The Egyptian Social Innovation Cluster soft-launching event – The Social Startup Carnival (SSC) took place on Saturday, November 26th at the GrEEK Campus (Downtown Cairo).
SCC is the first event to be held by a consortium of five leading organizations (ECASTI, Ashoka Arab World, Alashanek ya Balady ,Misr El-Kheir and Nahdet El Mahrousa) working together to support entrepreneurship and social innovation in Egypt as a part of the sustainably plan of the Egyptian Social Innovation Cluster
The day started with an opening session given by Ms. Mahi El Jazzar (Senior Manager of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Misr El Kheir) who presented more information about the history of the cluster, its establishment and its main partners. The Egyptian Social Innovation Cluster, was established in 2014 by a grant received from the EU – RDI Program (Research, Development and Innovation Program) to form and lead an Egyptian Social Innovation Cluster supporting the bottom of the pyramid. This cluster was founded by 7 main partners which are: (Misr El Kheir Foundation – through its program GESR, German University in Cairo (GUC), Assiut University, Hubconcepts Inc., ECASTI, bidX and TICO Al Azhar).
The main aim behind this Carnival (SSC) was celebrating the social innovation and entrepreneurship creating impact in local communities, that’s why an open market was held for social enterprises incubated in these organizations to showcase their products and services, in addition to, a number of interactive activities and games.
In parallel to the all-day market an interactive session by Mr. Loay El Shawarby was held exploring the legal framework of social innovation and entrepreneurship in Egypt and lessons learned from abroad. The session highlighted the main legal obstacles facing the social entrepreneurs in Egypt, in addition to, examining the legislation and legal structures that govern social enterprises in a number of European countries as well as in the United States, with a view to how these experiences can be related back to Egypt. The session concluded with suggesting some key reforms needed to allow social innovation to thrive and foster a more supportive business environment for entrepreneurs and social innovators in Egypt, like giving more attention to different legal models for social enterprises such as the social cooperatives model and the importance of designing new policy measures or incentives whether in the form of tax and fiscal incentives or in the form of investment support, that can help in creating a more supportive ecosystem for social enterprise to thrive.