CIT Minister meets startup founders to define obstacles facing sector

Mohamed Alaa El-Din
4 Min Read

Egypt’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology (CIT) Amr Talaat met, on Tuesday, with a group of founders of distinguished startups working in the CIT fields.

The meeting took place as part of the activities at the second edition of the “Startup Day”, organised virtually by the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) through its Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (TIEC).

The meeting was attended by Acting ITIDA CEO Amr Mahfouz; Hossam Othman, Adviser to the Minister of Communications for Technology Innovation, Electronics Industry and Training; and several young startup founders.

Talaat said that Egypt has achieved promising positive results in the startup field. During the first half of 2020, the country has maintained its leading Middle East and Africa (MEA) region position in attracting the largest number of investment deals in the emerging companies sector. It also ranked second in terms of the volume of investments in the MEA region.

Talaat also said that his ministry has made significant efforts towards helping startups achieve sustainable growth, most notably in the provision of digital skills.

It has also taken part in preparing qualified employees required by emerging companies in Egypt, by launching a series of initiatives according to a hierarchical approach. This was based on providing training programmes that require little time to build a wide base of digital skills.

The CIT Ministry has also been involved in providing training programmes focused on fewer numbers but longer periods, providing more in-depth specialisations in various technological fields.

He highlighted the most important of these initiatives set up by the ministry. It includes the “Our Future … Digital” initiative which aims to train 100,000 young people in data science, electronic marketing, and website development. The initiative has been put in place to increase competitive capabilities in the free labour market.

The ministry has also backed the “500-500” initiative, which aims to train 500 young people in data science and artificial intelligence (AI) over nine months.

This comes in addition to an initiative run in cooperation with Chinese technology firm, Huawei, providing training to 10,000 young Egyptians in various CIT fields. During the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the joint initiative has taken place through virtual laboratories.

The ministry has cooperated with France’s School of Engineering and Computer Science (EPITA), to provide training to 200 trainees in AI techniques.

The “Digital Egypt Builders” initiative, which will start in February, aims to provide 12 month training programmes for 1,000 graduates from Egypt’s Faculties of Engineering and Computer Science. During the programme, the trainees will undergo in-depth training in a CIT specialisation to obtain a Master’s degree, in addition to a package of advanced and essential project management skills.

At the meeting, the young founders of emerging startups reviewed their entrepreneurial experiences in various CIT disciplines. They also outlined the most important challenges and obstacles affecting the growth of emerging companies, and their proposals to solve them. This included preparing the legislative environment, and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology’s support for them in providing places equipped with fast internet at an affordable cost.

They also urged that the ministry should make itself available as a link with a number of relevant ministries and bodies, to facilitate the work of startups.

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