2017 Action Project – Gabr Net


Courtney Joline, Tom Stein, Aly Salem, and Abdelrahman Amr

The Challenge:

As Egypt modernizes its economy and the Government looks to restructure the country’s macroeconomic policies, start-ups continue to face an uphill battle as they scale their companies. Some key hurdles that hamper sustainable business development include:

  • The lack of available in-country capital and an environment that is not attractive to foreign direct investment (especially from the United States)
  • The Government has been unable to put key bureaucratic and institutional reforms into place to stamp out corruption and make business development a more seamless process
  • Egypt has not made a strong case for support from US investors and does not have the experience or relationship foundation to pursue strategic financial partnerships.

Gabr Net addresses some of these key challenges and looks to create a foundation for ongoing partnerships and streamlined investments to support bilateral economic growth.

Project Overview

Gabr Net will organize and facilitate a virtual exchange platform to bring together 15 MBA students and 5 start-ups to engage in a semester long mentorship program.

The Goal

  • Egyptian start-ups prepared to scale will be more effective and prepared in their outreach to stakeholders in the U.S. after learning about how to market their products more effectively and attract foreign direct investment
  • MBA students will build connections with an emerging market that is poised to grow over the next decade

Population Served

Egyptian start-ups and MBA students in the United States.

Project Milestones

Phase 1: Identify a top-tier MBA program and connect with the dean of the school or professor to establish the pilot project. Work with the educator to identify 15 students to participate in the program. Partner with the school’s administration to either incorporate this into a class as a project or as a short-term elective course

Phase 2: Create a marketing campaign to recruit Egyptian start-ups with ideas that have strong scalability potential. Commence an application and interview process and select the initial 5 participants for the pilot program. Pair the entrepreneurs with teams of 3 MBA students

Phase 3: Meet with each pair individually to lay out goals and expectations. Each team will be tasked with creating an action plan, a weekly meeting schedule, and submitting a bi-monthly status update to the project managers. At the end of the semester, the MBA students will create a report outlining best practices, lessons learned, and suggestions for how to move the company forward. They will also coordinate, with the support of the Gabr Foundation, a pitch day for investors with the capacity to provide early-stage capital for scalable start-ups. The goal is to facilitate the investment of a minimum of 1 million Egyptian Pounds

Phase 4: Project managers will review the pilot initiative and create a plan for continued expansion based on best practices and lessons learned

Expected Outcome

Over the course of this project, Egyptian entrepreneurs will learn how to more effectively engage in the US market and up and coming business leaders in the United States will have a better understanding of how to promote business development and investment in untapped financial markets. Ultimately, a strong foundation will be laid for foreign direct investment, more effective marketing strategies, and business partnerships that can be sustained and magnified in the coming years.

Furthering the Foundation’s Mission

Gabr Net builds bridges between entrepreneurs in Egypt and business leaders in the United States to facilitate business transactions, relationships, and networks that can be leveraged and multiplied as both groups advance in their careers. The Gabr Foundation name will be leveraged as strong businesses in Egypt advance and scale, and will serve as the center for a strong business community network that connects both countries.