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Nineteen winners at awards gala

Shell Intilaaqah Egypt has held its eighth annual awards gala in Cairo to showcase the outstanding entrepreneurial talent that the programme has helped to nurture during 2013.

The awards, held in conjunction with the British Council Egypt, enabled 19 young entrepreneurs to share in prize money totalling EGP 92,500 (US $13,160). This year, there were seven business award categories to compete for, including: 'Best Existing Business'; 'Best Business Plan'; 'Best Business Idea'; 'Best Health & Safety Project'; 'Best Business Idea for Disabled'; 'Best Female Entrepreneur'; and, 'Best Environmental Project'.

The main award of EGP 25,000 (US $3,550), and 'Best Existing Business' went to Sherihan Atef Soliman, from Assuit Governorate, for her ready-to-wear women's clothing company, 'Candy Dress Shop'.

Commenting on the support she's received from Shell Intilaaqah Egypt, Sherihan said, "I learned a lot from the Intilaaqah training which will enable me to improve my business and achieve greater profitability.”

The other category winners included: Mastour Abdallah Deif, from Matruh, whose fish farming business received EGP 5,000 (US $700) for 'Best Business Idea'. The 'Best Business Plan' and EGP 5,000 went to Ahmed Abdallah Nassar from Cairo for his GPS tracking business, while Mohamed Tarek Ahmed from Giza won EGP 5,000 in the 'Best Business Idea for Disabled' category for his disabled hotline service. Also, Nadia Mahmoud Ahmed from Alexandria was awarded 'Best Female Entrepreneur' for her women's tailoring business, receiving EGP 5,000.

Jeroen Regtien, Vice President and Country Chairman, Shell Egypt said, "I am pleased to see the can-do attitude among such young, enthusiastic entrepreneurs, who chose to carve their own career path and become self-employed – nurtured by Shell's successful partnership with the British Council. Shell's Intilaaqah Egypt Programme represents an integral part of Shell Egypt's social investment as part of giving back to the community, and has helped create 610 small businesses to date. The programme takes on a new focus of not only providing training and technical assistance to young entrepreneurs, but also encouraging the integration of local content into the supply chain of large corporations; leading to business growth and creation of new job opportunities. I am proud to announce that we registered the Intilaaqah first prize winner of last year as a printing vendor for Shell Egypt."

Commenting on the success of the programme during the year, Ahmed Gabry, Shell Intilaaqah Egypt Programme Manager said, "We trained 645 young entrepreneurs in 2013, reaching a cumulative number of 5,645 trainees, including 215 with special needs, since the programme's inception in 2004. I am glad to say that this year has witnessed some firsts; Intilaaqah training was held for the first time in Masra Matruh Governorate, increasing our geographical spread in Egypt to a total of 12 governorates. In addition, two awards are being introduced for the first time: 'Best Female Entrepreneur', sponsored by the British Council, and 'Best Environmental Project' sponsored by Shell Egypt. We also secured a new partnership with an NGO in Alexandria this year, increasing our footprint there.”

Mark Stephens, Director, British Council Egypt added, "We are very proud of what has been achieved together over the last eight years – with more than 500 projects and more than 5,000 young Egyptians involved in Intilaaqah. In a country which is getting bigger and younger, supporting the development of skills is right at the top of our agenda. Together we want to reach and support young people who are less privileged and who might not get the opportunity to take a great idea and turn it into reality, which is why Intilaqaah now helps women and people with disabilities.”

Egypt awards (April 2014) speakers and winner
Some 80 Intilaaqah graduates applied for the seven award categories, and a judging panel event was held on 20 March at the British Council in Agouza. Members of the judging panel included SME patrons, academics, NGOs, and representatives from the media. 


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