combines tailored mentoring and consultation with courses offered through Google’s respected “Maharat min Google” (“Skills from Google”) e-learning platform.
This site provides free courses, tools, and training on digital marketing in Arabic to students, educators, job seekers, and businesses. It is part of Google’s regional “Grow Stronger with Google” initiative, which saw US Ambassador to Egypt Jonathan R Cohen participate in the launch event in October 2020.
The initiative is focused on accelerating the pace of economic recovery in the region, by helping one million businesses and individuals in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region learn digital skills and grow their businesses by the end of 2021.
In addition to this collaboration with Google, the US has a long history of supporting Egyptian entrepreneurs. The US Embassy in Cairo supports hundreds of local entrepreneurs annually at every level, starting with training youth in the soft skills essential to entrepreneurship.
The Embassy sends up-and-coming, early-stage entrepreneurs on many professional development programmes, including a Spring 2021 series of skills-building workshops for women start-up founders.
Through USAID, the US government played a key role in transforming the entire entrepreneurship ecosystem in Egypt. It has established some of the country’s first business incubators, attracting private and public sector partners to join the initial US investment.
In total, the US has helped more than 10,000 Egyptians strengthen their businesses through mentorship programmes, incubators, and accelerators. Since 1978, the US has invested over $30bn to support Egypt’s economic development.