Canada sparks social entrepreneurship in Egypt

Canadian Ambassador to Egypt Troy Lulashnyk delivers closing remarks at Egypt’s first Social Entrepreneurship Conference.

Canadian Ambassador to Egypt Troy Lulashnyk admires the work of entrepreneurs who received training as part of Canada’s Decent Jobs for Egypt’s Youth Project.

Entrepreneurs are increasingly using innovative business approaches to tackle social problems. More and more the concept of “social entrepreneurship” is being recognized as a key driving force behind sustainable economic growth and the answer to many social problems.

Canada’s Decent Jobs for Egypt’s Young People project, in partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Middle East Council for Small Business, organized Egypt’s first Social Entrepreneurship Knowledge Sharing Conference in Technische Universität Berlin at El Gouna, Egypt. 

National and international experts came together over four days during the Global Entrepreneurship Week in November, to share knowledge and best practices on fostering an enabling environment to promote and enhance the skills of social entrepreneurs in Egypt. 

The conference included a business plan competition, best idea competition, information sessions and lectures for higher and secondary level education in different governorates within Egypt. The packed schedule brought together 200 participants from various nationalities and walks of life for a great opportunity to spur ideas into action.

The Decent Jobs for Egypt’s Young People project

The Decent Jobs for Egypt’s Young People project, implemented by the ILO and funded by the Government of Canada, has been active in providing the necessary skills for social entrepreneurs by adapting and delivering a training tool that provides participants with the knowledge of how to effectively start or grow their social enterprise. 

The project specifically targets youth groups with women-headed households, disabilities, and those living in poor rural areas to maximize the impact of aid given to various public and private sector partners for the implementation of youth employment programs.

Since 2011, the Decent Jobs for Egypt’s Young People project has been supporting the creation of micro and small enterprises and providing skills for employment to youth and marginalized groups in its target governorates.

Key results for Egypt’s future

The Decent Jobs for Egypt’s Young People project has resulted in some great accomplishments over the last 5 years, including 3,000 job opportunities created for Egypt’s youth and other marginalized groups in the targeted governorates of the Red Sea, Minya and Port Said. The project also provided capacity development and technical assistance to over 32,000 people including 21,700 students from 21 Egyptian technical colleges, 9,700 students from the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Small & Medium Enterprises, 844 students from the Ministry of Higher Education, and 459 women in the handicraft sector. Finally, 2031 entrepreneurs received training on starting your own business, and 775 youth were trained in job market entry skills.

Based on this success, the project was recently extended until 2018, and expanded to the cities of Luxor and Aswan in order to reach up to 25,000 more youth.

The Role of Canada and social entrepreneurship in Egypt

During the opening remarks at the conference, Ambassador Troy Lulashynk emphasized Canada’s support for Egypt’s micro and small enterprise sector over the last 25 years.

Social entrepreneurship is at the core of Canada’s programming in Egypt. Social entrepreneurship generates financial, social and cultural value. It is for this reason that Canada has identified sustainable growth as a key element to help alleviate poverty in Egypt”.

Egypt’s small enterprise sector is based on innovative means and approaches, and by developing tools for knowledge sharing and capacity building, Canada hopes to continue empowering entrepreneurs to succeed.