Connect with us


AAST hosts The Founders in a series of Egyptian Youth Startups



By: Nada Adel Sobhi

Editor-in-Chief of HR Revolution Middle East 

 “Being an entrepreneur is the most difficult start.”

On Monday, 29th of February, 2015, the Strategic Marketing and Entrepreneurship Center (SMEC) affiliated to the Arab Academy for Science and Technology (AAST) hosted the first seminar in The Founders series.

The event saw the founders of five startups across Egypt discuss their projects, how they brought them to light, the difficulties they faced, some of which were quite funny, and answered questions from the audience which was mostly comprised of AAST students. Some of the entrepreneurs gave presentations on how to manage a startup or a project or giving information about their own work.

The Academy also presented an award to one of its own, Ahmed Negm, whose application received Second Best World Application, three days before the event.

The Founders were:

  1. Mohamed Nagy of AlMaqarr Co-Working Space
  2. Ahmed Shaaban of Simplex
  3. Ahmed Ashraf of NAS Trends
  4. Ahmed El Sherbiny of byBike
  5. Ahmed Negm, co-founder of Raye7 app

The event began with Dr. Wael Desouky, head of strategic marketing at SMEC, who discussed startups, entrepreneurship and learning from failures.
“You have to fail six times to perhaps make it at the seventh [attempt]”, he told the audience, highlighting that launching a startup isn’t easy and that is does not begin by merely adding a person’s title as the CEO or Founder of something on a business card.

Dr. Desouky stated that having received University of the Year in 2015, AAST still had many programs and projects to be launched in the future.

He also noted that “being an entrepreneur is the most difficult start.”

  1. AlMaqarr Co-Working Space

“Entrepreneurship is having an idea that you want to apply for profit or services that needs to be sustainable and that affects the lives of others.”

A graduate of the Alsun Ain Shams, English Department, Muhammed Nagy was the first entrepreneur to discuss launching his startup.

Nagy explained what a co-working space is and why there was a need for it. He said that people often resort to cafes to do extra work or on weekends; they often need a white board, internet, food, a space to sit and so on.

Started in September 2012, AlMaqarr co-working space is fully-equipped with all these requirements, he said, adding that it is not just for working alone but for building a community, developing better thinking, innovation and collaboration. It has a meeting room area, shared office space, a study area, workshop venue for freelancers and space to hold small events.

Nagy highlighted what he described as “The Power of CO” in his community: collaboration, cooperation, coordination…etc, which provides entrepreneurs with help through AlMaqarr’s connections and investors.

He then gave a presentation on co-working spaces, what they need, how they function, global numbers and the working ecosystem, which includes the aspects that help a project to either succeed or fail.

He added that there was no fixed business model for co-working spaces globally, not just in Egypt, which makes it a bit hard to review expectations and give numbers. However, this leaves room for continuous development of the business model.

Globally, there were 75 co-working spaces in 2007, Nagy revealed in a slideshow presentation, adding that by 2015, these co-working spaces increased to 7,800.

The ecosystem is mainly what a person needs and what affects their business, explained Nagy, adding that the basic constituents of an ecosystem are: Easy access to finances, business support including legalities, policies (tax rates, tax incentives…etc.), audience and market segments, human capital, infrastructure (such as internet and electricity), research and development (R&D), and culture.

The 25-year-old Alsun graduate told the audience that AlMaqarr’s recent move was an expansion in terms of space and better facilities.

Nagy highlighted that entrepreneurship is having an idea that you want to apply for profit or services that needs to be sustainable and that affects the lives of others.

He elaborated that entrepreneurship and small businesses help in economic growth, poverty reduction, and job creation, adding that Germany’s economy depends on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by around 60-70%.

Mohamed Nagy also gave some tips for those interested in becoming entrepreneurs and those wishing to start their own businesses:

  1. It’s a learning journey.
  2. It’s your company and its 24/7 job.
  3. Stay focused on your goal.
  4. You’ll need to have a flexible lifestyle.

Nagy was also a co-founder of REACT, which was the first student activity in Ain Shams University. He is the co-founder of الرحلة (The Trip), and is now the managing director of AlMaqarr.

AlMaqarr is currently located at 17 Ibn Sina Street, from Salah Salem road, near CookDoor Safir.

  1. Simplex


Next to take the stage was engineer Ahmed Shaaban from Minya, who discussed how it had been hard to make progress through the public university, which either did not provide funding to its students or any kind of support to those who wanted to create inventions.

Simplex is an industrial solutions startup in the field of heavy industries, revealed Shaaban, a co-founder of the company and its CEO, adding that it comprises three engineers, all from Minya University, and a lawyer.

The company mainly works in providing CNC router machines that cut or engrave on various surfaces such as: wood, acrylic and aluminum with a high degree of accuracy, speed and reproducibility.

Shaaban stated that Simplex’s productions are quicker, stronger and automatic as opposed to depending on manual labor. He added that the company is in charge of building the machines, depending on their client’s requirements, and testing them.

He revealed that Simplex currently has two factories and around 110 machines in five countries, including: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Libya. The machines are worth around $13 million.

Shaaban also tackled the misconceptions about having one’s own company such as waking up at midday, highlighting that for a time there may be no salaries until the project is up and running.

According to their website, Simplex’s CNC router machines were sold in 11 governorates across Egypt in their first year.

  1. NAS Trends

NAS Trends

After that, computer engineer Ahmed Ashraf, a co-founder of NAS Trends, was welcomed by the audience. He said that the business started in July 2009 and the founders included three engineers and business graduates, including one from AAST.

He revealed that the first ever event was done via Facebook, involved 10 designs on 1000 t-shirts and was done on a rooftop.

Now NAS Trends has over 1.5 million fans on Facebook, he added, noting that the project is a community-driven one that regularly launches competitions to acquire new designs for its products. In addition, NAS moved from making t-shirts only to introducing bags, trousers, dresses, sweatshirts, notebooks and more.

He said that NAS Trends focuses on what he calls “The Power of Design” and that it’s a business that can add value to the people.

The startup’s first store was a booth a City Stars, which was both an investment and a risk in 2011. Later in 2014, NAS got a 20-meter shop in the mall, another in Mall of Arabia and on in the governorate of Sohag. In 2016, the startup launched its first shop in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and began online sales in the UAE.

Furthermore, the startup included Arabic words and phrases in its designs, which Ashraf revealed registered the highest sales.

Responding to a question by HR Revolution Middle East on the quality of products, Ashraf highlighted that there were plenty of stages in terms of quality and that there were many sittings with people in quality assurance and lots of research in order to learn the details, the tips and tricks as well as how to find the best quality that would be suitable for NAS and its customers.

He added that NAS Trends aims to build a designers’ community because if there are no designers then there would be no products. He also revealed that the company has entered into an agreement with Ariika to launch a line of beanbags.


  1. byBike


The fourth speaker was AAST graduate Ahmed El Sherbiny, whose talk was full of jokes and was very light. He said that he first co-founded Triptanza with his brother, but things didn’t go so well as the company was founded a little before 25 January 2011. He launched byBike on 1 January 2016.

byBike is a moving space with a bike that sells various innovative dishes made from sweet potato.

The project began as a second means of preparing for the wedding, a project that was supported by El Sherbiny’s fiancé.

They started by experimenting with various potato recipes online then on their own and began by providing free samples to passersby to see how well they were doing and to see how it would appeal to the various market segments.

Both El Sherbiny and his fiancé have day jobs, and work on the byBike project in the evening.

We do not stay in one place so that it they would not pose competition to those around him, he noted, adding that shortly afterwards he was invited to do interviews with various TV channels, which helped provide publicity to the project.

Every day they post on their Facebook page where they will be on that particular evening.

He joked about being a “batata” sweet potato seller with a business card.

He also said that the presentation for the project, using a bright yellow box to attract people. He was surprised by some attacks as some people believed his project was launched by the government to show that people have jobs.

At the end, El Sherbiny said that the project was a good idea and profitable one and encouraged others to try it.

  1. Raye7

Last but not least, Ahmed Negm, an undergraduate at AAST talked about his application called Raye7 (Going), which he co-founded with his sister. The app received Second Best World Application at Mobile World Congress.

The idea behind the app came to him when his parents moved to El Sherouk City, which made going to university very irksome and required around 2-3 hours to and around the same time to go back. He said that spending three hours in the car daily would amount to 3 months per year doing nothing.

Raye7 is a basically a car-pooling or ride-sharing app that allows people from the same area heading for the same destination to carpool together to save time, space and money.

Negm revealed that the app is community-based and gave an example of the University community, where people can carpool together to go to classes. The application does not involve any direct translations with the driver, Negm noted, adding that the team behind the app works on getting the matches not the customers.

The app can be used for companies and their employees, he noted, adding that received awards in 10 other competitions worldwide.

However, Negm revealed an often forgotten downside to having a startup while being an undergraduate, which was that despite the success of his app, his GPA fell from 3.4 to 2.3. He also noted that he had a problem, which was not knowing where he would end up after graduating or what he would do with his major of solar engineering.

Dr.  Desouky, head of SMEC, presented Ahmed Negm with an award on behalf of AAST, and highlighted Negm’s determination and perseverance.


He commented on the fact that Negm’s GPA had fallen in the process, noting that entering the competitions entailed winning some and losing some.

Dr.  Desouky also revealed that The Founders series was not just an event name but a full series of events. Two more events are scheduled to be held in March in Smart Village and Alexandria.


Stevie Awards Winners’ Articles Series – Boehringer Ingelheim



“We are powered by people, we share a common purpose that drives everything we do, we serve mankind by improving the health of humans and animals, we believe in building a healthier future for millions of patients and bring innovative solutions with future thinking” Boehringer Ingelheim

Winner Name: Bariş Torun & Ufuk Balcı

Winner Title: Barış Torun-National Sales Manager & Ufuk Balcı-Digital Engagement Manager

Winning Organization: Boehringer Ingelheim

Nomination: The Grand Stevie for Organization of the Year.  The pharmaceutical giant’s six Gold, two Silver, and one Bronze Stevie wins are tops in the 2020 competition

Boehringer Ingelheim’s vision can summed up in a few words; Value through Innovation. We’ve adopted this approach to ensure that we can take care of our people, patients and partners, now and in the future. The overarching objective is to build sustainable, all-round growth that benefits everybody. In order to achieve this goal, we continually develop new, effective treatments alongside our established products and encourage our people to move forward. And while we do this, we treat everyone with care and provide a sense of responsibility. Together, we’re dedicated to improving human and animal health.

Brief Biography about the Winner:

International experience on marketing and digital transformation of customer engagement. Launched award-winning websites, mobileapps and omni-channel projects with patient and customer focus in pharmaceutical industry. Explores opportunities for integrating innovation and digital technologies into healthcare marketing &commercial side.

Stevie Award Winning Case Study:

AcTFast Mobile App – Saving Lives of People Having Stroke

Every 30 minutes a stroke patient who could have been saved, dies or is permanently disabled, because he was treated in the wrong hospital. Stroke patients have only 4.5 hours to reach thrombolytic treatment! Basically, an ambulance will dispatch their patients to the nearest health centre, but the necessary stroke treatment can only be administered at specialized stroke centres. This leads to the loss of treatment time, which is already very limited. Furthermore, delays in diagnosing these patients during pre-hospital or in the hospital can lead to risking patients’ life.

The ‘AcTFast’ Application was developed to address this type of issues exactly. With AcTFast, ambulance staff (paramedic) will be able to identify the stroke patient, take the patient to the right treatment centre without any delay and inform the stroke team with pre-notifications. With this tool both the pre-hospital phase and the in-hospital phase time will be minimized. The potential use and benefits of this application to address the need for speed when treating stroke patients was presented to all stakeholders, such as stroke societies and  the Ministry of Health. As a result, the Turkey Ministry of Health decided to install this app in all ambulances in Turkey. AcTFast is currently available on Apple Store.

The use of this app is mandatory for the 8,000+ ambulance staff and 30.000+ Ministry of Health employees, who will be trained on stroke management via this app. With this application, the biggest problem in the treatment of stroke will be solved by ensuring that the patients in the whole country are transported to the right centre within the right time frame, to ensure they benefit from the required treatment. The European Cardiology Society selected AcTFast as one of the 10 most creative projects in the world and upon their invitation, AcTFast has been presented at ESC 2019 congress in Paris this year.

Digital Transformation in Customer Engagement | Boehringer Ingelheim Turkey

  • Boehringer Ingelheim’s ambition is to establish a customer engagement model, which sets the industry benchmark.
  • In Turkey, big international Pharma companies have been doing multi-channel activities with a big volume in the last 4-5 years.  Since technology advancement is no longer marked by linear progression but by an exponential rate of change, it was harder to catch our competitors with unstructured activities and programs, while putting the customer at the heart of everything we do.

Integrated Customer Engagement Roadmap

  • At the beginning of 2019, Boehringer Ingelheim Turkey took a further step towards achieving this goal: Customer Engagement Implementation Roadmap including new channel deployment, content excellence, data analytics and change management. It centres on exceeding the customers’ expectations.

New Digital Platforms [# customer service, product design & development]

  • – HCP (Health Care Professional / Medical Doctor) website including key info about our products and HCP education on related fields ( Website is only for HCP’s with restricted login)
  • Automated Email Platform – Head Office e-mail platform
  • Veeva Approved Emails – From sales representative to doctors email channel
  • According to market research results, HCPs trust pharma activities and resources when there is a collaboration with independent HCP associations. With this insight, KOL webinars organized with the biggest HCP associations in related areas. To promote those activities, 3rd party channels have been utilized in addition to owned channels:
  • Live Broadcasting Platform
  • Facebook – Event promotion posts on HCP association Facebook Pages
  • 3rd Party SMS and Email – Event promotion from HCP associations to their HCP database
  • To deliver exceptional Customer Experience with the optimal mix of​ Content, Services and Solutions, all of the channels mentioned above should have created consistent customer experience (omni-channel); rather than independent one-off touchpoints (multi-channel).

Leveraging Data & Insights

  • To leverage Data and Insights to continuously enhance our Customer Engagement Model, targeted e-mails sent to different HCPs according to their previous open / non-open status. It enabled us to give our customers more meaningful messages.
  • In parallel to above point, brand teams put themselves into customers’ shoes, all Approved email subject titles and designs were updated to meet customer expectations and mobile UI / UX trends.
  • To measure the success of the campaigns, first ever Analytics Tracker developed. Which shows our Customer Engagement per channel per brand per customer.

Change Management [# employee development]

  • Internal trainings were organized to both Field Force, Marketing and Medical teams.
  • Field Force Training on how to coordinate the engagement with the HCPs, while integrating new marketing channels around F2F and website.
  • Digital Marketing Fundamentals Training to marketers and medical colleagues to give basic understanding of content creation dynamicsdigital terminology and creating sustainable experiences to our customers.
  • To create awareness on these projects, internal newsletters were published to all colleagues in Turkey.

Impact on Human Health [# corporate social responsibility]

  • Increasing the quality of interactions with HCPs helps us to deliver right treatment to right patients. In addition to branded activities and content, we created the first ever non-branded HCP email newsletter.
  • Respiratory newsletter included useful content to be more patient focused via educating HCPs on soft skills.
  • For brands without any sales rep support, digital-only promotion plans executed throughout the year.

Impact on Business (Outcomes)

  • More than 25% increase in the digital channel activities.
  • Market leadership in two major therapeutic areas for launch brands.
  • 5,000+ unique HCPs visited our login-required website in 8 months, which makes more than 75% of our total universe. According to IPSOS market research, website reached higher coverage than our main competitors did in 8 months of launch.
  • Avg. email open rate has tripled industry benchmarks. (40%+)

We are powered by people, we share a common purpose that drives everything we do, we serve mankind by improving the health of humans and animals, we believe in building a healthier future for millions of patients and bring innovative solutions with future thinking. We believe that, if we have talented and ambitious people who are passionate about innovation and bring move value to the healthcare community, there’s no limit to what we can achieve. .

Boehringer Ingelheim is a global family owned business with more than 50,000 employees in 103 countries, Boehringer Ingelheim is one of the world’s top 20 pharmaceutical companies, we act in the spirit of a global family that holds together and cares for one another – but also inspires and motivates each other.


Continue Reading


Stevie Awards Winners’ Articles Series – Eng. Abeer Mahmoud Ramadna



“Continuous Learning, adopting innovation & creativity and teamwork are among the guiding principles of success and excellence in the government sector” Eng. Abeer Mahmoud Ramadna

Winner Name: Eng.  Abeer Mahmoud Ramadna

Winner Title: Director Assistance for Control & Inspection for Economic Activities at Ministry of Industry & Trade in Jordan

Winning categories:

  1. The Gold Stevie Winner in the category “the most innovative Communications Professional of the year “
  2. The Silver Stevie Winner in the category “Innovation in Community Relations or public Services Communications”
  3. The Bronze Stevie Winner in the category “Innovative Management in Government – Organizations with 100 or more employees”
Brief Biography about the Winner:

Abeer Ramadna is the Director assistant of control and inspection unit at the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Supply (MIT) in Jordan, she has a Master Degree in Industrial Engineering- Engineering Administration / University of Jordan with “excellent degree”. Abeer has 20 years of experience in private and public sectors, and is a focal point for UNIDO at MIT in Jordan. Abeer is a certified Management development Expert from ITC/ Vienna in 2005, a certified Export Consultant to EU from CBI/Netherland in 2007, certified Lead Auditor for Quality Management ISO 9001:2015, a certified Engineer Expert in Quality and Environmental Management systems in 2018 and a certified EFQM Assessor from EFQM in 2019. Eng. Abeer has a wide professional expertise in many fields that allow her to provide consultations to the organizations in various fields including Quality Management, Environmental Management, preparing industrial polices, strategies and plans, Inspection polices, Monitoring & Evaluation systems, implementing the ISO9001, ISO14001 ISO14040s standards, and conducting technical industrial sectors studies.

Eng. Abeer won three Stevie Awards from three different categories after participation in Middle East Stevie Awards in 2020, these are:

  1. Gold Stevie Winner in a category:” The Most Innovative Communications Professional of the Year”. These categories honor the most innovation in communications practice, management, and use of technology.
  2. Silver Stevie Winner in a category: “Award for Innovation in Community Relations or Public Service Communications”. These categories honor innovation in communications practice, management, and use of technology in the public sector.
  3. Bronze Stevie Winner in a category: “Award for Innovative Management in Government “. These categories honor innovation in executive management including the Award for Innovative Management in a number of industry sectors.

Abeer has been published scientific papers in one of the world accredited journals in E-government. Titled “Barriers to E-Government Adoption in Jordanian Organizations from Users’ and Employees’ Perspectives” in 2017, the link is:

and published another scientific paper titled: “SEM approach to determine factors affecting e-government success in Jordan”,  the link is: _to_determine_factors_affecting_e-government_success_in_Jordan

She was selected as a Judge at the Best Jordanian chemical product Award in all three cycles of it during 2015 to 2020, Judge in the 2019 management & entrepreneur Awards categories judging committee Stevie Awards, and Judge at the best industrial engineering project for the Jordanian universities in 2019. She participated in several national and International conferences, meetings and presented papers, as a representative of the MIT / Jordan.

Stevie Award winning Case Study:

  • Developing action plans of inspection development to governmental institutions (Inspectorates) work in fields of health, Environment, labor, safety for economic sectors in Jordan.
  • Supervision of developing Electronic Inspection System for governmental inspectorates.
  •  Conduct many awareness workshops for governmental inspectorates and for private sector institutions.
  • Conduct many workshops and training sessions as A National trainer of trainers in the shaping of future studies.
  • Secretariat of higher committee for Inspection development of Economic Activates that consists from high level management in governmental inspectorates.
  • Abeer is trusted as a competent team leader and confident expert in Quality management & Inspection systems
  • Abeer conducted in 2018 a study titled the Industrial engineering in the government sector in Jordan, current situation and future opportunities and present it in the 2nd International Conference on Industrial Systems & Manufacturing Engineering (ISME’19) Nov, 11-12, 2019 in Amman.
  • Abeer was chosen after a series of selection process as one of the National participants in the Civil Service Development Program in Jordan and attended all phases including the leadership and developing high performance teams at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst UK during 2019.

Eng. Abeer Mahmoud Ramadna “Continuing to contribute achievements and make positive impacts are goals that are achievable with the presence of strong & positive attitude, self-motivated character & determination.”

Continue Reading


Stevie Awards Winners’ Articles Series – Asiacell



“Winning such an award requires hard work and we encourage other companies to focus on their customers and local communities in order to excel”

Winning Organization: Asiacell

Nomination: Award for Excellence in Innovation in Technology Industries (including Telecom)

Brief about the Organization:

Asiacell is a leading provider of telecommunications and data services in Iraq. As part of international telecommunications company Ooredoo Group, Asiacell was Iraq’s first mobile telecommunications provider to achieve nationwide coverage. Asiacell is also a leading internet provider with its 3.9G data services, offering the best network coverage in all of Iraq since January 2015.

Stevie Award Winning Case Study:

As part of its commitment to expand network coverage in Iraq, Asiacell has continued to support the redevelopment of the country’s infrastructure and economy and the provision of high-quality connectivity solutions. It has enhanced its “Hot Zone” restoration strategy by putting 200 sites on air and connecting over 500 sites to 3G.

Focused on improving the quality of life for communities, Asiacell’s CSR initiatives are focused on key areas, such as health, education and culture. Asiacell has equipped several higher education institutions with computer labs and supported the renovation of schools, with the aim of providing quality education infrastructure. It also partnered with the Chibayish Environmental Tourism Organization to build the first Iraqi Marshlands heritage museum in Ahwar as part of its efforts to revive Iraq’s Marshland, while generating a positive effect on tourism and jobs creation. 

Recognising that its people are its key asset, Asiacell continues to roll out initiatives focused on engaging and empowering employees. It has invested heavily in digital transformation, including digital upskilling for employees, and streamlining of various internal processes in order to nurture a digital-first culture that embraces innovation.

We are so glad to be recognized as a successful and innovative telecommunication company in Iraq with a Stevie Award for “Excellence in Innovation in Technology Industries”. Recognition from the Stevie Awards means a lot to us and motivates Asiacell to continue to serve the community with professionalism. Winning such an award requires hard work and we encourage other companies to focus on their customers and local communities in order to excel.


Continue Reading

Recent Posts

Articles5 days ago

Stevie Awards Winners’ Articles Series – Boehringer Ingelheim

“We are powered by people, we share a common purpose that drives everything we do, we serve mankind by improving...

Corporate1 week ago

Q&A with Yasmine Yehia | MEA Employer Branding Manager at Schneider Electric, Life Coach & Consultant

Interviewer: Mahmoud Mansi “To be able to have a strong brand, you need to start from within – you need...

Magazine2 weeks ago

Stevie Awards Winners’ Articles Series – Eng. Abeer Mahmoud Ramadna

“Continuous Learning, adopting innovation & creativity and teamwork are among the guiding principles of success and excellence in the government...

Civil Work2 weeks ago

مقابلة صحفية مع إيناس عبدالقادر – مهندسة نسيج ومتحدثة في مؤتمر تيدكس وادمدني بالسودان

صحافة: محمود منسي ثورة الموارد البشرية: إيناس لديك العديد من الخبرات في مجالات مختلفة، هل يمكن أن تعطينا نبذة عن...

Articles2 weeks ago

Stevie Awards Winners’ Articles Series – Asiacell

“Winning such an award requires hard work and we encourage other companies to focus on their customers and local communities...

Interviews3 weeks ago

Q&A with Germeen El Manadily; TV Presenter | Publisher | Digital Marketing Expert | TEDx Speaker

Interviewer: Mahmoud Mansi “After the COVID-19 Pandemic, the world came to the realization that social media has a huge influence...

Interviews3 weeks ago

Interview with Stephanie Runyan, PHR, the Director of Learning for the HR Certification Institute

“HR professionals must be prepared for anything.  The roles of HR professionals continually change, there will be a continued need...

Interviews3 weeks ago

Q&A with Mahmoud Sami Ramadan – Digital Advertising Specialist, Dubai

Interviewer: Mahmoud Mansi “I am going around and discovering and jumping from one field to another, to be able to...

Articles3 weeks ago

Qisaty Project & Developing Talent in Children with Special Needs in Egypt

Edited By: Mahmoud Mansi Qisaty Project – founded by Mona Lamloum – was launched on 26th December 2019 to support...

Articles1 month ago

Stevie Awards Winners’ Articles Series – Kuveyt Türk Participation Bank Case

“Each institution’s culture is unique. Employee culture and corporate culture should create a common blend” Nomination: Stevie Internal Communication Bronze...