Innovate Egypt: A Thriving Startup Scene Ignites Innovation

Innovate Egypt: Empowering the Next Generation of Egyptian Innovators; photos of participants in Egypt

Twenty-six companies recently participated in Innovate Egypt, an eight-week comprehensive training program supporting the advancement of early-stage science and technology innovation and commercialization in Egypt. These promising startups focused on developing their business model canvas and conducting interviews with potential customers, partners, and stakeholders, culminating in an in-person pitch day at which 10 teams were selected to present their work to an international jury of judges, including angel investors and venture capital firms.

“It was so exciting to see the vitally important work that Egyptian science and technology researchers are doing,” said Mandy Sutton, senior program officer at VentureWell. “They are developing solutions to some of the most pressing problems facing the world today, such as climate change and water shortages. The participants were eager to take on the extra challenge of learning how to commercialize their solutions so they can bring them out of the lab. I can’t wait to see them continue to grow as they use what they learned during the Innovate Egypt program.”

Three finalist teams will be hosted in the U.S. in order to incubate their businesses, fostering connection and deepening collaboration between U.S. innovation ecosystems and investment networks with their Egyptian counterparts. The inventions currently in development by this cohort include nanofertilizers that allow for improved solubility and effective nutrient supply in soil, a novel technique that recycles plastic waste into biodegradable, carbon-based materials, and a photonic chip that can project a safer light source with less toxicity for clear vision.

Innovate Egypt was planned and conducted in collaboration with the Science, Technology & Innovation Funding Authority (STDF); the U.S.-Egypt Joint Science and Technology Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; the United States Agency for International Development; and the U.S. Department of State. Since its inception in 2017, Innovate Egypt has been a key fixture of VentureWell’s global innovation portfolio. Our upcoming work with this program will include the Advanced Innovator Mentoring Support (AIMS) initiative, which will provide continuing customized personal support with leading venture development experts.

The following teams were selected to present their work on Pitch Day:

Active BioChar
Active BioChar is developing a cost-effective filtration method of recycling agricultural waste using activated carbon pellets to remove chemicals from water.

Agriray is developing nanofertilizers that allow for slow and controlled release into soil, improving solubility and extending the effective duration of nutrient supply in the soil.

AI-Based Tool for Automatic Segmentation of Dental Pulp After Pulp Therapy and Tissue Regeneration
This project team is developing next-generation dental solutions built on an AI-generated tool that assesses dental pulp following therapy to analyze and enhance tissue regeneration.

EyeHealthy is developing a novel, optically active photonic chip that can absorb blue light from LED lights and simultaneously emit green and yellow lights, transforming any standard white LED bulb into a more eye-comfortable light source, for better long-term optical health outcomes.

Green Concrete
Green Concrete is developing a new formulation for concrete, created by mixing embedded carbon with concrete in different proportions to increase the strength of concrete. This process has significantly less carbon output than existing technologies, contributing far less to global warming.

GreenTeck is developing a method of recycling and upcycling plastic waste through a hydrothermal technique where plastic is turned into value-added biodegradable carbon-based materials that can catalyze next-generation sustainable electrode materials, including carbon nanosheets, carbon quantum dots, carbon nanospheres, 3D porous carbon, and carbon nanotubes—each building a more sustainable computing future.

SAFE-WATER is developing a cost-effective method of turning domestic wastewater into irrigation water, mitigating the amount of toxic discharge into the soil.

Global Navigation Satellite System
This project team is developing and implementing Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) applications, which in the past decade have been used to further scientific fields including Earth science and engineering. This lower-cost system for connected devices will empower more economies to gain access to this key technology.

StevoTech is developing a method of producing a higher-quality stevia compound, a popular sugar substitute. This novel development not only improves the taste of the sugar alternative, but also allows it to be produced at scale, with less use of land area, water, and pesticides in the process.

Variable-Flux Permanent Magnet
This project team is developing a magnet with an easily changed magnetic state through adjusting the orientation of the magnet using little electrical energy. This makes it perfect for energy harvesting applications—vital for reducing losses in electricity—like electric cars and transport, electrified engines, and battery chargers.

United States and Egypt flags, Innovate Egypt supporter logos: USAID, U.S. Department of State, Arab Republic of Egypt Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Higher Education and Research, National Academies, STDF, VentureWell

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