ECASTI served as a technical partner to the European Union and Misr El Kheir Foundation during a workshop on November 10 titled Developing the Social Innovation Ecosystem in Egypt.

Other technical partners included the German University in Cairo (GUC) and Hubconcepts, a Finnish professional service company specializing in planning, development, and management of regional innovation ecosystems and hubs around the world.

The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Jukka Viitanen, a recognized scholar in innovation system development and co-founder and CEO of Hubconcepts. The event also featured speeches by Mr. Reinhold Brender, Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation to Egypt; Dr. Abeer Shakweer, Advisor of Scientific Research and Innovation at Misr El Kheir Foundation; Dr. Heba Gaber, Research and Innovation Officer at the European Union Delegation to Egypt; and Dr. Ahmed Saleh, Head of the Innovation Management Unit at the Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) Program.

Dr. Viitanen stressed that the key to successful innovation systems is the right combination of infrastructure and micro-cluster activities, adding that all elements in the cluster must aim to achieve global best practices.

He showcased examples of seven successful case studies of innovation hubs from the USA, Europe, and Asia, which were analyzed according to the HubconceptsTMFramework, which is designed to analyze and evaluate the different layers of any innovation ecosystem.

However, Dr. Viitanen noted that local conditions affect the ways in which different actors operate. “You can’t copy successful case studies,” he said. “They are all different.”However, he noted that all case studies have one thing in common: a strong innovation policy framework which serves as the base of the remaining structures and players.

Dr. Viitanen’s keynote address was followed by four parallel workshops in which participants identified the challenges and opportunities in building a supportive Egyptian social innovation ecosystem. These workshops focused on private sector activities, public-private partnerships, education and R&D activities, and innovation policy and programs. Among the key findings of the workshops was the need to develop a clear understanding of social innovation and push for acoherent innovation policy and framework in Egypt.

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