Wednesday May 22nd, 2024
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33 Best Quotes From #RiseUp15

This year's edition of the region's most cutting-edge and disruptive entrepreneurial event saw thousands descend upon The Greek Campus for two days of ideas, advice, expertise, innovation, and energy. Here are 33 of the best quotes from the mammoth event.

Staff Writer

33 Best Quotes From #RiseUp15

RiseUp Summit took The Greek Campus in Downtown Cairo by storm this weekend, and the startup hub saw an avalanche of entrepreneurs, investors, and experts in various industries descend upon the campus for two back to back days of all things entrepreneurial. We were there, front and center, attending every panel, listening to every keynote speech, watching every talk and getting involved in every workshop. From advice to get first-round investment, to insights on the sharing economy, to global trends heads-up and hints on the Internet Of Things, these 33 power phrases crystallise the energy, the wisdom, and the visionary thoughts condensed at the Riseup Summit’s debates.

"Entrepreneurship is not just about disruption of markets, but about disruption of ways of thought. It's a behavioural and intellectual disruption. If anyone says the next Steve Jobs will not come from Cairo, you can tell them about the Arab Spring." - Elmira Bayrasli, author of From the Other Side of the World

"The future of work is the ability to generate work wherever you want, instantly." - Jambu Palaniappan, Regional General Manager for the Middle East and Africa of UBER

"If you can't generate basic momentum without the money, you probably are not worth the money." - Khaled Bichara, CEO of Accelero Capital

"By 2020 an estimated 30 billion devices will be communicating together. Your fridge, car, even your dog and houseplants will be talking to each other." - Mohamed Mohsen, co-founder or Silicon Vision

"Think about starting a business that threatens the big guys, that's when they will be interested." - Mike Butcher, Editor at Large of TechCrunch

"The first version of Airbnb was a Wordpress blog where they just put down a list of apartments you can rent. They didn't even write any code. In order to rent you would just leave a comment on the blog saying you want to stay there. It was super ghetto! But in launching that, they were able to see what people want." - Jared Friedman, partner at Y Combinator

"Whatever you choose as a career, think of it as your mission. Think of it as something that motivates you and drives you and gives you a bigger purpose in life. Work-life-balance: When you love what you do, it won't be as if you're working a day of your life." - Dina El Mofty, founder of Injaz Egypt

"I started doing this in 1996, when people made fun of entrepreneurs. I remember vividly being asked at meetings 'ma3andokoosh 7ad kibeer nekalemmo?' (is there not a grownup we can speak to?) Entrepreneurship is much easier now in Egypt." - Khaled Bichara, CEO of Accelero Capital

"Digital brand content marketing is a $135 billion industry but only 50% of marketers are happy with their content. That's a huge opportunity." - Mohamed Parham El Awadhi, co-founder of WePress.

“Women do not get as far as they could because they can tend to not advocate for themselves. You are in the driver’s seat - you decide what you want to do. Stand up and advocate for yourself. Additionally your family needs to support you, and marry right - someone who will support you and who understands those challenges. This is not just a conversation for women and I'm a little upset there are not more men in this room.” Amira Rashad, Head of Advertising at Facebook Middle East

"The thing that distinguishes Silicon Valley from Cairo is not the talent; it's the obstacles." - Elmira Bayrasli, author of From the Other Side of the World

"When you say women in entrepreneurship you get people who say 'oh yeah, of course, my wife is an entrepreneur', but when someone says woman investor the reaction isn't quite the same." - Elissa Freiha, Director of Womena. 

"The smartphone in your pocket has all the computing power that NASA had when they put a man on the moon. The phenomena of universal access to that kind of technology is not going away." Christopher Schroeder, author of Startup Rising: the Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East

"Investors come with a set of additional expertise. You have to be able to use your investors. Call on them constantly for help - you can give them homework. If you don't call on them, you won't be very up there in terms of priority and they'll forget about you." - Alvaro Abella, Managing Partner of Beco Capital

"A shared economy driven by mobiles: the future is a marketplace." - Omar El Sahy, founder of

"[As an investor] I want to see somebody who works harder than I do. I want to see somebody who works his ass off." - Ahmed Alfi, founder of Flat6Labs and Sawari Ventures

"Everyone from the CEO to the office boy needs to understand the vision of the company." - Mohamed Mohsen, co-founder of Silicon Vision

"When we invented Muslim physiology, we disrupted a 1400 year old industry." - Nader Sabry, founder of TIMEZ5

"Global culture defines brands and brands define our everyday life. Culture is a proxy for consumer behavior." - Marlon Nichols, from Cross Culture Venture Capital

"Branding is about creating fictions that are real because people believe they are real." - Michael Megalli, former Microsof Brand Strategist and founder of Indie Biz

"We do celebrate success but, because we're in the business of storytelling, we want to send a message across that it's okay to take a risk and okay to fail." – Mariam Farag, Group CSR Manager at MBC Group

"Universities will change. We will not have four-year bachelor degrees anymore, that's just a waste of time. Something big is changing in the schooling system, much faster than we can imagine." - Walid Tahabsem, CEO of Integrated Technology Group

"Business is no longer a linear path." - Sarah Hegazy, Associate Account Specialist at Google Arabia

"We have always put people first. Responding to change Marriott Hotels is changing the way people meet." - Ghada Abdel Khalek, from Cairo Marriott

"There is no work-life balance when you're an entrepreneur." - Youssef el Samma, co-founder and CEO of El Wafeyat

"What does an entrepreneur see in uncertainty? Opportunity. What do others see? Fear. What's the best way to get comfortable with uncertainty and grow your comfort zone? Get out of it every day." - Professor Paris De L'Etraz, Founder of Venture Lab at the IE Business School

"Before you set up your business model, you have to find out what are your key resources in your business." - Essam Sharaf, Regional Manager of Enpact

"There's a sea of noise online. You rise above that noise by finding people that create great stories." - Mohamed Parham El Awadhi, co-founder of Wepress.

"As a freelancer, if you're very good at what you do you can grow the business and use the community to work on bigger projects and become an entrepreneur." - Loulou Khazen, founder of Nabbesh

"The legal structure in Egypt is not startup-friendly, especially towards tech startups." - May Medhat CEO of Eventtus

"I'm so energised by what I feel when I come to this event and I wish this type of energy could be placed in Aswan and Asyouy and Sohag... Entrepreneurship isn't just IT. There are amazing entrepreneurs around the country; the idea of getting out of the city and going to smaller cities is actually also to help the economy." - Sherif ElDiwany, Egyptian Centre for Economic Studies

"Talk with your hands, talk with your red lipstick. Own who you are." - Elmira Bayrasli, author of From the Other Side of the World, speaking on women in the workplace

“Hello, my name is Sherif El-Diwany and my religion is disruption." – Sherif El-Diwany, Founder of Xcuisine

For more information check out their Facebook page here or follow them on Instagram @riseupsummit.