Sunday 27 of November, 2022
Download SceneNow app
Copied

Meet the Finalists of Egypt's Entrepreneur Awards 2022

Across 17 categories, some of the country's most innovative entrepreneurs have been chosen out of hundreds of nominees for this year’s EEA.

Startup Scene

After a rigorous process that saw an advisory made up of industry titans sift through hundreds of applications and nominations, the finalists of Egypt’s Entrepreneur Awards 2022 have been announced, as the road to the final awards ceremony in June kicks into second gear. Across 17 categories covering the biggest and most critical sectors in Egypt, three finalists have been shortlisted for each award, finalists that represent some of the best and most innovative startups and companies in the country today - that’s 78 entrepreneurs and founders, representing 49 startups and companies.


These are the entrepreneurs, the founders, the innovators that hold Egypt’s future in their hands, be it in tourism or transport, food or fintech. They offer a window into the incredible wave of innovation that has been sweeping through Egypt, the innovation that has elevated the country from a promising emerging market, to one of the region’s most attractive ecosystems for international venture capital. 


INTERIOR ARCHITECTURE


Reha Habib | Reha LLC

Founded in 2016 by  Reha Habib - a University of Minnesota’s College of Design and Carlson School of Management graduate -  this boutique-style architectural and interior design studio has worked on a plethora of prestigious private and commercial projects across the world. The firm's work has seen it develop everything from concept stores and private residences in the US, to spas, stores and hotels in the Middle East, with the famed North Coast Mazeej Hotel amongst her impressive portfolio of work.


Ahmed Khalifa, Mohamed Galal, Ahmed Tarek, Hatem Essawi & Mohsen Rizk  | Studio Five

As the name suggests, this Cairo-based design studio was founded by five architects whose various design philosophies enable them to create diverse luxury homes in Egypt's most high-end compounds and neighbourhoods. The company’s portfolio of work also features upscale retail and corporate projects across the world through clients such as Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Steigenberger and Orascom Development. In 2016, Studio Five was recognised as one of the top design studios in MENA with a global Luxury Lifestyle Award.


Yasmina Makram Ebeid | Yasmina Makram Studios

Priding itself on a youthful multidisciplinary team, Yasmina Makram is a Zamalek-based interior architecture and design studio led by Istituto Marangoni George Washington University alumni Yasmina Makram Ebeid. Founded in 2015, the studio has worked on private residences, retail projects and corporate designs across Egypt including The Finch in Cairo and Turtle Inn in El Gouna, which carry the firm’s unique balance of aesthetics and functionality, as well its ability to combine unconventional solutions with intelligent planning.


PRODUCT DESIGN


Youssef Farag & Karim Rafla | Qubix

Introducing ‘Container Architecture’ to Egypt, Qubix was founded in 2016 and has since shifted perspectives on the fundamentals of the construction industry, upcycling abandoned shipping containers as the literal building blocks for all kinds of construction projects. Having produced a prototype in March 2016, the startup received its first order within six months and has since gone on to work on over 50 unique projects throughout Egypt including private homes, restaurants and their 'Q-med' portable clinics. The company has won acclaim throughout the last six years for providing a unique and affordable solution that can be applied in territories battling population growth-fuelled housing problems.


Mariam Hazem & Hend Riad | Reform Studio

Reuse, Recycle, Reform. Founded in 2012 by Mariam Hazem and Hend Riad to tackle Egypt's growing waste problem, Reform Studio creates a variety of lifestyle products such as purses, furniture and footwear out of discarded plastic bags. The award-winning design studio utilises a new material of their own invention, Plastex, which is made by weaving plastic bags together into a usable fabric. Beyond the products, however, it's the social impact that has won the studio awards from across the world. A pillar of its operations is empowering local communities and encouraging local craftsmanship, particularly in providing underprivileged Egyptian women with potential new job opportunities with a steady sustainable income.


Khaled Attallah, Shahir Arslan & Hassan Arslan | ariika

Known for their high-quality Egyptian products such as beanbags and home accessories, ariika was founded by American University of Cairo graduates Khaled Attallah, Shahir Arslan and Hassan Arslan in 2011. Having launched operations in the spare room of a textile factory in Obour City, the company has, over the course of a decade, evolved into a regional market leader that also caters to corporate giants like Coca-Cola, Google and Heineken.


E-COMMERCE


Omar Ramadan & Moataz Dinana | FilKhedma

FilKhedma ('At Your Service' in Arabic) is a home maintenance services app that has expanded rapidly since its founding in 2014, when Omar Ramadan sought to fill in a niche in the Egyptian marketplace as he was halfway to completing MBA. As FilKhedma scaled up it was able to train and build a roster of tradesmen to work on-demand across Cairo's suburbs. It has scored investments from the likes of The Cairo Angels, Algebra Ventures and HIMAngel over six funding rounds, and in December 2021, it reached its biggest milestone yet, when it was acquired by Africa’s largest home services firm, South Africa’s SweepSouth.


Amir Allam | Elmenus

It began with a single-minded desire to solve one seemingly simple problem: finding up-to-date restaurant menus over the internet. With that as his goal, Amir Allam launched Elmenus in 2011 to bring Cairo's F&B industry online, and since then he has brought over 12,000 local establishments online while serving 1.5 million users through its ordering app. It most recently raised $10 million from Fawry and Luxor Capital in July 2021 to expand to more cities in Egypt, bringing the company’s total funding to $19.6 million.


Muhammed Habib, Mostafa Amin & Abdallah Nofal | Breadfast

Dubbing itself 'a supermarket in your pocket', Breadfast was founded in 2017 by serial entrepreneurs Mostafa Amin, Muhammad Habib and Abdallah Nofal to bring fresh bakeries to various neighbourhoods across Cairo. Since then they've angled their subscription-based model to allow over 170,000 households to order not just bread and breakfast items, but grocery items of any kind in less than 60 minutes through its self-managed system of 30 dark stores. They've recently secured $26 million in a funding round co-led by Vostok New Ventures and Endure Capital to expand its dark stores and cut down delivery time to 20 minutes.


FASHION APPAREL/ACCESSORIES


Shaddy Ellian | Hayden

Hayden is a luxury brand by fashion designer Shaddy Ellian. Raised in Kuwait by Egyptian parents, Ellian took his experience in PR and events to produce a fashion and lifestyle brand that is targeted towards making women feel more confident, while pushing for diversity and inclusivity in the fashion industry within the Middle East. The brand has a showroom in New York City, and has premiered at New York Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week.


Ezz Tarek & Amr Kawashti | In Your Shoe

The story of apparel brand In Your Shoe began with a love of socks, hence the name. But after their quirky designs caught fire, co-founders Ezzeldin Tarek and Amr Kawashti saw the opportunity to expand and adapt to their customers, bringing supply to demand by keeping up with trends and creating lines of bucket hats, graphic tees and throwback fanny packs. While they began as an online store, they've since opened a physical location at City Center Almaza in late 2018.


Reem Alaa Hamed | Ramla

Ramla is a Cairo-based artisanal shoe brand that draws on the architectural experiences of founder Reem Alaa Hamed. With hands-on experience in creating handmade artisanal men's shoes in Florence, Italy while earning an MA in Luxury Business, Hamed uses her creations to express Egyptian techniques, traditions and quality through her online store. Her quintessential 'Made in Egypt' shoes have garnered popularity both locally and abroad in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Italy.


FINTECH


Omar Saleh, Ahmed Wagueeh, Fatma El Shenawy & Omar Salah | Khazna

The self-described "financial super app" - founded by Omar Saleh, Ahmed Wagueeh, Fatma El Shenawy and Omar Salah in 2019 - provides banking and other financial services to low-income earners. In a country where nearly 50% of the population are active smartphone users, yet only one out of three people are able to access formal financial services, Khazna is part of the trend to promote financial inclusion throughout Egypt. To that end, Khazna recently raised $38 million from Quona Capital and Lendable.


Ahmed Wadi | MoneyFellows

Cairo-based fintech MoneyFellows has made it its business to digitise the concept of money circles, otherwise known as gam'eya throughout the region, where groups agree to pool some of their money together every month and then receive a fixed payout at the end of the circle. After graduating from Flat6Labs in 2016, MoneyFellows raised $4 million in 2020 in a Series A round from VC Partech and Sawari Ventures to expand into Africa.


Mounir El Hashemy, Yara El Abd & Motaz Lotfy | Paynas

Created to address the difficulties SMEs in Egypt face, Paynas enables these small businesses to access a range of services and benefits without requiring its employees to open bank accounts, including payroll calculation, digitised HR and employee medical insurance. Shortly after it was founded in 2018, the Cairo-based fintech won $50,000 at Seamless North Africa 2019's pitch competition, before winning an additional $50,000 at Pitch by the Pyramids to support its development.


F&B FAST CASUAL 


Dara Ghosheh | Dara's Ice Cream

Dara's Ice Cream emerged seemingly out of nowhere to become one of Egypt's most popular homegrown, home-made ice cream shops in 2018. Priding herself on selling small-batch ice cream that has been made from scratch, founder Dara Ghosheh has opened four additional branches across Cairo, as well as a seasonal location at the North Coast.


Moustafa Elrefaey & Chris Khalifa | Zooba

Aiming to represent Egyptian street food, Chris Khalifa and Chef Moustafa Elrefaey opened their first Zooba branch in Zamalek in 2012, and have quickly become one of Egypt's most popular caterers of street food with seven branches across the country. In 2019, Zooba launched its first US branch in New York City, marking an initial step towards their greater goal of spreading authentic Egyptian street food to every major city in the world.


Suhail & Luay Torky | Buffalo Burger

A first-mover in a gourmet burger ‘trend’ that has since become a large part of Egypt’s eclectic F&B market, Buffalo Burger launched in 2008 as a delivery restaurant. In the last 14 years, however, the chain has expanded to over 40 branches across Egypt and the Middle East. Adapting the fluctuating needs of increasingly discerning diners, Buffalo Burger has also led the way in debunking the concept that burgers must mean junk-food, evben going as far as introducing a Keto menu in its efforts to dominate the local market by elevating the fast services sub-sector of the county’s F&B sector,


F&B CASUAL DINING & CATERING 


Omar Fathi & Alia Helmy | Eatery

Serial restaurateurs Omar Fathy and Alia Helmy first opened Eatery in New Cairo's Festival City, impressing patrons with their almost absurdly diverse menu, created and perfected after a long career in the F&B industry. They recently established their flagship location in East Cairo's District 5, alongside their World of Food kitchen supply store.


Mohamed Abdelhak | Mo Bistro

Mo Bistro is founder Mohamed Abdel Hak's attempt to bring dining that's simultaneously casual yet high-end to some of Cairo's most exciting locales, with three branches in Mohandessin, Capital Promenade and Garden 8.


Amr Barghash & Ahmed El Meligy | The Sage Experience

More than a catering service, the Sage Experience's high-quality setting and culinary service brought directly to customers' outdoor spaces has earned it a reputation as an immersive mobile dining service with steak grilled on-site. Managed and operated by partners Amr Barghash and Ahmed Meligy, the concept found success in the wake of quarantines and restaurant restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.


MARCOM BRANDING


Osman Badran & Taimour Othman |The Brand Bees

Founded by branding pioneer Osman Badran bringing with him a deep portfolio that includes PEPSICO, Vodafone and KIA Motors, as well as creative leader Taimour Othman who worked with multinational brands like Fairmont Hotels and Orascom Development, the Brand Bees has made its mark by supporting Egyptian brands and helping them tell their story to the public. Their work encompasses campaigns with Ahl Masr Foundation, Dawi for Medical Facilities Management and Maadi British International School.


Ghada Wali & Yasmine Wali | Wali's Studio

Founded by sisters Ghada Wali and Yasmine Wali, the former an award-winning graphic designer and the latter a communications professional with over a decade's worth of experience in the field, Wali's Studio strives to serve as brand storytellers and catalysts across Egypt. Their clientele includes adidas, UNIDO, Vogue, Azza Fahmy and Egypt's official tourism campaign.


Majd El Sherif, Mohamed Abbas & Dina Aly | Matter

As one of the most celebrated and awarded branding agencies in Egypt, Matter has given a face and a voice to some of the country's brightest brands, whether they're homegrown brands like SODIC and Vezeeta, or brands operating in Egypt like Nestle or Wimpy.


MARCOM STORYTELLING


Mohamed Wasfy & Wael Azzam | Bubblegum

From quirky daytime TV ads to big Ramadan productions, Bubblegum has made an impact in Egypt's advertising industry since their founding in 2017. They've handled clients such as Telecom Egypt, Talabat and Meemar El Morshedy, bringing in big name celebrities to wow audiences with musical and trendy campaigns.


Sherif Boghdady & Sherif Nashed | Circus

From international brands such as Coca-Cola regional powerhouses such as Emaar, to local names such as Abu Auf and even healthtech pioneer, Vezeeta, The Circus’ portfolio of clients offers a glimpse into a versatility and scope that isn’t commonplace in Egypt. Founded in 2015 by Sherif Boghdady and Sherif Nashed ss a full-service creative agency, The Circus sits as one of the Egypt’s most in-demand players in the marcom field, one that continues to set a benchmark for transforming corporate objectives into engaging storytelling - a balance that many in the field have still to find.


Ramez Youssef & Mohamed El Bassiouni | Tayarah World

Nearly ten years ago when their online media hub was called 'Disalata', founders Mohamed El Bassiouni and Ramez Youssef fell into success when their parody video 'Egyptian Style' went viral, followed by their trademark online show 'Mish Impossible'. By the time they’d rebranded to 'Tayarah', they've gained enough clout as Egypt's first online hub to do work with brands like Etisalat, Orange, Coca Cola and L'Oreal.


REAL ESTATE


Ramy Khorshed & Hussein El Kheshen | Sakneen

Sakneen is an online portal founded in 2019 by entrepreneurs Ramy Khorshed and Hussein El Kheshen to simplify the home buying process in Egypt.  In 2020, they partnered with Coldwell Banker Egypt - the largest real estate brokerage firm in the nation - to develop unique offerings for home buyers and sellers alike. In late 2021 Sakneen raised $1.1 million in a seed funding round led by Algebra Ventures with participation from Sarwa Capital and Foundation Ventures.


Khaled El Sayyad | Prime Hospitality

Looking to fill a need in Egypt's otherwise unyielding real estate sector, Khaled El Sayyad founded Prime Hospitality and turned it into a leader in serviced apartments and property management, with a portfolio of about 200 properties.  With properties in Cairo's popular neighbourhoods like New Cairo, Mohandessin and Heliopolis, El Sayyad seeks to redefine the idea of 'modern living' in Egypt.


Amr Mostafa | Milango

Milango is an Egyptian startup that creates customisable apps for gated communities and clubs, seamlessly solving pain points like secure entry, facility booking and community-wide communications. With some of the Middle East's biggest real estate companies counted among their clients such as Orascom, Emaar and SODIC, Milango recently earned a six-figure seed round led by A15 to support their development. Milango has since acquired local counterpart Circle, adding Circle's high-profile clients into its fold.


SOCIAL ENTERPRISE


Noha El Taher & Ibrahim Shams | Kiliim

Kiliim began when Ibrahim Shams and Noha El Taher found difficulty in acquiring an authentic handmade Egyptian decoration for their newborn daughter's room. As it turned out the issue was not that these items did not exist but rather they lacked access to a larger market. Their social enterprise and lifestyle brand seeks to sustain local craftsmanship by manufacturing kilims in the small Nile Delta village of Fowwa. By encouraging innovation and bringing it to a wider audience, Kiliim hopes to fully revive local craftsmanship in the market.

 

Mariam Afifi & Nour El Assal | Tagaddod

What began as a graduation project at Cairo University has grown into Tagaddod, an environmental enterprise founded by Nour El Assal and Mariam Afifi in 2013. Tagaddod produces alternative clean fuel from recycled and refined cooking oil that they've gathered through their waste collecting services across Egyptian households and restaurants, and exports this innovative biodiesel to Lebanon, Jordan and across Europe.


Hussein Abou Bakr | Mozare3

Founded in 2020, Mozare3 is Egypt's first agri-fintech platform, providing small-scale farmers with access to markets and credits. Hussein Abou Bakr previously founded Fridal Wahat Herb Farm, the first farm in Egypt to use solar-powered irrigation fully, and has used his agricultural experience to address farmers' needs through Mozare3's app and call centre across 10 governorates. In 2021, Mozare3 raised over $1 million in a pre-seed  round led by Algebra Ventures and Diruptech to grow their network of farmers and to have up to 50 institutional buyers by the end of 2022.


SPORTS & FITNESS


Aly Mazhar | BeFit 360

As one of Egypt's leading fitness leaders, BeFit 360 has opened 17 training facilities covering Cairo, Alexandria, Ain El Sokhna and the North Coast. It's an astonishingly rapid growth considering their origins as a small rooftop gym in 2013, when all founder Aly Mazhar had was a vision to spread fitness as he knew it across the country. Now nearly a decade later BeFit 360 helps train 45,000 athletes, revolutionising the culture of fitness in Egypt through its team of over 90 coaches.


Hussein Abdeldayem | Ignite

Former football player Hussein Abdeldayem has played for some of Egypt's largest teams including Zamalek FC, Wadi Degla FC and the U-21 National Team. Although injuries brought an end to his football career, it has done nothing to smother his passion for fitness. With the launch of Ignite, Abdeldayem empowers athletes through his specialised training facilities. Ignite has opened several branches across Cairo, and has signed an agreement with Talaat Moustafa Group in late 2021 to establish a new location at Open Air Mall in Madinaty by early 2022.


Ayman Hakky | Trifactory

Egypt has one of the fastest growing rates for new triathletes in the world, and that's in no small part thanks to Ayman Hakky and the Trifactory, the sports events organiser that - since its founding in 2012 - has transformed the once-intimidating sport into an accessible and popular fitness event for athletes and enthusiasts of all levels. Through partnerships and collaborations with developers like Marassi and Talaat Mostafa Group, the Trifactory's events have reached nearly every corner of Egypt, spotlighting its neighbourhoods and coastal destinations while bringing the country's fitness community closer together.


SUPPLY CHAIN & LOGISTICS


Mohamed Abdulaziz & Ahmed Sheikha | Brimore

Brimore is a social commerce startup founded in 2017 by tech entrepreneurs Ahmed Sheikha and Mohamed Abdulaziz to help local manufacturers expand and overcome go-to-market obstacles through Brimore's network of distributors. Having recently raised $25 million in its Series A funding round led by International Finance Corporation, with participation from existing investors like Algebra Ventures, Disruptech, Khawarizmi Ventures and Fawry, Brimore hopes to expand to three countries.


Mohamed Ben Halim & Belal El Magharbel | MaxAB

Built to help small grocery shops in Egypt manage procurement and receive grocery products, MaxAB is a digital marketplace founded in 2018 by Mohamed Ben Halim and Belal El Magharbel, the latter of whom formed part of the early team at Egyptian rideshare app Careem. With hopes of creating an efficient grocery supply chain, Egypt's largest B2B e-commerce platform dedicated to groceries raised $40 million in a Series A round led by RMBV to help fuel its expansion to every key Egyptian city and then throughout the MENA region.


Mostafa Kandil | Swvl

Having previously worked as Careem as a market launcher rolling out its services in Egypt, Pakistan and Turkey, Mostafa Kandil founded bus transport app Swvl to fill a niche for those who need to make frequent commutes that would become expensive over time. Since its founding in Cairo in 2017, Swvl has since expanded to 115 cities in 18 countries throughout Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa. The company - described as a rare African unicorn- has recently been listed on Nasdaq exchange after a merger with Gambit Growth Capital valuing it at $1.5 billion, followed by an additional $21.5 million in private investment in pubic equity deal backed by a group of investors including the EBRD, Agility, Luxor Capital Group, Chimera and Zain.


TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION


Mohamed Mostafa, Mohamed Nabil & Saif Ahmed | WideBot

Launched in 2016, WideBot first made a mark for English-language chatbots, but co-founder Mohamed Nabil and  engineer Said Ahmed quickly pivoted the direction of the AI tech platform when they noticed the lack of Arabic language chatbot builders. Now WideBot has grown into a leading tech platform enabling people and businesses to build their own Arabic chatbot in less than ten minutes, even without any coding skills. Having helped build over 1,000 chatbots reaching more than 1 million end users, WideBot's AI engine is capable of communicating in formal Arabic as well as six different forms of Arabic slang.


Omar Radi & Ahmed Ashour | Pylon

Infrastructure management platform Pylon democratises smart grid infrastructure amongst water and energy distribution companies in emerging markets, allowing them to reduce environmental waste as well as up to $400 billion in financial loss. Using their Smart Metering as a Service model, Pylon has been able to impress investors and raise $19 million in a seed funding round led by Endure Capital, Cathexis Ventures, Khawarizmi Ventures, Loftyinc Ventures and angel investors.


Galal El Bishbishy & Ahmed Abaza | Synapse Analytics

Helping local Egyptian businesses, organisations and government institutions get into AI, Synapse Analytics is a data science company that uses data to streamline these groups' operations. Ahmed Abaza and Galal El Beshbishy founded Synapse in 2018 when they saw the potential to help companies around them - which were either already tech-capable startups, or large established companies investing in the wrong technologies - adapt to a digital world by integrating data science and AI into their growth.


TOURISM & HOSPITALITY


Ahmed Yehia | ECO Nubia

Famed as the winner of a 2019 UN World Tourism Organisation award, Eco Nubia is a unique experience which transforms old Nubian homes on an Aswan island into fully-fledged ecolodges. Having begun his career life as an architect before spending 14 years at Vodafone in IT, marketing and strategy, Ahmed Yehia founded ECO Group in 2014, and from there he expanded into hospitality with the launch of ECO Nubia. Between its views of the temple island of Philae and its dedicated use of sustainable materials it has earned a reputation for conservation.


Mohamed Kaoud | Egyliere

Having worked across several international hotel chains in the 2000s, including in London where he was nominated as one of the top hoteliers under 30 in the UK, Mohamed Kaoud returned to Egypt in 2010 armed with a wealth of knowledge and experience. He wasted little time in establishing Egyliere, a luxury travel management company that sought to elevate tourism in Egypt through tailor-made travel experiences, ranging from romantic getaways, to business trips. Since its launch, the company has experienced an average YoY growth of 35%. This has, in large part, been down to the firm’s customer-centric approach that has seen it consistently and systematically innovate new processes in an time-worn sector that has been faced with new challenges in the face of a pandemic whose impact is still being felt. 


Mohamed Tahoun | Qusoor El Arab Camp

Sitting as a monument to the unbridled beauty of Wadi El Rayan and the wider Fayoum governorate that it anchors, Qusoor El Arab Camp represents more than its status as a unique escape. It has provided a blueprint for how independent, home-grown organisations can thrive in the sector by providing more localised, native experiences to international travellers, while also fuelling the concept of domestic tourism, which remains in a nascent, fragmented state in Egypt. It has done so in little time, with founder, Mohamed Tahoun, receiving the camp’s first guests in September, 2020. In a little over 18 months, Tahoun has shown the entrepreneurial nouse to sustain and maintain a destination that can blaze a trail for the very many others that are shining a spotlight on an alternative tourism in Egypt that has been in the dark for far too long.


WOMAN ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR


Nadine Abdelghaffar | Art d’Egypte

A grand appreciator of art, the centrepiece of Nadine Abdel Ghaffar’s efforts to support and elevate the arts in Egypt has come in the form of Art d’Egypte’s annual art extravaganza, one that places contemporary art in Egypt’s most historic locations. From the Egyptian Museum, to Manial Palace, to El Muiz Street, the sweeping exhibition made headlines across the world when it brought international artists to the Great Pyramids of Giza and tasked with using the iconic backdrop to create unique sculptures. It’s all been driven by a deep-rooted, personal passion in Abdelghaffar who, along with an all-female team, has made huge contributions to shining a new light on the country.


Dara Ghosheh | Dara’s Ice Cream
You can’t tell the story of Dara’s Ice Cream without telling the story of Dara. The self-proclaimed ice cream-obsessed entrepreneur left behind a career in marketing to start what started as a simple concept. Since its launch in 2018, her eponymous ice cream parlour has become one of the most popular homegrown brands on a competitive local F&B scene - and it’s all been driven by an entrepreneurial spirit that has sustained the beloved brand.


Yasmine AbdelKarim | YallaFelSekka

After building a career in leadership and project management that took her to France, Brazil, USA, UAE, UK and Saudi Arabia to manage projects worth up to $20 million, Yasmine AbdelKarim took her talents into the realm of tech entrepreneurship in 2019, when she co-founded transport & logistics startup, Yalla Fel Sekka. With the tech space very much dominated by men, AbdelKarim has emerged as something of a trailblazer in the sector, one of few female founders in Egypt. This year, AbdelKarim and co. have been riding the momentum of a $7 million investment that will see the startup initiate expansion plans across MENA.


YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR


Farah Emara & Omar Emara | FreshSource

From becoming Otlob’s first national supplier of fruits and vegetables, to becoming the first startup from Africa to reaching the finals of the Grow NY-Competition, sibling founders, Farah and Omar Emara, have broken ground on several fronts with their B2B agritech startup, FreshSource. This year, the duo made more headlines when they raised an undisclosed seven-figure seed round in January - the largest ever seed round by a startup in an agritech sector that FreshSource is pioneering.


Mohamed Ben Halim & Belal El Magharbel | MaxAB
Poised to be a dominant name in an Egyptian B2B ecommerce sector that sits first in the total amount of funding raised in the last five years, MaxAB has raised a total of $61.2 million since being launched in 2018 by Mohamed Ben Halim and Belal El Magharbel. 2021 was a particularly fruitful year for the co-founders, one marked by a $40 million Series A round that was then extended when an additional $15 million was raised a few months later. Ben Halim and El Magharbel have also set out ambitious plans to enter other North African markets, a feat that has already begun after MaxAB acquired Moroccan counterpart, WaystoCap, which also opens up the startup to potential expansion across the whole of Africa.


Ahmad Hammouda & Seif Amr | Thndr

When Ahmad Hammouda and Seif Amr set out to ‘democratise investment’, few predicted that Thndr would make an impact with such a wide range of Egyptians. As an equities trading platform, Thndr has disrupted an archaic Egyptian system that has long catered to a select few. With an easy-to-use app that educates as well as facilitates, the founding duo is already looking to take the platform beyond Egyptian borders, with a $20 million Series A round raised in January fuelling MENA expansion.


Stay tuned for more from Egypt's Entrepreneur Awards, with StartupScene offering full and exclusive access and coverage ahead of the official awards ceremony.