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Africa calls on Egyptian Entrepreneurs – African Entrepreneurship Award 2016

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The African Entrepreneurship Award 2nd Edition 2016

Coverage: Warda Rashad Abdullah

Editor: Hadeer Salah Aldeen

“Dear entrepreneurs, women (and men), are you an African entrepreneur with a great business idea that will create jobs and improve lives in your region?”

Those were the opening words of the launching video of The African Entrepreneurship Award that was shown at the Goethe Institute. The event was held on the 13th of March to raise awareness for the competition and answer all questions that the audience may have. The keynote speaker was Laila Ahlafi, who came all the way from Morocco to engage more Egyptians in the competition.

The award was first initiated by Othman Banjelloun, the chairman of the BMCE Bank of Africa at the 5th Global entrepreneurship Summit, which was held in Marrakech between the 19th and the 21st of November, 2014. Hence, the African Entrepreneurship Award “AEA” commenced its first edition in 2015 and is now in its second edition in 2016. Here is a link to an introductory video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6eNdmFfyhNA

I couldn’t help but notice that the AEA was giving more attention to women this year. It encouraged women from all over Africa to step up and show their creativity and willingness to improve the world around them. Such encouragement is highlighted in their launching campaign videos, where they declared:

“At the African Entrepreneurship Award, we also know the challenges for women to start and grow businesses in Africa. Our mentors include women who are experienced in how to break through to customers, get initial funding, get the product to the market, and manage legal processes.”

Laila Ahlafi, the head of Digital and Communication at the African Entrepreneurship Award BMCE Bank, happily revealed that Morocco hosted all the workshops and the events related to the Award and that all the participants, mentors and partners stayed there last year. Yet, she sadly expressed how shocked the award organizers were to find only 49 registrations from Egypt among a number of 3000 registrations from all over Africa.

Of the 49 registrations, 36 ideas were officially accepted, while Nigeria alone presented 2000 project ideas in Round one. The bank committee was expecting more from a country whose population exceeds 90 million! As mentioned, only 36 project ideas were accepted and only two participants have made it to Round 1. The first was from Alexandria but he didn’t make it to Round two and the other was from Cairo. The latter passed the second round, but didn’t make it to the third round. Consequently, the bank made the decision of sending representatives to Egypt to introduce the Award, rather than fully depend on the power of the internet and social media.

As a representative of the AEA, Ahlafi said she was expecting more of Egypt this year especially when almost 15 mentors expressed their interest in being recruited in the competition that very week! She hoped the number multiplies after meeting the press in Cairo. They are currently recruiting mentors in Egypt. There was also a short video on mentorship in the competition: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VT5ag3GGHU

The meeting was short; it only lasted for one hour. We started at 5 pm and at 6 they had to rush to catch the train to Cairo and meet the press there. I was lucky to talk to Ahlafi telling her about my own idea in the field of Education. She was really interested and gave me her business card, pointing out that she will be delighted to answer any emails. She also added that there was a whole team dedicated to answering all participants’ questions and helping them out with any troubles they might face during registration. Those interested are encouraged to contact this amazing dedicated team at info@african-award.com

A lot of questions were raised by the audience, so I am going to highlight the answers as told by Laila Ahlafi in the following points:

  • The project idea must be sustainable, impacting people around you. It may solve a problem, satisfy a need, or provide jobs for people.
  • The project idea must be totally new; no one has applied it before.
  • There are two main categories: Education and environment. There is a third category called “Uncharted”. It includes any other domain such as agriculture, art, food so there is great flexibility.
  • Applicants can apply in more than one category with more than one project idea.
  • Even if your project idea has a social cause, it must be profitable.
  • Registration to the AEA is open from February till 6th of May 2016; however the earlier you apply, the better.
  • You shouldn’t have an ongoing project to register to the AEA competition. You can only have a good idea and then through the workshops and the meetings with the mentors, your ideas will become more tangible and real.
  • The difference between this award and other awards is that it not only gives the winners the money, but also gives the projects to incubators who live in the winners’ hometown. Thus, they continue mentorship and follow-up meetings with the winners to make sure the money is well used and the projects launch, succeed and hopefully spread all over Africa.
  • Last year, they only had one Egyptian mentor from the American University in Cairo (AUC), but this year they have many Egyptian mentors who are interested to guide and mentor participants from Egypt.
  • There is a criterion for choosing mentors. First he/she must be an entrepreneur who failed and succeeded and has been there in the entrepreneurship journey. He/she must have experience in mentoring. The problem last year was that African mentors had to mentor Egyptian participants because there was just one Egyptian mentor. This presents a challenge for the African mentors and also doesn’t help the participants so much because a mentor should know a lot about the backgrounds of the participants and all the surroundings and the obstacles they might face in their own country. Each mentor chooses the field he/she is going to mentor and the number of participants they are going to guide throughout the competition.
  • You may totally change the idea you proposed till 6th of May. In the first round, you can modify or change the idea completely and start a new one but once you move on to the second round, you cannot change it.
  • Those who entered the competition and didn’t win can still work on their ideas and apply again next year.
  • The application form is in English, French and Portuguese. Next year, organizers are likely to add Arabic as well to make it easier for Arabic-speaking countries in Africa.

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Here are the links of the official sites, twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Feedburner:

https://africanentrepreneurshipaward.com

https://www.facebook.com/AEAward/?fref=ts

https://www.linkedin.com/company/african-entrepreneurship-award–

http://feeds.feedburner.com/AfricanEntrepreneurshipAwardRssFeed

You can also get to know Laila Ahlafi through her LinkedIn profile:

https://ma.linkedin.com/in/laïla-ahlafi-mhaimdat-0270ba82

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

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“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:

https://www.igi-global.com/article/barriers-to-e-government-adoption-in-jordanian-organizations-from-users-and-employees-perspectives/181280

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

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/333488499_SEM_approach _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.

https://www.facebook.com/abeer.ramadna

http://linkedin.com/in/abeer-ramadna-msc-ie-pe-cbi-em-itc-mde-66928170

https://stevieawards.com/ar/mena/eng-abeer-ramadna-2

http://jordanembassyus.org/news/jordanian-engineer-wins-three-middle-east-stevie-awards?fbclid=IwAR2iBj4P8uHERE_Q2Yf-hatk2yJ-bGeq1g8MaYPIz_HJ42HqUyA6UCPehdM

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.”

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Articles

Stevie Awards Winners’ Articles Series – Asiacell

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“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.

THANK YOU

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Articles

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

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Edited By: Mahmoud Mansi

Qisaty Project – founded by Mona Lamloum – was launched on 26th December 2019 to support children talents through a series of storytelling, writing and drawing workshops.

The total number of children who participated in the storytelling workshop is 60 including the most talented 20 who were selected to the story writing sessions, 16 children ranging from 6 to 14 years old got their stories selected to be drawn by 19 children with special needs.

The drawing workshops were held in 3 cities in Egypt with cooperation with 2 special needs associations; Nida Society Rehabilitation with both branches in Cairo and Luxor. 14 children, and Ashab El-Erada Association in Alexandria. 5 children.

The children have different disabilities, hearing loss, partial blindness, movement disability, learning difficulty disability, mental disability and increased electricity in the brain.

Of course such an interesting project needs proper preparation and an intellectual plan. Mona Lamloum shared some of the challenges that she and her team have faced during the project:

1-The global pandemic and the sudden lockdown.

2- The fact that most of the children with special needs suffer from many chronic diseases which lowers their immunity, in addition to the huge responsibility that lies on the team while holding the workshop during the pandemic.

3-The fear of the parents of the children with special needs participation at the drawing workshops due to the pandemic and the lack of their immunity. Which was managed to concur with the help of the project partners in drawing workshops. 

Eventually, Qisaty Project was held at exceptional circumstances and according to deadlines set up before the global Corona pandemic. However, the team did their best to get the project done within the lockdown with a quality that is aspired from the beginning, and that was done simply by teamwork, sharing a unified vision, and collaborating to find new solutions.

The result is 16 short stories in addition to 64 drawings by hands of talented children with special needs and with variable disabilities from three cities: Cairo, Alexandria and Luxor. Each drawing tells a different scene from a short story inspired from the children themselves to be published as a grand book that gathers the short stories and the drawings of all the talented young participants.

Acknowledgements:

Qisaty Sponsors:

– Amideast: Hosted the story telling, story writing workshops and the day that gathered the writers and children with special needs mixed day.

– Nahdet Misr Publishing House.

Media Sponsors:

– Marj3 Platform

– HR Revolution Middle East

– EBBY

– Arablit Quarterly

Children with special needs Associations:

– Nida Society Rehabilitation with both branches in Cairo and Luxor.

– Ashab El-Erada Association in Alexandria.

Qisaty Trainers:

– Hanan El-Taher.

– Mona Lamloum.

– Zeinab Mobark.

Designing Storytelling and writing workshop:

-Mona Lamloum

Writing workshops:

– Mona Lamloum

– Yaqoub El-Sharouni

Drawing workshop:

– Under the supervision of Shoikar Khalifa,

 – With the help of respectful team at Nida Association at Cairo and Luxor.

 – Ashab El-Erada Association at Alexandria by Sahar Zaiton with the help of Aliaa Abd-Elsalam.

Team Members:

– Rawan Said

– Ahmed Ismail

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