Meet The Team

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Hala Barakat, Director

Hala Barakat graduated from the American University in Cairo in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a minor in Economics. From there, she head-started her career in international banking and finance, later shifting to production and retail. Being an entrepreneur herself, she was directly involved in the peaks and valleys of the business world, which enabled her to guide and mentor young entrepreneurs in different fields.

In 2016, Barakat obtained her master’s degree in Economics in International Development from the American University in Cairo. Post-completion, she began providing education-for-employment training, as well as workshops in entrepreneurship and other related fields. Not long after, she became ascertain that her longstanding interest in education and entrepreneurship development had heightened into an eternal passion to support and impact the ecosystem.

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Ghada Hafez, Associate Director

Ghada Hafez graduated from the Faculty of Economics and Political Sciences, Cairo University with an economics major in 1996. In addition, she has completed numeral executive training programs at AUC and other prominent entities targeting senior managers.

She is currently the associate director at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI), School of Business, The American University in Cairo. Prior to that, she was the founding manager of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program (EIP) at the School of Business since 2010.

Through the EIP and the CEI, Hafez has led a numerous number of programs, activities, and events aiming at developing and building the capacity of the entrepreneurship ecosystem. The activities included research, roundtable discussions, conferences with international speakers, in addition to supporting startups and entrepreneurs through business plan and idea competitions, boot camps, talks, awareness sessions, and conferences.

Hafez has deep knowledge of the entrepreneurship ecosystem and has developed long term relationships with the key actors in the ecosystem. She took on a key role in the establishment of the AUC Venture Lab, a university-based incubator providing support for early stage innovative startups. She also managed the initial training programs (Entrepreneurship Development programs) for the AUC Venture Lab and Flat 6 Labs.

Prior to joining AUC, she had an extensive career in planning, developing and managing development programs in Egypt. She was one of the founding members and the training manager for a €5 Million Euro European Union funded project, The Industrial Training Council (ITC), under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, to develop the training capacity in Egypt.

For 7 years, Hafez also served in two USAID projects as the monitoring and evaluation manager and program manager. She also worked for two years at an HR consultancy firm as well as the banking sector, in addition to volunteering in community development initiatives, and fundraising for the educational sector in London, UK.