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Rise Up Summit 2014: 7 Inspiring Pieces of Advice for Arab Entrepreneurs

If there is one thing that came clear at Egypt’s Rise Up Summit held today in Cairo, is that entrepreneurs are now “hungrier and more ambitious” than their counterparts were 10 years ago.

The event, in its second edition, has brought some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs and investors to Egypt to share their experiences and meet the emerging talents that are reshaping the Middle East. In a panel on Angel Investment, five specialists shared their advice for Arab entrepreneurs seeking investments.  

1) “Entrepreneur’s biggest mistake is focusing too much on evaluation and fundraising,” says angel investor and Endeavour board member Noor Sweid. “If an entrepreneur spends 100% of his time fundraising, who is running the business? Spending 30 or 40% of your time should be enough,” she adds.

2) Invest in a network. “Build a network that you can benefit from”, says Habib Hadad, founding CEO of Wamda. “If you have a good network, there is always somebody who will be able to help you in each and every field because they understand the issue very well”.

3) “Know your numbers. Entrepreneurs need to have a strong grasp of their customers and markets, says Cairo Angels founder Hossam Allam.

4) The team is crucial. “I don’t put much science into my decisions,” says angel investor Con O’Donnel. “I look at the team; if it is great, they’re going to find a good idea.”

5) “Don’t run after money,” the panel agreed. “You lose your goal when you run after money, build a team and come up with a good idea and you’re half the way there”.

6) Cut corners and be very creative, because there are people willing to invest. “We often see that teams fail, but the same team probably forms another company that’s even better,” O’ Donnel remarked.

7) “Stick with your gut, don’t change your pitch just to please angel investors,” added Sweid. It seems that following intuition is the best recipe for success.

The conference, which includes over 40 workshops, 16 panel discussions, four keynote speeches and several pitching events, will continue tomorrow.

For more information: Visit the Rise Up Summit website and follow the conference on twitter through #RiseUp14

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Valentina Primo

Journalist, globetrotter, and determined idealist. Since Valentina left her home country of Argentina, she has searched for ways to build bridges between cultures and foster dialogue. Her previous work in international organizations in Italy and Germany fed her passion for the world of development, while her 8-year journalistic experience in Argentina and Egypt increased her curiosity for everything that challenges the stereotype. She holds a BA in Journalism and a Masters in Peace Studies with a specialization in Human Rights.

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