Exclusive Interview With Dr. Hossam Osman, Vice President, ITIDA, Egypt

11 April 2023

Discover the Egyptian Startup Scene and Investment Opportunities.

A hotspot for luring venture capital and attention from investors and entrepreneurs, Egypt today holds a key place on the Middle East and Africa regional investment map. The most recent reports indicate that Egypt is third in terms of volume of funding and first in terms of the number of investment deals in the Middle East and North Africa. Dr. Hossam OsmanITIDA's vice president of managing Software Engineering Competence Center (SECC), Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (TIEC), and Information Technology Academic Collaboration (ITAC), provided more information on the factors and elements that have contributed to the development of the business ecosystem and startups in Egypt.

Let's first learn about the responsibilities entrusted to the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) and the goals it aspires to.

The Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) is the executive arm of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), a government entity tasked with leading and catalysing efforts to develop the Egyptian IT sector and increase its international competitiveness by identifying and meeting the needs of the global and local industry through programmes and initiatives designed specifically for this purpose.

The strategic vision and direction of ITIDA are mainly intended to drive sector growth by opening new markets, developing human and institutional capabilities, and guiding and stimulating innovation and R&D.

The Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Sector is a critical component of TRA's work and one of the pillars of MCIT's strategy, playing a vital role in the country's transformation into a digital economy. As a result, given Egypt's advanced position in this field and its remarkable successes at the regional and international levels, both the Ministry and the Authority are eager to provide support and stimulate the growth of the entrepreneurship sector, sponsor entrepreneurial projects based on technological innovation, and create the appropriate climate for the growth of startups as one of the most important axes of building Digital Egypt.

Considering that (ITIDA) offers services that span the entire value-added chain, we are the first Egyptian organisation to have implemented a programme to support startups in Egypt since 2006. We have also been leaders in fostering the environment for entrepreneurship and supporting newly founded businesses.

We are a body concerned with working in all stages of the startup ecosystem, from awareness of the importance of entrepreneurship, technological innovation, and independent professions through training and skills development, holding competitions and encouraging incentives, to enhancing the presence of startups in the marketplace. This is where we differ from the investment sector.

ITIDA puts a lot of emphasis on the ideas of young people by organising competitions at the level of Egyptian universities and governorates, developing promising ideas into prototypes that are incubated and developed as the core of a successful company that has a product ready for launch (Minimal Viable Product), and helping these startups take part in state exhibitions and forge relationships with investors in addition to offering laboratories for these companies. One of the comprehensive integrated services that we refer to as (End to End).

The Authority has a role responsible for the development of industry generally and not just a commercial and profit role, and what sets us apart is that we carry out these works in various Egyptian governorates. We began in Cairo through the Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (TIEC). Then the centers spread throughout Egypt in collaboration with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and its supervision. The Creativia Centers run by (TIEC) are now located in Borg El Arab, Assiut, Menoufia, Minya, Ismailia, Mansoura, Qena, Aswan, and Sohag. Our equipped branches will open six months in Beni Suef, Alexandria, Benha, El Fyoum and Port Said. By the end of this year and 2024, we will open other branches in Tanta, Zagazig, Al Wadi Al Gadid, and Arish, which makes us present at the level of the whole country.

This puts us on the path of developing small startup ecosystems in various Egyptian governorates. These systems are established and managed in collaboration with the local private sector and the expertise of international investors to transfer global expertise in entrepreneurship. These centres are based on ITIDA's ideology of creating a growing ecosystem for startups in each region, making these regions rich in the necessary elements to support the growth of entrepreneurship.

We currently have two global operators in the venture capital space, such as (500 Global) and (Plug and Play), which are situated close to Cairo and Ain Shams Universities, which have the highest student densities. Additionally, there are branches of local operators in the Egyptian governorates who have received training from global VC operators. With their assistance and expertise, we are already laying the groundwork for developing the startup ecosystem in Egypt.

Read the whole interview in RASMAL

Related News