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Private: MDC Egypt 2022: Connecting collaborators and igniting the power of mentorship

On Saturday 18th of June, after an engaging hybrid four months of matchmaking, training meetings, and workshops, the 2022 edition of the VC4A Mentor-Driven Capital (MDC) program in Egypt came to a close. Thanks to the collaboration with program partners – Ahead of the CurveHIMAngelThe Cairo AngelsAUC Angels, Alex Angels, Innoventures, and IceAlex in Egypt, VC4A was able to connect 18 business mentors with 18 startups. The closing session was hosted as part of the first edition of the AUC V-Lab Summit 2022 held at the AUC Campus in Cairo.

The goal of MDC is for (starting) business mentors to better understand how to add value to startups through sharing their knowledge, experience, and network. After first following the publicly available online VC4A Mentor-Driven Capital course, the mentors attended sessions with experts like Ayman Ismail of the American University of Cairo and Amr El Abassy – Investment & Venture Capital Department at MSMEDA. Expert sessions covered topics such as mentor-investor mindset, startup pitfalls in fundraising, preparing startups for early-stage investments, and the fundraising process.

The 2022 Mentor-Driven Capital Program Egypt included mixed profiles of senior professionals, serial entrepreneurs, and Angel Investors such as Asser El Zorba – Chief Financial Officer at Siemens Healthineers Egypt, Omar Kandeel – General Manager of Bnsights Management Consulting, Hala Barakat – Director of the Center of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the American University in Cairo, Hany Soliman – General Manager Africa at PayTabs, Tarek Roushdy – Angel Investor and Managing Partner at UI Investments, Mennen Elkalyoubi – VP Business Development at Siemens Healthcare,  Mohammed Abd El-Mohsen – Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer at Tawasol Holdings for Financial Investments, Mohamed Sanad – Business Transformation Manager at DEVART LAB, and Mahmoud Hamouda – Worldwide Edge Strategy and Operations consultant at Dell Technologies among many other mentors who have enriched the program and the participating startups with their experience and professional insights and advice during a period exceeding three months.

Throughout the program, we received some reflections and key takeaways from a couple of founders worth sharing

At Education Square, we didn’t have a complete MVP moving from a grassroots initiative to a startup model, where we have been testing several business models for B2C and B2B clients. We also had no clear plans for growth. Working with Dr. Hala as our mentor, we were able to reflect on our work and on the questions we had about our business model. Eventually, we changed the business model and I feel better running my own business thanks to her mentorship and guidance.

Aliaa Ahmed, Founder of Education Square.
Closing session in progress led by Ahmed Nour of VC4A

We had challenges over our value proposition and traction post covid. Going through fundraising was not an easy exercise for us. The ease of communication and the quality of the mentor was the best part of the program. Working with Mennen, We understood more and we were helped to identify various points of strength and opportunities for our startup. With her help, we learned rapid prototyping, practical idea generation, and lean methodologies to quickly come up with new ideas, test, and iterate.

Adham Yousef – Co-founder of  Check Me Health.
Class in progress: Photo courtesy AUC Ventures Lab

We had some struggles with investment approaches, and how to prepare legally and management-wise. Over the past 3 months, we worked with Mohamed Abdelmohsen and his team to structure our management board, align our team, and milestones and understand the legalities needed. We are now confident and ready to attract investors.

Shady Ahmed and Mohamed Osama – Founders of Akhdar (أخضر ).

We had many ideas about what want to do, and couldn’t find the right guidance or direction on how to develop these ideas. Luckily, we were matched with Ahmed Esmat, who brought years of experience in mediatech, marketing and communication. Ahmed worked with us on redefining our idea, building our business model, creating a unique selling point and value proposition and drafting our pitch deck to apply for relevant programs. I feel motivated and have more clarity and looking forward to continue this fruitful relationship with my mentor.

Ghadah Adam, Founder of Daxr.
2022 MDC Egypt Graduating Class: Photo courtesy, AUC Ventures Lab

To ensure that innovative high-growth ventures realize their potential to yield high social and environmental impact, therefore, it is imperative that founders have access to quality mentorship. The Mentor-driven capital program creates value for startups by sharing the knowledge, experience, and network that mentors have built up during the course of their careers while maximizing the return on investment.

The MDC activities in Egypt are part of the broader Work in Progress! Alliance project, led by Oxfam. The aim of the project is to increase youth employment opportunities. For more information on this year’s editions of MDC Egypt and details on the profiles of the participating mentors and startups, please visit the program page for Egypt.

If you’re keen on joining next year’s MDC as a mentor, please reach out to Ahmed (Egypt) via anour[at]vc4a[dot]com.