148 Egyptian Green & Blue Entrepreneurs taking the extra mile inspired by SwitchMed’s “GMB Training Programme”

Within the framework of “Egypt’s SwitchMed Down the Nile Project to support Sustainable Economy and Green and Blue Entrepreneurship”, 8 training workshops on SwitchMed’s Green Business Model were conducted throughout the past eight months. Each workshop included 5 sessions over a period of 4 to 6 weeks, during which entrepreneurs developed their green business models.

Out of the 491 applicants who responded to the Call for Applications, 280 were shortlisted. The workshops resulted in a total of 148 Switchers (trained green and blue entrepreneurs) across Egypt, 45% of which were females. The training targeted entrepreneurs from Greater Cairo, Alexandria, Upper Egypt, Delta and the Red Sea governorates.

Capacity building and knowledge transfer is the core of SwitchMed’s GBM training programme. Subsequently, the Project partnered with 5 Business Support Organizations (BSO)s whose mentors were initially trained and accredited by SwitchMed TOT to mentor green and blue entrepreneurs nationwide. These BSOs were Intersection, IceAlex, Athar, CULTIV & CEDARE.

Developed by SwitchMed in collaboration with MedWaves, the GBM module consists of two phases: the Green Business Model methodology (ideation phase) as well as the green business plan methodology (creation phase). While the Ideation phase covered topics such as the introduction to key concepts, business idea, identification of problems or needs, understanding the context, & objectives, and most importantly the mission and vision of the green business model.  Consequently, the Creation phase sessions involved sketching out the entrepreneurs’ ideas reflecting the reason behind them, developing ideas using the green business canvas, testing, and validating the idea followed by planning the operation and development and finally, measuring and improving the outcome.

The GBM module was designed to guide green entrepreneurs through their entrepreneurial journey from defining the idea up to the commercialization of products and services, covering both green projects addressing environmental aspects at large, and/or blue projects related to fisheries, maritime, cleaning up the Nile and the like.

The entrepreneurs’ scope of work vary from organic food and agriculture (including husbandry, fisheries and associated industries), renewable energy and energy efficiency, sustainable waste management and resource efficiency, sustainable tourism, sustainable building, sustainable clothing and textiles and construction, sustainable mobility, sustainable cleaning products and cosmetics, sustainable furniture, sustainable electrical and electronic equipment; information technology and communication for sustainability and more.

By successfully completing the SwitchMed’s “GBM training”, they have officially become Switchers. However, only the finalists were selected for further incubation, based on the best ideas and other selection criteria. The incubators will provide the Switchers with personal mentoring and tailored technical assistance. By the end of the incubation phase, 16 green and blue entrepreneurs should have 16 solid green and blue business models as well as legally registered start-ups. In addition, they should be ready to introduce his/her products/services to the market & should be fully qualified to pitch to investors and financial institutions.

Egypt’s SwitchMed Down the Nile Project to support Sustainable Economy & Green & Blue Entrepreneurship is implemented by CEDARE – Centre for Environment & Development for the Arab Region & Europe and the Ministry of Environment in partnership with MedWaves & SwitchMed, the EU-funded programme.