Some of ITIDA’s most prominent priorities in the upcoming period include stimulating creativity and business entrepreneurship, increasing local and foreign demand on Egyptian products and services, increasing companies’ efficiency, and attracting more foreign investments, head of Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) Hossam Osman said.
Osman told Daily News Egypt that ITIDA allocated EGP 50m to establish two creativity centres next to universities outside Greater Cairo as part of their first phase. Candidate areas are Upper Egypt, Lower Egypt, Delta, and Suez Canal. Moreover, a risk capital fund will be launched to invest in start-up companies in cooperation with the Social Fund for Development (SFD) with capital of EGP 100m and in partnership with the private sector, where the agency contributes with nearly $5m equivalent to nearly EGP 40m.
He also revealed that a new electronic platform was launched to raise awareness on creativity and entrepreneurship called “Egypt Innovate”. The platform displays success stories and provides tools to help make the platform a convergence point of all elements of creativity and entrepreneurship in the field of information and communication technology.
ITIDA supports start-ups with EGP 25m annually and plans to increase the amount to EGP 50m throughout 2016, according to Osman.
He believes that teaching creativity and entrepreneurship in all education levels is one of the most prominent challenges entrepreneurships face in Egypt. There is also the increasing risk capital and improving the legislative environment to encourage creativity and innovative elements, especially outside Greater Cairo.
The agency is pushing to encourage creativity. “The presence of Greater Cairo among the ten best cities to establish companies on a global level – according to a report by Forbes – and is proof that we are moving in the right direction. This is why the initiative to establish creative communities is important, as well as spreading ITIDA’s activity through cooperating with the private sector,” he said.
ITIDA monitored all the directions of the strategy, where there are investments ranging between EGP 30m to EGP 50m. ITIDA allocated about EGP 10m to support companies’ participation in exhibitions like Cairo International Conference for information, communication technology Cairo ICT, and GITEX exhibition.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) also have a large share in ITIDA’s budget. Besides the agency’s support for companies, there is a programme to activate the development of products by SME enterprises with a budget of EGP 20m. There are also programmes to train managers and develop skills with a budget of nearly EGP 10m.
In regards to incentives offered by ITIDA to attract foreign investment, Osman said that the agency is trying to keep up with international models by offering support to train Egyptian labour in the sector of IT. The support increases with growth in professional skills. This requires support ranging from $1,000 to $4,000 to train employees within three years.