With this tremendous increase in mobile device adoption by users globally and with an estimated market of $25 billion by 2015 for mobile applications according to a report published by MarketsandMarkets, Mobipreneur a newly created community in Egypt launched its first event on April 21st at Egypt’s Smart Village Cairo in order to start focusing on the mobile industry development in Egypt, and so we didn’t miss the opportunity to attend and echo the proceedings of the event…
We entered Smart Village at around 9:30 AM on our way to the Mobipreneur event. As usual the smart village had great scenery with its gardens and water fountains, especially the Conference Hall Center where the event was supposed to take place, as it overlooked a man made lake with a glass pyramid island dead center on the lake. Hassan, our media capture coordinator leaned over to me and said “All of Egypt should be like this”, “One day Hassan!” I replied back.
As we entered the conference hall lobby, we witnessed a large and young crowd scouring the place carrying their laptops, tabs or smart phones and chatting with each other about latest trend in mobile device programming in general. We were at the right spot!
People started flowing into the conference room, where the sessions were going to be held, flagging the start of the event. Ahmed Rabieh Founder of Mobipreneur took to the stage first, to deliver his opening key note. Ahmed talked about what Mobipreneur is and why he founded this community in order to become a one stop for all that is mobile device related for mobile developers and entrepreneurs alike. With the tremendous increase in mobile device use, whether through smart phones or tabs, and we’re talking both globally and in Egypt specifically, a community like this is definitely something Egypt is in need of, in order to help grow and support the increasing number of developers and entrepreneurs that are working on adopting mobile applications for their solutions.
Dr. Ashraf Farghaly CEO of the Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (TIEC) was next to take the stage. Dr. Asharf started off by mentioning some figures about the whole software industry in general, saying that worldwide, the software market stands at around $400 billion, with Egypt’s share less than 1% of that pie, compared to the US which is around 42%. Dr. Asharf went on to say that if Egypt only made 1% of this $400 billion market it would be generating more money for the country than the Suez Canal .
Dr. Ashraf then started to dissect the different managerial positions that make up a $1 million company, and how each of these executive positions contributed to the operations of a running software product line. Even though this was very intuitive, however I thought to myself that it was mistimed, due to the type of crowd attending the event, which was mostly if not entirely made up of youths ranging in age between 18 and 35, that were looking for solid concrete tips on how to turn their idea or startup in to a $1 million company.
Next in line was Ziad Aly, Founder of Al Zawad Mobile Services company and Founder of Masrena a political NGO. I saw Ziad delivering many speeches before, and he’s always an excellent inspirational speaker, especially for youths that need to continuously recharge their batteries in such an atmosphere that Egypt is currently engulfed in.
Ziad took to the stage and delivered as expected, however this time he had a very distinct message in support of young entrepreneurs and it was that, entrepreneurs are not always here to just hear inspirational talks, and that they need money period! Unlike the US where it is very easy for young entrepreneurs to raise money through credit cards, or bank loans to kick start their dream, in Egypt banks don’t give these kinds of loans even though they have the money, let alone give out credit lines without securing it somehow!
Egypt doesn’t have this risk taking mentality at least not yet, across the board! Ziad specifically pointed out that its time for angel networks to start sprouting, and although there are a couple like N2V, Flat6Labs and iDeavelopers, however the numbers must increase dramatically to grow the number of invested in startups to 200 or 300 per city, then we’ll see these $1 billion companies start taking front stage, raising the bar and contributing back to the economy by creating jobs and re-circulating cash.
After a quick coffee break, it was time to shift gears and start talking technical, and Mohamed Yamama a Windows phone developer evangelist did just that. Mohamed started talking about developing apps using the Windows phone platform, showing attendees through a live programming demo, how to build a sms service on a windows phone.
Even though the Windows phone platform has not widely penetrated the Egyptian market , due to some delays in fully supporting arabization by Microsoft, however showcasing platform features by Mohamed Yamama was helpful for the attendees to get a taste of the types of applications that they could engage in developing.
Talking about TIEC’s entrepreneurship initiatives Eng. Sally Metwally Director of the innovation support department at TIEC took to stage to talk about a new program called (hayiy) or my neighborhood. The program basically encourages and supports young entrepreneurs with existing small companies or for them to start new ones to increase the penetration of Arabic content through solutions that would service their neighborhood, town, city or governorate.
One very important key note was delivered by Mohamed Abdeljalil Nokia’s Business Development Manager for North Africa and LEVANT Area. I found this session very important because it went into details of Nokia’s app store and how it empowers app developers to publish their apps through the app store, to the Nokia market basically anywhere. What was really interesting was that through the app store’s administrative interface or control panel, a publisher can be in control of pricing their app differently according to the market they want to offer it in. For example you can offer your app for free in Egypt, however offer that same app for Euro 0.99 in European countries.
Mohamed Abdeljalil showed figures displaying the numbers of downloaded apps on Nokia that reached 13 million download per day, also showing an example of an Egyptian publisher that reached the 40K downloads per day. Mohamed also went on to describe the different ways of monetizing apps, one being that you could offer a free version of your app that supported Ads generated by Nokia and you would generate money based on clicks or impressions per mille or (1000 impressions).
Over all, the entire event went very well and had strong content that definitely benefited those who were there, not to mention this event being Mobipreneur’s first to be held. The event included a strong lineup of industry speakers, that came to support and encourage young entrepreneurs and developers, speakers also included current business owners in the field of mobile apps such as Tarek Mansour Founder and CEO of MIMV and iPhoneIslam.com that came to share his success story and talk about how to sustain a startup to success based on his experience.
We ran many interviews during the event, so don’t forget to periodically check our youtube channel as we upload these videos. We want to know your thoughts through emails and comments about such tech events that take place in Egypt, because through your feedback we can calibrate levels of success…