By: Nouran El Ashry
Egypt recently tied with the United Arab Emirates as the leading country for startups in the Arab World.
The Student Union’s (SU) Real Life Project is hoping to capitalize on this ranking and inspire entrepreneurial spirit in students by providing them with tips on how to ‘seize opportunities’.
In a recent SU event, three well-known entrepreneurs in Egypt’s startup scene, CEO of Voyagers Galal Zekri, Co-founder of The Bakery Shop (TBS) Basel Mashhour and CEO and Co-founder of Ariika Shahir Arslan, joined forces to show young entrepreneur-minded AUC students the chalelnges and rewards that await them.
“The project aims to provide students with a smooth transitional phase between their undergraduate and postgraduate lives,” said Mohamed El Fiky, general manager of SU Real Life.
El Fiky added that entrepeneurship can apply to all fields, which is why the session is important for students from different majors.
This is achieved through various career awareness sessions, job shadowing field trips and providing internship opportunities in several fields, he said.
Zekri began the talk with a presentation about his journey, which started 10 years ago.
His adventures included cycling 130 kms to Al Ain Al Sokhna in 2011 when he was just 17, cycling to Neweba’ at 18 and to the Oasis at 19, becoming Egypt’s first solo cyclist to successfully tour the country at a total distance of 15,000 km.
“We chose Zekri to be among our speakers because of his ambition, persistence and young age that most students will be able to relate to,” said El Fiky.
Zekri is now in the process of launching Voyagers, a travel and adventure service.
“I was inspired by Zekri’s determination and passion to what he is doing. I personally got motivated to go on adventures like his,” said Multimedia Journalism junior Mahy Mohamed.
The second speaker, Mashhour, is a Political Economy AUC alumnus who talked to attendees about how failure is always a part of success.
He shared his personal failures when he was trying to set up his business as an undergraduate.
“Masshour is an experienced entrepreneur and was able to give students wise advice and that’s why he was an addition to the session,” El Fiky told The Caravan.
Arslan concluded the session by explaining how people should differentiate between good and bad opportunities.
He said that we are faced with several opportunities throughout our lives that should be taken, but sometimes people are too afraid or lazy, which should not be the case.
“It’s not about being a successful entrepreneur. The different experiences presented to students in the session could tick something in their minds and change their way of thinking,” Arslan told The Caravan.