Sharjah 30 August 2020– The American University in Cairo (AUC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park (SRTI Park) to support entrepreneurship and strengthen the startup ecosystem in the MENA region. Through knowledge sharing, the MOU will provide guidance and support to startups in the Egyptian and Emirati markets.
“This collaboration marks a great step for startups in the Egyptian and Emirati ecosystems. We are facilitating knowledge sharing, extending market insights and resources beyond local boundaries, and expanding our offerings to create regional impact,” said Ayman Ismail, the Abdul Latif Jameel Endowed Chair of Entrepreneurship and associate professor at AUC School of Business and the founding director of the AUC Venture Lab.
Ismail added that through regional and international partnerships, AUC Venture Lab is committed to the growth of the region's entrepreneurial capacity from two of MENA’s biggest startup ecosystems.”
Cooperation will also include joint hackathons, knowledge sessions, and various startup exchange opportunities.
Hussein Al Mahmoudi, CEO of the Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park, said: “The signing of this MOU with AUC is an important step towards further cooperation in joint research and development between Sharjah and Cairo. This partnership reflects the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council of the UAE, and Ruler of Sharjah.” Al Mahmoudi also highlighted the need for cooperation with the academic and research institutions in the region to attract investment to the Emirate of Sharjah's innovation sector.
As Egypt’s first university-based accelerator, AUC Venture Lab (V-Lab) provides acceleration services to startups, leveraging AUC’s intellectual capital, world-class facilities and research capacities. It connects entrepreneurs with a vast network of alumni, faculty, mentors and investors. Over seven years, AUC V-Lab has graduated more than 200 startups. The V-Lab has attracted LE1.6 billion in investments and helped in the creation of more than 8000 jobs. V-Lab’s startups have also generated LE560 million in revenues for the Egyptian economy.
AUC V-Lab also houses the FinTech Accelerator, which offers a 16-week customized program for FinTech startups providing entrepreneurs with specialized business finance and technology support, where startups gain valuable insights from some of the smartest minds in the startup and fintech worlds.
The Venture Lab's Fintech Accelerator has been selected, out of more than 1,700 business schools, among 25 highlighted innovations in the AACSB Innovations That Inspire Challenge, as a catalyst for innovation for exemplifying forward-looking approaches and mindsets through leading efforts to elevate entrepreneurial thinking and new business creation.