2020 has been a challenging year for the whole world. With Covid-19 forcing us into lockdown, humanity was trying to find a way to cope with the new reality. While this has caused many job losses, ceased flights, empty streets and many other difficulties, it also brought us closer together and showed us how creative we can be to keep our lives going.
As a response, we all started using online tools more than ever, and so did major companies in many industries. They headed towards digital transformation to be able to survive. The use of online tools sky-rocketed in education, shopping, food delivery, communication, and more.
And NilePreneurs was no different, in spite of all of the difficulties this year has brought, we tried to find creative ways to pull through, and keep our efforts in supporting the entrepreneurship community going, in addition to our attempts in alleviating the impact of Covid-19 on multiple sectors including the medical staff.
As a result, our programs may have thrived differently this year, with the launch of new cycles, the development of many startups, and the establishment of many fruitful partnerships. Here’s how NilePreneurs has worked to support you the year of Covid-19, and how we plan to keep on supporting you in the future!
Our Journey into The “New Normal”
We’re all familiar with the consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak. But, with our mission to enhance the entrepreneurship ecosystem and support its stakeholders by enabling innovation, there was no way we could stand hand-tied to what’s going on around us. That’s when we decided to take part in presenting solutions where challenges were found.
With our resources and knowledge, we were able to assist the medical community at the peak of the COVID-19 crisis through many efforts.
At the same time, we directed our efforts of supporting the entrepreneurship community to the online world by producing many virtual sessions and webinars, hosting entrepreneurial experts and startup founders to share their services and advice with the community.
In the light of this, we established a partnership with Flat6Labs to present to you the startup talk, a series of webinars that tackles what it takes to launch a tech product in Egypt hosting top tech entrepreneurs, industry experts, technology leaders, and ecosystem enablers to share with you their stories and insights.
On another note, we introduced “Al-Manassa” as a digital show that hosts business experts from different sectors to share their experience with our audience and guide aspiring entrepreneurs.
You can find all episodes of Al-Manassa on NilePreneurs’ Facebook page here.
Additionally, we have launched “Khalik Digital” program to support you in digitally transforming your current business model by offering the diverse services and tools you need to appear on digital channels. You can learn more about the program from this video by “Eng. Ahmed Abuiliazeed”, NP Program Manager.
Also among the year’s highlights was our participation as a facilitator in the regional competition AI4DEV, organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) with the aim of leveraging technology to achieve United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Click here to visit the Facebook page to find out all about the winners.
Our Pillars Throughout 2020
Growing Our Educational Gateway “NP Learn”
NilePreneurs’ educational program, NP Learn, reached many milestones in the light of its mission to provide young entrepreneurs with best practices and hands-on experience from experts in the field.
Launching its first cycle in 2020, the educational accelerator NP Academy, sponsored by HSBC, managed to successfully support the growth of batch #1; consisting of 25 companies that have been operating in the market for 2 or more years.
Overcoming the difficulties imposed by the lockdown, all the training sessions took place virtually, and yet they all had the opportunity to work closely with business and technical experts to define their pain points and develop plans in their businesses to be ready to proceed to the next level.
The companies came from different industries and backgrounds, such as e-commerce, retail, transportation, social & sustainability, real estate, and many more.
Get to meet the companies from batch #1:
The academy is planning on continuing its support to its first batch until the cycle is completed in 2021, and the graduating companies will have a chance to meet investors! To stay updated about the program, visit our website, or follow NP Learn’s Facebook page.
2020 affected many fronts, and the job market was certainly one of them. For those who graduated in 2020, finding their place in the job market was a major concern due to the new challenges employers were facing, such as, adapting to working remotely. This created an urgent need for digital skills among fresh graduates.
NP Explore, another program by NP Learn, addressed this need by providing fresh graduates and undergraduates with virtual training sessions in some of the most demanded fields in the job market today.
The program held its second cycle in 2020, where participants received hours of training in digital marketing, embedded software, branding & advertising, and other tracks. You can find out all about the tracks here.
The applicants’ journey didn’t stop with the virtual sessions. After completing their training, the applicants connected with 45 startups in a virtual matchmaking event, allowing them to seize 100 internships successfully to implement their new knowledge in a practical environment.
Additionally, to further support the applicants with their job hunt, 300 participants from the program received badges on their Wuzzuf profile certifying their training to increase the applicants’ opportunity of getting viewed by employers.
In 2021, batch 3 is coming. Stay tuned and follow our Facebook page to apply in the next cycle.
Taking courses online was a popular activity in 2020. Millions of people turned towards the internet for online courses to develop their skills and make use of the free time imposed by the lockdown.
NP Learn offers 7 online courses, with 2 added this year; covering the topics of “Entrepreneurship Deep Dive” & “Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship”, with the former becoming our most popular course.
“NP Incubate” Keeps supporting the Growth of Ideas
NP Incubate, the hub of NilePreneurs’ 5 incubators, witnessed big developments in 2020. In spite of the difficulties they faced this year, NP Incubate was able to support many startup founders to turn their idea into reality through cash and in-kind services.
In 2021, our pre-incubation program will extend its efforts to support more talents. In addition, an investment readiness program will match graduated startups with investment ventures. So far, NP incubate has partnered with Falak startups, Flat6labs, and Alex ventures.
NP Innovate Manufactures 35,000 FaceMasks
& Successfully Produces a Ventilator Prototype
As one of the five main pillars of NilePreneurs’ programs, NP Innovate’s role was emphasized with the difficulties that came along this year.
The Design House, sponsored by Banque Misr, thrived this year, with their efforts in producing two prototypes of a ventilator and a facemask for Zewail University, with the aim of diminishing the impact of COVID-19. In addition to manufacturing the Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device for Mercedes, which supports patients with breathing difficulties.
Center of Die Design Excellence (COD2E)
Including many efforts, our Center of Die Design Excellence (COD2E), Sponsored by Industrial Development Bank, proposed a brand new design to protect the healthcare workers in Egypt throughout the pandemic and utilized our MicroFactory, in partnership with Rowad 2030 and Ministry of Planning, to manufacture 35,000 face shields. In collaboration with Misr El Kheir Foundation and health care NGO Mersal, they were distributed to several hospitals and health organizations nationwide.
NP Compete Provides Companies with Tailored Training
With a clear growth strategy tailored to each company’s business challenge, our “Compete” program continued to improve the market performance of SMEs in Egypt through 2 main training centers:
Export Excellence Center
Sponsored by Banque du Caire, our training center worked with multiple Industrial Engineering companies this year; allowing them to expand into new foreign markets by enabling innovation management & technology transfer. And its impact grew noticeably this year.
All of this took place through an “Ecommerce” track that helped companies become export-ready with an online presence on international trade portals as well as an “Innovate” track, in partnership with the Export Engineering council of Egypt (EEC), that aimed to upgrade products for global markets.
In order to proceed in adding value to more SMEs in various sectors in Egypt, we are currently preparing for Batch 3, where we plan to target different industries.
Value Chain Development Center (VCDC)
In VCDC, sponsored by The United Bank, our goal remains the same; identifying gaps in the production phases that reflect on the quality and traceability of products especially in sectors that have the most impact on our health and environment like Dairy, Food, and Biodegradable Plastic.
In order to ensure plans for growth are developed and implemented in these sectors, SMEs have been provided with technical & digital solutions to focus on achieving sustainable growth through their products.
And as it’s always enlightening to witness a success story to one of our beneficiaries, we are extremely proud to present you “Milkawy”, the first smart system for managing milk collection and distribution in Egypt. And as an innovative solution for a challenging issue in the dairy sector, the idea quickly got an investment opportunity. You can visit “Milkawy” facebook page to learn more about it.
In 2021, We are eager to witness a bigger impact in more sectors with a focus on the food industry.
BDS Hubs Expands in 6 New Governorates
For over a year now, Business Development Services (BDS Hubs) has been providing advisory support services and implementable financial and non-financial solutions that improve the entrepreneurial ecosystem and help SMEs achieve their business goals. And that was what BDS Hubs has achieved in 2020 alone.
With expansions that have reached 24 Branches in 16 Governorates in only 2 years, our program managed to closely meet the needs of multiple clients and provide them a great number of services through full coordination with governmental and non-governmental agencies and financial institutions.
And now, BDS Hubs is working on increasing its number of Satellite offices and Points of Presence (POPs) that take place inside its branches or in youth centers to increase its impact by maximizing the utilization of unused spaces and units within the participating entities’ branches.
Whether it’s been through the launch of new programs or the support of ongoing ones, NilePreneurs has found creative ways to cope and stay by your side this year. You might be using the services of a startup that graduated one of our programs, you may have taken an online course with NP Learn, or applied to one of our programs yourself. And over the next year, you can still expect NilePreneurs to be by your side with more attempts to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 or with programs and competitions that reinforce innovation.
NilePreneurs wishes you a Happy New Year!