Migrant Women Entrepreneurs Showcase Their Business Ideas At Cairo's Women On The Move

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Women on the Move, a platform for supporting migrant women entrepreneurs, was held at Cairo on March 30, organized by Startups Without Borders along with its partners Entreprenelle, Fard Foundation, The GrEEK Campus, Syrian network Khatwa, and UNHCR.  Aiming to connect migrant and refugee entrepreneurs with Egypt’s local ecosystem, the event gathered over 250 entrepreneurs from from Syria, Yemen, Palestine, Iraq, Jordan, Eritrea, Sudan and South Sudan, at Egypt’s tech hub The GrEEK Campus.

Startups Without Borders
A panel discussion at Women On The Move

Kicking off with a series of panel discussions that saw Egyptian entrepreneurs and investors Flat6Labs CIO Dina El-Shenoufy, RiseUp Summit manager Dalia Kamar, and Rasha Tantawy, Head of Business Support and Entrepreneurship at Egypt’s Technology Innovation and entrepreneurship Center (TIEC), and others share their own journeys; the event also hosted workshops and mentoring sessions for the participating entrepreneurs. Not just that, eight migrant women entrepreneurs from Yemen, Syria and Palestine also got on stage to participate in a pitching competition judged by a panel led by TIEC, USAID’s seed program, Entreprenelle, Khatwa and Fard Foundation.

A panel discussion at Women On The Move. Image credit: Startups Without Borders.

The first prize -a EGP15,000 worth TIEC incubation at their women-focused incubator Heyya Ra'eda- was shared by two entrepreneurs. Jordanian Helia Rafat, founder of Mix Shop, F&B venture creating foodstuffs based on Nutella and peanut butter, and Samah Kheir El-Zein, an entrepreneur creating medicinal soap and shampoo out of natural ingredients bagged the first prize. Yemeni Fardous Salem, founder of an e-learning platform that leverages social networks like WhatsApp and Instagram, and Syrian entrepreneur Nahla El-Emam, founder of home made catering platform Bent El-Shalabeyeh, took home USAID’s Seed marketing workshop award.

“The passion, the grit, and the ingenuity of the entrepreneurs here today is a testament to the wealth that migrant entrepreneurs bring to every country they go to,” Valentina Primo, founder of Startups Without Borders, said in a statement. “This is why we want to lay the ground for a genuine migrant entrepreneurial ecosystem; we want these driven entrepreneurs to be able to access resources to start their businesses, wherever they are,” she added.

Related: Supporting Startups In Gaza: A Mentor's Experience In Palestine