By Mohamed Kamal
Citi Foundation and Enactus are joining forces to launch the first phase of the social entrepreneurship program “[email protected]” in Egypt, for the first time. The program aims at upholding and aiding youth to create their own projects. Due to the success that this program has achieved in other countries, Egypt’s “[email protected]” is believed to follow in the footsteps of the same program’s guidelines that were conducted in Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia.
To begin with, “[email protected]” program contributes to developing the students’ business skills by providing training and mentoring support to 2,500 young people between 18 and 25 years old, in addition to enabling them to transform their social impact projects into start-ups. The program is bound to create at least 10 new Businesses across in Egypt and build the capacities for at least 53 existing businesses to be able to scale.
Elissar Farah Antonios, Citi MENA Head, reiterated: “Youth face the highest unemployment rates in our region, with those aged 18-25 facing as high as 40% unemployment,” said Elissar Farah Antonios, Citi MENA Head. She continued: “We are pleased to partner with Enactus to address those issues and together bring economic empowerment to more youth in the MENA region.”
On the other hand, Mr. Mohamed Abdel Kader, Managing Director of Citi Country Officer, Egypt, confirmed: “The Foundation is working in 80 countries around the world to promote economic progress and improve the lives of individuals in low-income communities around the world. For that specific reason, Citi Foundation harnesses its efforts that enhance financial inclusion, catalyze employment opportunities for youth to push for thought leadership and innovation. All of that is occurring under the slogan of ‘More than philanthropy'”.
He also added: “Youth are a quarter of Egypt’s population, but 90% of those unemployed are under 30. However, if some of them are employed, they are, in fact, forced to accept jobs that are of low wages, poorly productive, insecure, and fat below their capabilities. That is why we launched “[email protected]” in Egypt to help those youth, who lack access to empowerment opportunities to create income-generating economic, social and environmental projects that partake in promoting economic progress and achieving Egypt’s 2030 Vision.”
To support what was aforementioned, Ms. Fatima Sirry, President and CEO of Enactus Egypt, affirmed: “I am pleased to cooperate with Citi Foundation while launching “[email protected]”, which comes in line with our vision pertinent to developing the skills and capabilities of young people. All of that is implemented for the outright purpose of preparing a new generation of entrepreneurs capable of creating a better world for all members of our society.”
Sirry added: “Enactus Egypt has assisted more than 47,000 university students to self-develop while implementing an average of 180+ sustainable development projects per year since its establishment in 2003. Egypt has also managed to reach high ranks in the global competition, and win the World Cup more than once since the establishment of Enactus Egypt. That is to say, this year we were able to win the World Cup for the third year in a row, which confirms the determination and ability of the Egyptian youth to develop their society in an effective and innovative way.
It is worth noting that the program will be implemented through several phases, represented in providing guidance to the students, through the Citi Foundation’s experts, so as to help them design their projects and validate their business models. As a result, the students would be able to run their projects, and attain upfront and early results during the first three months. Finally, regional and national competitions will be held to select the most promising projects that can be converted into viable business, hence ensure their growth through a six-month practical plan that comprises financial support.