Written by Mariem ELTagoury
Some of you might have heard of the MSA Entrepreneurship Hub that took place at the beginning of this month. Attendants were certified by the CPD standards office, UK. The Hub was open to those interested in learning about entrepreneurship and lean innovation as well as those who want to showcase their small businesses on the university grounds.
Being an entrepreneur myself, I love the inspiration that comes out of such events as well as the ripe opportunity to make new connections.
The standard ticket was for 1600 EGP, the premium ticket for 2500 EGP, and the VIP ticket for 4500 EGP.
The event consisted of 4 parts:
- The International Entrepreneurship Conference
It included keynote speeches and 2 panel discussions, featuring 3 international speakers from USA and UK.
The conference was my main focus during the event. With a variety of speakers from different work backgrounds, and 2 panel discussions, it was a rich conference. Sadly, I was let down on the connections side, since surprisingly most of the attendants were students rather than entrepreneurs with actual start-up projects.
- The Entrepreneurship Exhibition
The Exhibition was meant to provide a place for startups to present themselves and mingle with prospective investors and incubators.
The idea behind the exhibition was quite interesting. It was intriguing to see an exhibition all about start-ups, but, alas, not many were present this year. Most of the booths I saw were banks and prospect investors.
- The Trade Fair
An exhibition dedicated for startups and small business projects with special dedication to women entrepreneurs.
The fair was, like many university bazaars, fluttering with small businesses selling accessories, clothes, home accessories – you know the works – but one booth that stood out to me was The Doodle Factory. A project that aims to fund and support vulnerable children and their families by selling their art/doodles printed on different-sized bags and notebooks to be able to constantly fund for the medical, educational, and survival needs of the children. I always love a creative project with an aim to better the community.
- The Workshops
Stand-alone workshops covering many aspects of entrepreneurship (including international workshops).
Those were offered for an extra fee.
Since my main focus was the Conference, let’s talk about the speakers; those who stole the limelight, that is:
Dawnna St. Louis
Dawnna works with leaders and sales teams with the aim of ditching incremental improvements to achieve exponential business growth that dominates the market and crushes competition. She’s founder and CEO of E-Suite Network. Moreover, she sold the tech consultancy company, BizIntel, for $250,000 billion after twelve years of growth. The company was originally a master’s class project, but got transformed into a business.
Before starting E-Suite Network and selling BizIntel, she was an in-demand IT expert who worked her way up the ladder in a predominantly male field. She’d started pursuing her career by bartering her way to her first real job after having been homeless and living in her car at the age of 19.
My feedback: Besides her inspirational rags to riches life story [her talk was mainly about her life story] Dawnna’s talk was quite educational. She’s the kind of person who makes you want to grab a pen and paper and start taking notes. Her friendly, and open persona made the whole experience far from boring and quite enjoyable.
The author of Kill Your Salesman, later re-booted as Life After Noodles – a book about employee engagement, and customer account building; and Crack On, a book about entrepreneurship, start-ups and enterprise. His next book explores building the right environment for corporate entrepreneurs.
Now running his 10th company – international management consultancy Spark Global Business – and having built his first international multi-million-dollar company in his twenties, Neil has set-up, grown, and turned around businesses using intrapreneurship as an engine for growth. He has spoken in four continents about entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, and corporate health.
My feedback: Neil’s backstory was by far the most interesting in the conference. It was quite the eye-opener for me; it’s amazing how one experience story could show how developed countries profit largely from developing countries, how there’s so much room in developing countries to make profit, how thinking one step ahead can change the direction of countries, and how individual unethicalness drives good development opportunities from developing countries. Besides that, his talk about the importance of collaborative intelligence and having the right combination of teamwork and spirit can make a difference to start-up, was also educational and enjoyable.
He holds a Post Grad Diploma in Coaching for Organisational Excellence. He is a Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) practitioner, a Young Enterprise volunteer, and a member of European Mentoring and Coaching Council.
A leadership coach with over 20 years’ experience in organizational development, Mike founded Sogno in 2004, garnering major clients such as Jaguar Cars, Newcastle University, Pfizer, York St John University, Nokia, and Ernst and Young. He is actively leading the development of drama-based learning.
My feedback: I might have had higher expectations from Mike due to his portfolio. He is quite the coach, and knows how to engage an audience well. As a trainer myself, I kept jotting down notes about his techniques, but on the educational matter, his talk was titled “Become the hero of your own life”, which basically was an “inspirational talk” not quite the educational one I expected, I kept having the feeling that he was saving up most of the info for his workshops.
He is the Media Manager of the famed CairoRunners, Chairman of the Official Manchester United Supporters’ Club in Egypt, and founder of The 3 Wise Monkeys Productions and The Experience Club. He is also the co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer of KingFut.com – the leading English website and sports digital agency.
Mohamed holds several postgraduate diplomas in sports management and marketing from CIES/FIFA, SBI (Sports Business Institute of Barcelona) and Yonsei University. He’s also an avid travel blogger and a renowned music DJ/producer. He has 12 years of experience in sports media, journalism, marketing and sponsorship. He’s also an expert in social media management, creating communities, customer experience, and fan engagement.
My feedback: first impression was he’s from CairoRunners yet not fit! [biggest facepalm, mixed with reassurance about my unhealthy lifestyle] Otherwise there’s no denying that Mohamed is definitely an inspiring speaker. It is easy to relate to him on many levels, on one hand; on the other, his story of going through not 1 but 4 startups as a young Egyptian is amazing. His talk which was mainly focused on “the role of community in start-ups” was a touching and very reassuring one.
Totally unrelated but noteworthy: The free Redbull mocktails were THE hit!
Did you attend Entrepreneurs Hub? Which aspects of the event did you focus on? What aspects of such an event would be interesting to you? Any thoughts you’d like to share? Which special event are you attending soon? Start the conversation – comment below!