This article is part of a series of city guides to innovation hubs around the world. Each guide features a set of locations to help connect innovators and entrepreneurs to like-minded communities across the globe. A city local—who’s also a leader of the SingularityU Chapter in that city—has curated these destinations to get you plugged into the network in no time.
One of Egypt’s major assets in addition to its central location between Africa, Europe, and Asia is Cairo’s huge pool of youth and talent. The city has become a hub for tech leaders and aspiring entrepreneurs and has experienced strong growth in mobile and web-based industries. The startup market has been quietly growing in recent years, bringing with it a booming ecosystem for entrepreneurs in finance, policy, education, infrastructure, and other sectors.
Meet Your Guide
Singularity University Chapter: SingularityU Cairo
Profession: Co-founder, Pala Innovation. Social impact expert and entrepreneur with extensive experience managing startup acceleration programs in technology and innovation. Experience within Middle East North Africa (MENA) region. BS in Computer Science.
Your City Guide to Cairo, Egypt
Top industries in the city: Manufacturing, agriculture, retail, construction, and an emerging information and communication technology sector.
KMT House, situated in a green suburban district south of Cairo, is a home for urban innovators in Egypt. The house offers coworking and café space, event venues, digital fabrication labs, and an outdoor workspace in the garden.
With locations in downtown Cairo and Heliopolis, AlMaqarr hosts a vibrant and diverse community of young innovators. In addition to its shared office and event venue spaces, AlMaqarr regularly organizes social events and workshops on a wide range of topics from entrepreneurship to art.
2. Makerspace: Fab Lab New Cairo (FLiNC)
Located in a suburb east of Cairo, Fab Lab New Cairo is a makerspace and fabrication lab inside a Giza Systems office building. The space provides access to digital fabrication equipment such as 3D printing, CNC-milling, circuit production, and laser cutting.
3. Local meetups/networks: Global Shapers Community Cairo Hub
Born out of the World Economic Forum, the Global Shapers Community is a network of highly committed young achievers working to support their local, regional, and global communities.
4. Best coffee shop with free WiFi: Beano’s
Beano’s cafes, with locations throughout Cairo, are great for informal hangouts, meetings, and catching up on email.
5. The startup neighborhood: GrEEK Campus
The GrEEK Campus, launched in 2013, is a technology and innovation hub in downtown Cairo. It hosts events, workshops, and conferences for startups and entrepreneurs.
6. Well-known investor or venture capitalist: Algebra Ventures
Algebra Ventures is an Egyptian venture capital firm known for funding successful tech startups in the region. Founded by an experienced team, Algebra looks for companies working in areas including core technology, fintech, and e-commerce.
7. Best way to get around: Careem & Uber
Careem and Uber are ride-hailing services available in Cairo. Both take cash or credit. Download the apps and check availability based on your location.
8. Local must-have dish and where to get it: Zooba
Zooba is a hip twist on traditional Egyptian street food. It has several locations around Cairo including Zamalek, Maadi, Korba, Citystars, and Downtown Mall, as well as a delivery option to any location in Cairo. Must-have dishes include foul, taameya, and koshary.
9. City’s best-kept secret: Aquarium Grotto Garden
Over 150 years ago, the viceroy of Egypt and Sudan, Khedive Ismail, built the Aquarium Grotto Garden on Zamalek Island. The garden’s clay formations are shaped like fish gills, and fish from the Nile and elsewhere used to live in its hollowed out caverns. On weekends, the garden hosts a variety of handicrafts, food markets, and festivals.
10. Touristy must-do: Pyramids of Giza
A survivor of the ancient Greeks’ Seven Wonders of the World, the pyramids at Giza and their iconic Sphinx are the world’s oldest tourist attraction. You can take a tour with a guide or explore on your own.
11. Local volunteering opportunity: Safarni
Safarni brings the cultural experience of traveling to kids who cannot afford to travel. Children in Safarni’s program embark on an imaginary journey to a new country where they are introduced to the local culture through language, food, games, dances, and songs.
12. Local University with great resources: The American University in Cairo
Located on the east side of Cairo and founded in 1919, the American University in Cairo (AUC) is an independent, English-language research university and a vital contributor to the intellectual, cultural, and educational life of Egypt. It hosts 16 research centers that promote collaborative multidisciplinary research and strong links between academia and industry.
This article is for informational purposes only. All opinions in this post are the author’s alone and not those of Singularity University. Neither this article nor any of the listed information therein is an official endorsement by Singularity University.
Image Credits: Maie ElZeiny