GE Partners with AUC V-Lab to Support Egyptian Startups
Egypt is regularly identified as one of the world’s top startup hubs and has become one of the fastest growing entrepreneurial markets globally. The annual RiseUp Summit held late last year at the former downtown campus of the American University in Cairo drew more than 5,000 attendees and hundreds of startups from Egypt and across the region, alongside regional and international investors, incubators, accelerators.
Helping to further accelerate this ecosystem and expand startup business opportunities, GE has announced a five-year, $100,000 investment to support the American University in Cairo Venture Lab (AUC V-Lab). AUC V-Lab is the first university-based incubator in Egypt that aims to commercialize technologies and innovations developed by Egypt-based startups.
Under the agreement, GE will sponsor two acceleration cycles per year, including training, workshops, competitions among start-ups, and boot camps. On average, each acceleration cycle incubates eight to 10 startups for a period of four months to ensure the sustainability of the startup business models after the program.
“At AUC Venture Lab, we aspire to become the driving force behind the spark in innovation within this community. Youth today have the ability to change the way Egyptians live, work, learn and play, and inspire the next generation of innovators. Our partnership with GE will further support the program and our ability to incubate more start-ups and provide them with the best available tools in the market,” said Ayman Ismail, Assistant Professor and Abdul Latif Jameel Endowed Chair of Entrepreneurship at AUC’s School of Business.
GE has the right experience to support this effort, as it pioneers new Industrial Internet software apps and new hardware-software combinations to help industrial customer achieve greater efficiencies and enhance operations. GE also is promoting Advanced Manufacturing, which uses 3D printing, CNC mills, laser cutters and injection molders that can create a whole new sub-industry of micro-factories and do-it-yourself entrepreneurs that can benefit from rapid prototyping and just-in-time manufacturing.
This partnership highlights GE’s commitment to investing in programs that empower youth in Egypt, giving them direct access to essential software and advanced manufacturing tools and skills that will help prepare them for the world of the future. The partnership will support members of the ecosystem in transforming their ideas into digital and hardware solutions and in turn strengthen Egypt’s supply chain, create jobs and boost the economy.
“The worlds of physics and analytics are rapidly merging, and this next generation must be able to navigate both in a highly-competitive and fast-changing job market,” said Rania Rostom, Chief Innovation Officer for GE in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey. “Through this partnership, GE, along with AUC, is strengthening Egypt’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and expanding the opportunities for young people.”
GE is a steady supporter of startup ecosystems in Egypt and across the region, including through sponsorship of the MEMakers section of the website run by the Arab World’s leading entrepreneurship incubator Wamda, a mentorship program with Wamda that pairs 10 MENA startups with 20 GE employees to learn from each other, and extensive deployment of GE’s Advanced Manufacturing GE Garages workshops.
Since its launch in 2013, AUC V-Lab has completed five acceleration cycles, incubated 46 start-ups and raised 23 million EGP in funding to-date. The program has also created 253 jobs in the Egyptian market, and completed over 1,000 mentoring and training hours for participants. AUC V-Lab enables start-ups to capitalize on the university’s intellectual capital, facilities and research capacities. The program also connects the start-ups with AUC’s network of alumni, faculty, mentors and investors to help foster a thriving ecosystem of innovation, education and responsible business.