April 10, 2016, Cairo – The American University in Cairo (AUC) announced today a new five-year partnership with General Electric (NYSE: GE), through which GE will sponsor AUC Venture Lab (AUC V-Lab), the first university-based incubator in Egypt that aims to commercialize technologies and innovations developed by Egypt-based startups into commercially viable ventures. Under the five-year agreement, GE will sponsor two acceleration cycles per year, including training and workshops, competitions between start-ups and boot camps. On average, each acceleration cycle incubates between eight to ten startups for a period of four months to ensure the sustainability of their business models after the program.
The $100,000 sponsorship 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.
“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.
Through this partnership, GE, along with AUC, is playing a role in the transformation of Egypt’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, thus supporting the country’s vision to diversify and boost the economy through the empowerment of youth.
Rania Rostom, chief innovation officer for GE in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey said, “We are proud to be partnering with AUC on this initiative. As a digital industrial company, GE believes that empowering youth with the capability and skill-sets of working on new technology trends such as advanced manufacturing and industrial internet is of critical importance. 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.”
Today, Egypt is considered one of the world’s top start-up hubs and has become one of the fastest growing entrepreneurial markets globally, making this a timely and crucial investment by GE. To help foster this ecosystem, 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.
Since its launch in 2013, the 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 market, and completed over 1,000 mentoring and training hours for participants.
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