As part of the U.S. - Egypt S&T Joint Fund, in July of 2017, a request for applications was launched for the Innovate Egypt program. Through Innovate Egypt, Egyptian graduate students, faculty, and researchers in science and engineering applied to participate in an accelerated eight-week program aimed at giving early-stage innovators and entrepreneurs the funding, training, and mentoring needed to commercialize their inventions and create new ventures.
Innovate Egypt’s training program was designed by the innovation non-profit VentureWell, in cooperation with the Egyptian Science and Technology Development Fund (STDF). STDF was also responsible for providing eligible teams stipends of up to $5,000 for the customer discovery process and travel expenses.
The program was designed for three-person teams located in Egypt that were comprised of a Technical Lead, an Entrepreneurial Lead, and a Business Mentor. In addition, individual inventors not associated with a university could apply if they had an active patent application pending or issued in Egypt.
Through Innovate Egypt, the selected teams and individual inventors:
- Experienced hands-on learning through in-person and online training and coaching. This training included an October 2017 opening and a December 2017 closing workshop in Cairo. Between these workshops, six weeks of intensive online training was conducted.
- Spent a significant amount of time talking to customers, engaging with industry, and testing hypotheses.
- Shared experiences in a cohort model with other entrepreneurial teams engaged in similar work.
After the completion of this eight-week program, six of the teams were selected for advanced customized training through Innovate Egypt’s second phase, known as the AIMS (Advanced Innovation Mentoring and Support) Accelerator. This advanced support included drafting a business plan, working with an individual mentor, and preparing to present at a virtual pitch day called the AIMS Venture Forum which took place in April 2018.
The nine teams that successfully completed the program’s first eight-week phase and the six teams selected for advanced commercialization support can be found here: Innovate Egypt Teams
For more information on Innovate Egypt, please consult the website of VentureWell: https://venturewell.org/innovate-egypt.