Global Entrepreneurship Week Fosters Out-of-the-Box Thinking on Campus
Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) starts today, challenging AUC’s business-minded community to think outside of the box.
An international initiative, entities in more than 140 countries are participating in GEW, including students, faculty, staff and local community members here at AUC. Throughout the week, events on campus hosted by Entrepreneurs' Society student club and the AUC Venture Lab aim at fostering an entrepreneurial spirit in the University and local communities.
Students in the Entrepreneurs’ Society (ES) are hosting their annual Junior Business Plan Competition to help demystify entrepreneurship among local high school students. “Most people think you have to have a $1 million dollar idea to be successful, but we show our Juniors that sometimes the simplest ideas are the best,” said Dalia Kamar, a junior majoring in business marketing and the current CEO of ES. “We want our juniors to put themselves in an entrepreneur's shoes, first with our creative and professional workshops then when writing their own business plans and giving their elevator pitches.”
For Kamar, programs like the the Junior Business Plan Competition are an important first step to developing Egypt’s next generation of entrepreneurs. “We’ve had a lot of success in the past. Some of our past winners have gone on to start their own business, and a lot of the Juniors stay involved, joining ES when they enter AUC,” she explained. “In a sense, we’re ambassadors for AUC at these high schools, because when their students come to the University for the competition, they see that they don’t have to become an engineer or lawyer or doctor, but that they can also be an entrepreneur. It breaks down those misperceptions that you have to work in the corporate world to be successful.”
AUC’s Venture Lab is also participating in GEW, inviting local entrepreneurs to their campus facilities on Wednesday, November 18 to practice elevator pitches. “We believe that one of the most important keys to a successful business is a good pitch because it shows the audience that the entrepreneurs know their target market and value proposition,” said Maram Shalaby, public relations and media officer at the V-Lab. “As a startup, knowing your value proposition and being able to phrase it in a simple and convincing manner will make your clients keen to try your product and appeal to potential investors.”
For those looking for more ways to learn about entrepreneurship, AUConnect will be extending GEW into December. A new initiative aimed at connecting prominent AUC graduates with alumni and current students, AUConnect will host Wael Amin ‘93, ‘06 on December 19 to discuss business and entrepreneurship. Amin is a partner in the Sawari Venture capital firm and co-founder and board chair of ITWorx, which has become one of the leading software development companies in Egypt and the region under his leadership. Amin also received the Distinguished Alumni Award from AUC in 2005.
GEW may be only one week out of the year, but its emphasis on creativity and innovation has far-reaching effects, as Kamar noted. “Entrepreneurship isn’t just about learning content, but developing a way of thinking. We at ES like to create "intrapreneurs," people who are entrepreneurial in whatever they choose to pursue. The real challenge is to not be afraid to break the status quo or to think outside of the box.”