The Heya Raeda Programme is an initiative implemented by the Egyptian Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center – TIEC – which is part of the wider strategy called Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center, promoted by the Egyptian Government – to support women entrepreneurship. This successful programme was explored during one of the policy labs INSME organizes within the framework of THE NEXT SOCIETY project with the aim to highlight relevant initiatives, policies and projects that contribute to the creation of a fertile entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Mediterranean basin and have a high replicability potential.
The entrepreneurial ecosystem in Egypt is one of the fastest in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, however, an in-depth analysis reveals also that the number of female entrepreneurs is remarkably small. By taking the Egyptian female entrepreneurial ecosystem into consideration, TIEC pointed out that the main barriers that hinder the development of companies led by women are the lack of knowledge and confidence together with the will to avoid the competition with men. In order to enhance women’s confidence and help them develop their business in Egypt, TIEC started “Heya Raeda”, a program for female entrepreneurs that also involves female coaches, female trainers, and mentors. The Heya Raeda is a nearly-stage Entrepreneurship Programme for female entrepreneurs operating in the ICT field that produce technological products (Website, Mobile Application, Software, IOT platform, …) or that use technology to foster the selling of their products (online platform / digital marketing interface).
The Heya Raeda was established by the joint effort between the private sector, the civil society, and the Government.
The initiative is funded by the Information Technology Industry Development Agency. Among the partners that sustain this project, there is the International Labor Organization (ILO) (2017-2018).
2017 – Present
The project addresses early-stage female entrepreneurs (female-led startups, small businesses wishing to become startups, and females with new venture ideas).
The Heya Raeda is a program aimed at training female entrepreneurs on startup methodologies in order to help them develop their business ideas. The main target is to provide the attendees with knowledge, tools, and skills needed to successfully run their business.
The number of female entrepreneurs who graduated until 2019 is 209 while they are expected to be 300 only in 2020, 10%of which are should turn their activities into potential startups (registering their company and joining an incubator). The results of 2019’s surveys showed the following data:
- 50% of the companies were still in business;
- 15% of the participants to the Heya Raed a program find another opportunity in a follow-up program in Egypt;
- 14% of the attendees had their company registered.
So far, the main challenge faced by the program has been the reaching of its target audience. To overcome this issue TIEC is making partnerships with many entities involved in the promotion of female empowerment. TIEC also promotes and gives visibility to the initiative in online communities for women. After every edition the female entrepreneurs have to take part in a survey, this is a very important instrument to understand barriers to participation and to adjust the structure of the program following the ladies’ needs (for instance the number of hours to attend every day and the schedule).
Fund: The Initiative is funded by the government. Sustainability is guaranteed as long as the program keeps achieving its KPIs. The KPIs evaluated each year are the followings:
-number of participants;
-number of graduates joining a follow-up program;
-number of graduates registering their companies;
-number of jobs created by those graduates.
Operations: The workshops are delivered by service providers from the private sector, which makes the workshops easier to replicate in other countries and for multiple editions.
Training Content: TIEC defines the content of the workshops, but takes also advantage of the expertise of different service providers in order to make the training more effective according to the subject.
Target Market: In order to give the chance to take part in the program to the highest number of brilliant female entrepreneurs, all the lessons and the learning materials are in Arabic. The number of female entrepreneurs running a small business that could take advantage of a program like Heya Raeda is remarkable and since the structure of the initiative is not complex, its applicability in other countries would considerable support the spur of female entrepreneurship.