As we mentioned in our last post, we were invited by the Swedish Institute and the Swedish Embassy of Cairo to attend the RiseUp Summit 2019. Although that was our primary reason for our trip, there was still more to it.
On our first day we were invited to a fika (what else) at the Swedish Embassy in Cairo, where we were introduced to the rest of the Swedish Delegation, consisting of representatives from Transfer Galaxy, Spotify, Stockholm Business School of Economics and Kitab Sawti – only to name a few. On the last day of the conference, we were invited to attend the Investors Dinner, arranged by the Embassy, to which over 300 people from different companies were invited; both Swedish, Egyptian and International. A perfect night to network and share knowledge!
The best part was definitely all the interesting people we met – especially the participants of She Entrepreneurs who were invited to join the Swedish Delegation. The Swedish Institute has a leadership program for female start-up founders within the MENA region, through which they get hands-on leadership training based on real business experience and collaborative learning. To call this group of women inspiring would be an understatement – the stories, knowledge and ideas they shared were exactly what was needed to make this trip extra special. So who did we meet? Here’s some of them.
Shurouq Qawariq, Founder of Rumman
Rumman is bringing micro-investing to the Middle East through an innovative platform that provides effortless, transparent and affordable investment solutions to everyone – no matter the knowledge level. Their application provides its users the opportunity to effortlessly save and invest anything from spare change to large amounts.
Lama made it really clear that she was tired of how everyone had a preconceived idea of what living in Palestine is like, and she wanted to make sure that people got another perspective. Through her platform, Birhakaya, she and her team present stories and news from Palestine’s youth that convey a positive and a more real picture of life in Palestine. Another amazing engagement is BuildPalestine, which is a social enterprise that aims to mobilize supporters from around the world and connect them with grassroots projects in Palestine.
Nouran Salah, founder of Cairo Cycling Geckos
A woman riding a bike in Cairo is a rather unusual scene, not only because of the heavy traffic and lack of bicycle lanes – but because of the harassments and taboos surrounding female bikers. Cairo Cycling Geckos is the first female empowering cycling initiative in Egypt and the only organization that organizes charity cycling rides. Nouran and her team approaches people in the underprivileged areas of Cairo, to spread awareness and change their perceptions of cycling women, but also to distribute free meals, cooked by refugee women, a very vulnerable group in Egypt.
Now you understand why we said that calling these women inspiring isn’t enough – right?