For the second year in a row, Cogite led a Tunisian delegation of startups and entrepreneurship supporters to the RiseUp Summit in Cairo, the MENA region’s biggest startup gathering. After first attending RiseUp in 2015, Cogite returned to Egypt this year with even more startups, more energy, and more impact. Cogite’s participation included hosting a Tunisia ecosystem booth at the Greek Campus and Cogite member Dorra Fayech speaking on a highly-attended panel on women entrepreneurs alongside representatives from Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt. Putting Tunisia’s best foot forward, the delegation featured twelve of the best Tunisian startups, including DigitalMania, LYOUM, MonResto, NeoShop, Voulez-Vous, WakTech, Wasabi, CoZi, Afrikwity, Webradar, GoMyCode, and Ilboursa.
DISCOVERING THE ENTREPRENEURSHIP ECOSYSTEM IN THE MENA:
One of the main objectives of the Tunisia delegation was to present their projects and discover what is happening in the Middle Eastern and African startup scene. This dynamic ecosystem has grown dramatically in recent years, with thousands of different projects, startups, and programs for entrepreneurs.
Participants took part in workshops, panels and talks, and took time to network and promote their businesses outside the country. With the critical mass of key ecosystem players assembled at RiseUp, there was plenty of opportunities to connect and collaborate, and to attract the attention of different investors, VCs and entrepreneurship actors in the region. The Summit has already had a positive impact on the delegation of Tunisian startups.
Delegation participant Sofiane Ben Chabaane, founder and CEO of the fashion brand LYOUM reported,, “This new edition of the RiseUp Summit was an opportunity to discover the entrepreneurship ecosystem in the MENA region: startups or larger companies, personalities or creative minds, panels or workshops etc. I had the opportunity to have great encounters and make incredible discoveries.”
Nessim Ouadi, remarked that the Summit opened his eyes to the potential of the region. “This was my first event as a startup and this Summit made me aware of the extraordinary potential of the MENA region as a market and in terms of innovation,” he said.
The Summit was also a rewarding experience for discovery, as Yahya Bouhlel, the cofounder and CEO of GoMyCode and one of the delegation participants commented. He said, “The experience for me was more about discovering the huge potential that technology can have on our life and how it can impact society. The whole experience started by getting to Egypt, emerging into the culture of the country, and for me getting to know startups that influence the region and the way we live and interact is just incredible .”
Tarek Ben Abdallah, COO of the Tunisian crowdfunding platform Afrikwity also mentioned that his participation in RiseUp allowed him to get connected and discover what is happening in Egypt and build relationships with the fintech industry. “It was also interesting to see that in general we have the same problems in terms of regulations, and are using the same solutions to survive, to communicate and find investors. The Summit was also a an opportunity to challenge my project in a competitive landscape.”
APERO EVENT ORGANIZED BY THE TUNISIAN DELEGATION IN CAIRO:
The Tunisian Delegation also took the initiative to bring together key players in order to discover what is happening in Tunisia, by organizing their own apéro and inviting entrepreneurship actors from across the MENA to join them at the Windsor Hotel. The event aimed to boost collaboration, friendship, networking and better understanding of the Tunisian startup scene. Through the course of one night, the delegation was able to show the depth of the ecosystem in Tunisia, and leave a lasting impression on what is happening on the ground.
Beyond just meeting people and discovering the entrepreneurial ecosystem in MENA, many members of the delegation identified opportunities for regional collaboration, something that is more and more important for Tunisian businesses to explore. As Yosra Mezghich, research and development manager at Webradar reported, “Business wise, I came back with two potential opportunities to collaborate and fulfill our expansion strategy at WebRadar.”
Nessim Ouadi also discovered means to grow his business beyond just Tunisia. “I was able to meet founders of innovative projects who were looking for partners in other countries to export their ideas and find new sources of growth,” he said.
Nessim added: “I also shared with other entrepreneurs on various issues (including online payment) in order to enrich my experiences and get inspired by their solutions. Finally, I was able to meet founders of innovative projects who were looking for partners in other countries to export their ideas and find new sources of growth. I am currently looking at partnership opportunities and may be bringing some of the concepts I saw in Egypt to Tunisia.”
Yahya also commented and said : “It helped me articulate a clear wish is at GoMyCode; we want to create a world class computer science education for everyone in the region and Africa and by that we can improve the quality of our products, startups and compete with worldwide products.”
HELP FOR THE COMPANY’S DEVELOPMENT
Cogite was very proud to receive positive feedback from the delegation members during and after the Summit on how it helped them in the development of their companies.
Yosra Mezghich, research and development manager at Webradar talked about her experience and the added value of attending the RiseUp Summit by saying: “My RiseUp experience was very helpful for my R&D objectives to be fulfilled in the short and the long run.” Nessim Ouadi also commented on how attending helped his own company’s development and added “I was also able to pitch my concept and thus measure the opportunities for future development,”
Cogite is proud to have been able to bring together this experience, to represent the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Tunisia, to have fun and connect with other startups at the apéro event, and to discover new regional opportunities.
Finally, the Delegation has returned after the Summit to Tunis full of energy, motivation, inspiration and with new ideas, contacts, and new collaborative projects in the MENA.