Co-Working For Sustainable Employment Program Creates 12 Co-Working Spaces Across Nine Cities in Egypt
Through empowering co-working and innovation spaces and building networks across members of co-working spaces, 170 startups and 1000 jobs were created.
AUC Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, in partnership with Hivos and Nahdet el Mahrousa, have launched a program titled the Co-Working for Sustainable Employment (CWSE) program, where 12 co-working spaces have been built across nine Egyptian cities to network, share, and learn from each other.
The key motivation behind the program is to contribute to the creation of more job opportunities for youth between the ages of 15 and 24 years, especially young women, within medium-sized towns outside of Cairo. This was accomplished through empowering co-working and innovation spaces to act as central hubs supporting young entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Our role throughout has been taking charge for building in-house capacities as well as ensuring sustainability at the selected co-working spaces through a series of activities and interventions, including technical support, 200+ hours of training, and one-on-one mentorship.
All co-working spaces were encouraged and assisted to develop their own models, programs and KPIs that respond explicitly to their cities’ primary patterns and social settings, to be implemented throughout the duration of the program. This was a first step towards developing equitable support structures for aspiring entrepreneurs as well as raising a new generation of empowered youth.
In light of this methodology, funds were allocated and divided into four installments, scheduled to be dispersed to the co-working spaces on the basis of accomplishing the required activities as per the results indicators and approved financial reports.
“The program definitely exceeded our expectations. The training sessions in Gouna were particularly beneficial. All the mentorship helped us to become more financially sustainable and to grow our startup; we are now operating in three governorates and looking to hopefully expand in seven more in the near future”, asserted Mahmoud Ali, Al Makkan, Menoufia.
While the initial agreement span was for a duration of 12 months, the program was extended for six additional months to support four particular co-working spaces in Suez, Alexandria, Menoufia and Tanta, as well as to conduct more capacity building workshops and mentoring for all 12 spaces.
As an end-result, over 1000 jobs were created and 170 startups were generated from the co-working spaces. Ayman Ismail, Abdul Latif Jameel Endowed Chair of Entrepreneurship and AUC Venture Lab Director highlights: “There is so much entrepreneurial talent all over Egypt. Through this program, we have launched 12 co-working spaces in nine cities in Egypt to act as hubs for entrepreneurs to connect, collaborate and develop their startups. These co-working spaces help in spreading the entrepreneurial movement in Egypt, expanding beyond Cairo; and encouraging youth to join this promising ecosystem.”