The American University in Cairo’s (AUC) Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) has signed an agreement with the International Financial Corporation (IFC) to adapt the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Venture Mentoring Services (MIT VMS) programme to the Egyptian market.
The IFC will provide support to the CEI within the next 18 months to adopt and customise the programme to the local context.
Meanwhile, the CEI will receive the MIT VMS licence to become a certified member, and will establish a network of qualified mentors to guide aspiring and established entrepreneurs in Egypt throughout the startup life cycle.
The CEI VMS Leadership Team will be responsible for promoting and managing the mentorship network and for identifying, screening, and selecting mentors. These will implement and operate a formal sustainable mentoring programme at the AUC School of Business, based on the MIT VMS Model.
The CEI will familiarise the ecosystem stakeholders with the importance of mentoring programmes, as well as cooperate and coordinate in the delivery of the MIT VMS program – using the MIT licensed material.
The partnership will support the CEI to continue to train mentors on the principles and methodology of the MIT VMS Model through its Leadership Team, and mentors to expand its mentorship network.
Dahlia Khalifa, Senior Manager at the IFC Creating Markets Advisory in MENA, World Bank Group, said, “Entrepreneurship is a priority area of engagement for the IFC in the MENA [Middle East and North Africa] region, and we are proud to support the creation of a sustainable pool of mentors for Egyptian entrepreneurs in financial technology (fintech) and beyond.”
Hala Barakat, CEI director at AUC School of Business, added, “The MIT VMS model is based on the belief that a fledgling business is far more likely to thrive when an entrepreneur with an idea can draw on the advice and guidance of mentors with proven skills and experience.”
She added that the business is also boosted when such advice is provided by a team of mentors in a conflict-free, confidential, and trusted environment.
“Such qualified, experienced and unbiased mentor network is what we seek to avail to entrepreneurs and startups in Egypt,” Barakat added.
The MIT VMS model is based on five pillars: a focus on team mentoring; best practices for recruiting and retaining highly qualified and committed volunteer mentors; strict guiding principles that assure unbiased advice to entrepreneurs; formalised processes and procedures; and a focus on developing stronger entrepreneurs. To date, 106 organisations from 23 countries have been trained by MIT VMS.