In an exclusive interview with “EntArabi” at the Forbes Middle East Under 30 Summit in Gouna, we spoke with Kareem Hassan, the Executive Director of the ESCWA Technology Center, a United Nations organization, to discuss the center’s efforts in supporting entrepreneurs in the Arab world.
ESCWA’s Support for Small and Medium Enterprises During COVID-19
At the beginning of the interview, Kareem Hassan expressed his delight at attending Forbes and praised the ideas and enthusiasm derived from the youth, who constitute the cornerstone of entrepreneurship in the Arab community.
Hassan discussed the journey of the ESCWA Technology Center over the past four years, where they began focusing on supporting the most affected category by the COVID-19 crisis – small and medium-sized projects, representing about 90% of the Arab society. The center directed its efforts towards digitizing these projects and supporting them through a regional program aimed at building electronic platforms to facilitate their buying and selling processes.
Tangible Successes for the ESCWA Center
Hassan reported that the ESCWA Center has assisted 200 Arab companies in the past two years, including 40 Egyptian companies, with a total project funding of $400,000. Thanks to the support program for companies in the green economy, the center is preparing to train 2,000 Arab companies to stimulate innovation in green technology.
Depar Platform by ESCWA
Hassan talked about the Depar platform, launched to empower entrepreneurs in the Arab world. This platform provides opportunities for fundraising, training programs, and guidance for entrepreneurs. Moreover, over 600 funding opportunities have been introduced through interactive maps containing 110 maps covering more than 10,000 possible and facilitative elements for the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
ESCWA’s Alliance with Forbes
Hassan emphasized the partnership between the ESCWA Center and Forbes in the field of entrepreneurship, collaborating on issues related to the environment, women’s support, and social initiatives. He praised Forbes’ initiative to support young entrepreneurs under 30, considering highlighting these young individuals crucial for building the future of entrepreneurship in the region.
Investment in Entrepreneurship
In conclusion, Hassan called for increased investment in entrepreneurship, especially in Egypt, which he considers one of the leading countries in this field. He stressed the importance of supporting entrepreneurs to provide job opportunities and enhance technology and innovation in the region.
In this exclusive interview, the spotlight was placed on the efforts of the ESCWA Technology Center in supporting entrepreneurs and promoting economic development in the Arab region.