SwitchMed Synergy Workshop in Cairo: Egyptian change-makers and supporters gather to participate in policy development

On October 1st, 2018, the SwitchMed Synergy Workshop was held in Cairo for “Green Entrepreneurs, Environmental Grassroots Initiatives ‎and NGOs advancing towards Social Eco-Innovation in Egypt”. It aimed to validate the white paper developed by UNCPRAC, CEDARE and EEAA through stakeholder interviews through panel discussions with experts and a synergy workshop as a final round of stakeholders consultations.

More than 100 participants attended the event. Participants represented the essential stakeholder groups constituting the supportive ecosystem: Young and emerging green entrepreneurs; Grassroots environmental civil society organizations and NGOs; Support providers that cater to green entrepreneurship (public and private incubators, accelerators and hatcheries, etc) and other financial actors offering finance facilities for green startups and CSOs, as well as corporations and consultants; Public actors and policy makers of relevance; Academia and research institutions

The panel discussions included leading players in setting the strategy for supporting green entrepreneurship and CSOs in Egypt, including the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (MSMEDA), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Egyptian National Cleaner Production Center (ENCPC), the Global Environment Facility’s Small Grants Program (GEF/SGP), Egyptian National Cleaner Production Center (ENCPC), together with the co-organizers, CPRAC, CEDARE, and EEAA. Video coverage of the panel discussions and presentations are made available online.

Key outcomes to be integrated into the final draft of the white paper include three areas of activity: Legislative, economic, and cultural, and several contributing ideas from roundtable discussions emerged. Among the recurring themes included the need for further specialization throughout the supportive ecosystem and establishment of universal performance criteria and quality standards for service providers, furthermore, the need for separation of regulation/governance from service provision (in recognition of numerous governmental bodies directly initiating business development services in Egypt recently) was highlighted as an important pursuit in the future roadmap in order to have a healthier and more professional and efficient ecosystem for green entrepreneurs and civil society initiatives.

The space was afterward open for networking, and several initiatives showcased some of their products and services, such as upcycling products, cycling-promotion virtual reality tour (Alexandria), and nature conservation awareness through the project of Nature Conservation Egypt (NCE) showcasing the Wadi Degla natural protectorate virtual reality visit.