Silatech has recently sponsored a seminar on crowd-funding in Cairo, Egypt, with the objective of unlocking innovative new sources of investment capital for Egyptian entrepreneurs.
Organised by the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt, “Crowd-funding: Sparking Entrepreneurial Growth” brought more than 70 attendees from the private, civil society and government sectors together to learn from Egyptian and international experts.
Through equity crowd-funding, which has grown exponentially in recent years, small investors fund a company by purchasing small amounts of equity, typically via the Internet.
This democratisation of investment allows many new companies to grow and thrive in a difficult business environment.
Based in Doha, Silatech is a regional social initiative that promotes large-scale job creation, entrepreneurship, access to capital and markets, and the participation and engagement of young people in economic and social development.
Jason Best, Principal at Crowdfund Capital Advisers, gave an overview of the principles, benefits and potential difficulties involved in crowd-funding.
An internationally recognised expert on the topic, Best’s crowd-funding investment framework was used in the 2012 Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act in the US that aims to encourage funding of small businesses by reducing burdensome regulations and improving access to capital.
He is a world-renowned expert on the topic and has spoken at the White House and TEDx.
Bringing an Egyptian crowd-funding perspective to the workshop, Egyptian crowd-funding network Shekra co-founder and managing partner Adel Boseli explained how Shekra reached out to young entrepreneurs and provides them with the opportunity to pitch their ideas to the Shekra Network.
Ramakant Vempati of Silatech spoke on how crowd-funding can be used to promote “smart giving,” providing more transparency, connection and choice for charitable giving to promote micro-entrepreneurs in the Arab world.
Finally, 24-year-old Egyptian entrepreneur Amr Salah detailed how he financed his company, Integreight (www.1sheeld.com), by raising over $70,000, or seven times the initial investment objective through the US-based crowd-funding site Kickstarter.
According to Silatech Egypt country representative Amr el-Abd: “One of the biggest obstacles to unlocking entrepreneurship in Egypt, as well as the wider Arab world, is funding for startups. While crowd-funding is not the only answer, it certainly provides an innovative and potentially game-changing opportunity for Arab entrepreneurs.”
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