Focusing on Social Innovation for Employment, Barclays Bank Egypt, in partnership with Nahdet El-Mahrousa, started a competition in August 2013, looking for sustainable, “Egypt-building” startups and providing them with life, enterprise, and financial skills.
Under the message “For every startup that is born, at least five people are employed”, they targeted young professional Egyptians between the ages of 20 and 35, who actively participate in building the community they live in by designing initiatives to develop young people and create youth employment opportunities.
“Barclays Egypt has a sense of responsibility toward youth who seriously seek employment even if not in the conventional sectors. This responsibility led us to invest LE890,000 in this initiative since it has first started 18 months ago especially that we believe we have a vital role in solving the problem of unemployment and boosting the Egyptian economy,” said Mohamed Sherif, Barclays Bank Egypt Board Member and Finance Director.
Eight youth societal initiatives from Cairo, Aswan, Qena, and Alexandria, in the fields of urban farming, conflict resolution, handicrafts, recycling and up-cycling, logistics, R&D, employment for adults with disabilities and street children won the competition and were awarded seed funding, technical assistance, infrastructure support, consultancy, mentorship, and a chance to attend networking events.
On his part, Loay El-Shawarby, Head of Nahdet El Mahrousa, said, “Since last June, the contest received 200 applications from youth trying to create employment for themselves. Only 5 initiatives were supposed to win the prize but because of the outstanding ideas and unparalleled innovation, 8 winners were selected.”
The contest has been launched in December 2013, and by January 2014, 262 applications were received. 17 teams reached the final contest after going through two intensive programs for planning social businesses. A committee from Barclays Bank Egypt, Nahdet El Mahrousa and Awtad selected 8 teams to win the prize.