In cooperation with the British Embassy, the British Council held “The Social Enterprise Week” during the period from the 27th till the 31st of March. The attendees represent a variety from representatives from British and Egyptian social entrepreneurship institutions, industry, academia and some of the non-for-profit organizations working in social innovation field. Throughout the well, representatives from the social enterprises shared their experience and success stories that have contributed to economic growth, job creation and provided social solutions.
The first day of the week focused on financing mechanisms of the social enterprises, the limitations they are facing in Egypt and how to overcome it, in addition to highlighting the benefits of the investment in social innovation for both public and private sectors. While the focus in the second day was on the role of donors and how to bridge the gap between the donors, academics and policy makers, also creation of a shared understanding of social enterprises. The third day was divided into two parts; the first focused on the introduction of social enterprises in classrooms through exploring methods and objectives for teaching social enterprise; while the second part focused on encouraging university students to engage with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, working together to solve pressing social issues; in addition to launching Hult Prize. It encourages the world’s brightest business minds to compete in teams to solve the planet’s biggest challenges with innovative ideas for sustainable start-up enterprises.
Finally, the 30th of 31st of March was dedicated to the “Science and Innovation Summit” in cooperation with ECASTI, the Academy of Scientific Research (ASRT) and NESTA (UK). The summit was inaugurated by His Excellency Mr. John Casson, the British Ambassador to Egypt, Dr. Sameh Farid, Founder and President of New Giza University, Mr. Jeff Streeter, Country Director (British Council) and Dr. Amr Abd El Khalek, representative of ASRT.
The first day of the summit was dedicated to explore the innovation cycle in Egypt and issues around commercializing research and how to benefit from the British expertise and know-how in that field. In addition to the suggestions of the enhancement of the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Ecosystem, this was co-organized by ECASTI through conducting four workshops around the suggested pillars of the new STI law which are;
- Identifying the objectives of STI and its role in Egyptian society
- Defining the most important terms used in the law to avoid any confusion or misinterpretation
- Identifying the commitments and obligations of the State towards the STI sector
- Supporting the innovation cycle through the facilitation of technology commercialization, the protection of intellectual property, and the adoption of other tools to incentivize the innovation process
- Creating a legal framework for start-ups and spin-off companies, in addition to promoting entrepreneurship in the field of innovation by adopting more encouraging policies
The second and final day of the summit was devoted to showcase ways to embed social enterprise into the university infrastructure, using successful models from UK Higher Education, as well as to discuss the five main themes of the Newton Mosharafa Fund (NMF), which are;
– Affordable and Inclusive Healthcare*
– Renewable Energy
– Sustainable Water Management
– Sustainable Food Production
– Archaeology and Cultural Heritage