Meet The Team

Hala Barakat CEI

Hala Barakat, Director

In 1998, Hala Barakat graduated from the American University in Cairo (AUC) with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a minor in economics. From there, she took off her career in international banking and finance, later shifting to production and retailing. Being an entrepreneur herself, she was directly involved in all the ups and downs of the business world. This has enabled her to guide and mentor young entrepreneurs in different fields.

Later, she obtained her master’s degree in economics in international development from AUC in 2016. After graduation, she started providing education-for-employment training, as well as workshops in entrepreneurship and other related fields. Before long, she found out that her longstanding interest in education and entrepreneurship development had grown into a lasting passion to serve this ecosystem.

Ghada Hafez

Ghada Hafez, Associate Director

Ghada Hafez, is currently the associate director for the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the AUC School of Business. Prior to that, she was the founding manager for the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program (EIP) at the School of Business since 2010. Through the EIP and the Entrepreneurship Center, Hafez has led a number of programs and activities targeting International, regional and Egyptian entrepreneurs and students, including international; hackathons, business competitions, idea plan competitions, in addition to boot camps, startups weekends, awareness and mentoring sessions and conferences. She has deep knowledge of the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Egypt and the middle east, and has developed long term relationships with the key actors in the ecosystem. Hafez took a key role in the establishment of the AUC VentureLab, Egypt’s first university-based incubator and accelerator at The American University in Cairo. The lab enables startups to capitalize on AUC’s intellectual capital, world-class facilities and research capacities. It connects innovative startups with AUC’s network that includes alumni, faculty, mentors and investors. Through this, it fosters a thriving ecosystem of innovation, education and responsible business.  She also managed the Executive Development program for the AUC VentureLab and Flat 6 Labs early cycle startups.

Prior to joining AUC, Hafez had an extensive career in planning, developing and managing development programs in Egypt.

Nazly Hussein

Nazly Hussein, Program Coordinator

Nazly Hussein is the program coordinator for the UN-Funded Women Economic Empowerment Program- Entrepreneurship Support; a grant awarded to Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) to help reduce the gender gap in the Egyptian entrepreneurship ecosystem by raising the skill set of 1000 women aged 21 and above in underprivileged and rural communities in 7 governorates.

Hussein graduated from AUC with a major in construction engineering. She spent the first eight years of her career in an oil and gas multinational, starting as part of the Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE) team as an environmental engineer, followed by her role as a project engineer supporting the expansion of an existing gas plant in the Port Said area.

She obtained her MBA from AUC concentrating in finance, and moved on to work in the banking sector as part of the digital innovation team. During this period, she integrated with the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Egypt to serve the country’s goal of bridging the financial inclusion gap. This was implemented through her work in supporting startups, most prominently those with a fintech focus.

Hussein's latest role as a business development manager in a consultancy firm provided her with exposure to the consultancy world, where she supported business expansion by tailoring the firm’s business offerings to client requirements, as well as preparing various proposals.

She has supported the AUC School of Business through her role as a Teacher Assistant (TA) for an MBA Leadership course.

Reem Akef

Reem Akef, Senior Specialist Skills Development

Reem Akef is the senior specialist skills development for the UN-Funded Women Economic Empowerment program awarded to the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI).

Akef graduated with a double major in political science and history specializing in Middle East studies from AUC. She obtained her master's degree in international relations from the United Kingdom. Nation Branding and Public Diplomacy were her main research focus. 

Her latest role was a marketing and sales coordinator in the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt.

Rehab Shalaby

Rehab Shalaby, Marketing and Communication Assistant Coordinator

Rehab Shalaby graduated with a major in communication and media arts, mass communication, and a minor in business administration from the AUC. She has one year of experience in media, video, and ads production.