The biggest entrepreneurial summit in the region is upon us, here's how to make the most out of it if you're not an entrepreneur.
As December approaches, like clockwork, it's suddenly all anyone seems to be able to talk about. It invades our feeds as well as dominate casual conversations everywhere you go, and we're left wondering what in Madonna's name is going on. We decided to end the dilemma and take matter into hands, so off to Riseup's office in The GrEEk Campus we went with some serious questions, and luckily we came back with some answers.
"For starters, we'd have to make a distinction between Riseup and Riseup summit; Riseup is a platform for connecting startups to relevant resources. It basically revolves around the idea that every startup needs six essential things to grow; funding, space, team, the know-how, and the market to sell it to.
Riseup's job is to connect as many startups to these essential resources as possible. We do that through so many different ways, most significantly the RiseUp Summit, which is the annual 6K+ attendees conference connecting all these people involved in one space.
But we also do it through other ways throughout the year; we host mini-events for the creative industry, events the green-tech industry, and Hackathons - tech-based competitions for coders and developers. We also do it through Connect, our online portal which does the job of connecting resources on the spot. But of course, we do it most notably through Riseup Summit."
"It's a 3-day entrepreneurial marathon. The idea is getting all the people involved in the six essentials resources we mentioned earlier in one place; get them talking; networking; debating; and offer them as much value as possible.Riseup Summit aims to build the foundation of Egypt's entrepreneurial ecosystem, for the eventual goal of it being a self-sufficient network where everyone can seamlessly get all the resources they need instantly.
The summit happens at AUC in Downtown. It has different features, first and foremost are the stages; capital stage; creative stage; technology stage.
That kind of goes back to what your definition of an entrepreneur is. You can define it in very strict terms; someone with a startup, most likely an tech-geek with a new app. But we define an entrepreneur as anyone who's willing to take on innovation and challenge the norm. If you're an artist or a designer who decided to experiment with different shading technique, for instance, you're an entrepreneur in our definition. You're innovating and thinking outside the box, and you have a place at Riseup Summit.Everyone who comes to Riseup Summit - even those who don't fall under the rigid definition - is an entrepreneur, because they decided to take that step to see what else is out there aside from what they're used to."
"We love students! We're already partnered with the biggest student organisations in the country. You name it; AIESIC, ENACTUS, and every major student organisation this is. We also have a discounted student ticket for EGP 375 to make it easier for students to attend.
The focus on students is because they're the future entrepreneurs, they're the creative people who will come up with the next great idea, and they need these resources more than most, so we curate content from each of the stages specifically for the foundation-level audience, helping them get on the right path.Even if you don't have the next big idea, being exposed to the amazing influences and engaging in the debates at Riseup Summit will definitely be of benefit to any student. They get to familiarise themselves with the actual job market and get a head-start on what they need to be working on during college to be ready for the job market.
Check out the daily agenda on the CairoScene calendar "
"If you're coming specifically to get a job, you sign up for one of the features that gets you a job. Like Wuzzuf, one of our partners, is holding a talent match-making event, which you can register for in advance.Furthermore, you'll find a lot of opportunities everywhere, either a group of entrepreneurs looking for their techie cofounder, to multinational corporations looking for managers and coordinators, that's all available at Riseup Summit's talent matchmaking events."
"You don't really need a talent match-making event to do that, just come to the summit and NETWORK. You have 200 startups on ground at Riseup Summit, whether running in pitch competition or booths. These are startups that have potential and will scale in the next couple of years, and they're here to take that next step. Such startups are most likely all hiring, so if you come to the summit, talk to people, let them know who you are, you'll find a lot of interesting prospects.
At the end of the day, Riseup Summit is a networking event, no one should come to Riseup Summit and feel shy to start a conversation with someone or ask for something, it's all about approachability here."
"It has to be about the value after all. We're investing a lot in creating and curating the entire event so that it brings value to the attendees. We bring industry experts from all around the world and invest heavily in setting the summit up so that attendees have easy access to all the resources and information they need.
For all of that, there has to be a certain price point at which it's worthwhile for us from a business perspective, and that's why it's kind of pricey but I wouldn't say expensive; it's the biggest entrepreneurial event in the Middle East after all.
We have CEOs of multinationals all the way to founders of successful local startups who have been through the same struggles that any of attendees will one day have to go through if they launch their own startup.
If you're someone who wants to attend but find it unaffordable, then look into getting cheaper tickets; like the student ticket for EGP 375, or a group package for groups of 3 and more, at a reduced rate for each.
If you want to play it smart, we're partnering up with over a 100 organisations who are giving away free tickets, each gets 50 of them. They give them out to their Facebook audience or through small competitions or however else they want to give it away, so go look up our partner organisations and follow them, maybe you'll end up with a free ticket. If you do your research, you can get in for free."
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"No, it's only one ticket option."
"There are countless, but as an example, Mumm, the home-cooked food delivery service was at Riseup Summit 2014, and it was just two guys with a small booth, handing out flyers.
Now they're at a multi-hundred thousand dollar valuation, and they grew through Riseup Summit. First with a small booth, then a bigger one, then a sizable investment.Wuzzuf, Vezeeta, and many other startups who are big now started off as booths at Riseup Summit, just like the 150 startups occupying our booths this year, at least one of them will be the next IT startup.
We do such a good job at curating the list of startups we bring to the summit because we know that these ones will be the next Wuzzufs and Vezeetas."
"The entrepreneurial ecosystem in Egypt is still relatively young, even though it's the most diverse in the region. So the challenge every year is to get as many relevant people and entities on board and involved in this conversation. They more hype it gains towards November, the more people are willing to answer our calls and get on board, but starting that conversation every year is so difficult, however it's also getting easier every year.We'd never dreamt of getting Facebook as a partner; they usually don't even sponsor events altogether. This is the first startup-related event they sponsor in the Middle East, and that's because of the conversation we start every year that they want to be part of?"
"Ideally, it takes six months of planning, but we usually end having to kill ourselves and get the job done in just three months."
Follow up with Riseup Summit's daily agenda on the CairoScene calendar.