The Venture Lab (V-Lab) at The American University in Cairo (AUC) has been named “High Impact Incubation Program” in the Middle East and North Africa by Sweden-based UBI-Global. The news was announced at the recognition awards ceremony of top performing university business incubators hosted by UBI Global and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia in MENA 2015.“I am glad that, despite its young age, the AUC V-lab was ranked among the top university-based incubators in the MENA region by Sweden based UBI Global. This is an excellent recognition of the transformative impact of the AUC V-Lab and also the various impactful entrepreneurship activities that AUC has launched to promote entrepreneurship in Egypt and the region," said Karim Seghir, dean of AUC School of Business.
UBI Global, a thought leader in performance analysis of business incubation around the world, benchmarks business incubators and accelerators worldwide with reliable top rankings and helps them become more efficient and competitive. The company also provides corporates and governments with global incubation knowledge. UBI Global has an international research team and a benchmark network of more than 400 university-managed or associated business incubators and accelerators in over 70 countries.
Earlier this year, V-Lab has been selected among the top five most promising university incubators in Africa in UBI-Index’s Most Promising Incubators rankings for 2014.
“For the past two years, the AUC V-lab has worked with more than 46 startups. Now the effort is paying off in terms of revenues, investments and job generated by startups as well as international recognition," said Ayman Ismail, assistant professor and Abdul Latif Jameel Endowed chair for entrepreneurship.
AUC V-Lab, which is currently in it its fifth cycle, has had 46 startups incubated, 93 mentors and trainers, L.E 23 million generated in revenues by the startups and 207 jobs created.
“UBI helps us benchmark our work to university based incubators globally, we will continue to strive to bring out the best in our startups and to improve the services that we offer our entrepreneurs and we are hoping to double our stats in the next year and half,” said Sherif Shabana, AUC Venture Lab manager.
“We always strive to provide our startups with anything they might be needing to become a successful business and improve the Egyptian economy, this title is also a reminder that we now have a bigger responsibility towards our startups and that we need to maintain our level of work if not improve it even more,” said Mohamed Hamza, AUC Venture Lab acceleration manager.
V-Lab incubates early-stage and growth-stage startups that are chosen through a selection process that judges the novelty of the idea, the team’s track record and cohesion, scalability and potential for commercialization, as well as the team’s tenacity and commitment to success. Once selected, the startups benefit from training sessions, mentors, student internships and their presence at the AUC School of Business. They also play an active role in the AUC community and Egypt, sharing their entrepreneurial experience with students, faculty members, mentors and investors, as well as a global alumni network.
AUC V-Lab is the first university-based incubator in Egypt, launched in 2013 “to translate technologies and innovations into commercially viable and scalable ventures, thereby contributing to economic development and job creation,” as Seghir notes.