TEDxAUC's Idea Bakers Celebrates Egyptian Entrepreneurship

by Omar Aysha, January 9, 2013

TEDxAUC held its second event “Idea Bakers” at the American University of Cairo (AUC) New Cairo campus, at the end of December.  The event had been delayed a couple of times as it was originally meant to be held at the AUC’s Tahrir campus, but the recent local unrest didn’t stop the organizers from finding another solution.

Twenty Egyptian entrepreneurs from all fields shared their inspiring success stories and gave the audience an insightful look into the inspiration for their ideas and how they worked to “bake” their ideas with the perfect ingredients.

The event revolved around the analogy that entrepreneurs launch ideas the same way bakers bake a pie. Just as a delicious pie needs a skillful baker who can actually make it, grand achievements need persistent skilled execution. “We believe that baking an idea is more crucial than the idea itself; you meet thinkers every day, but clever bakers are very rare,” explained Amr Ashraf, founder of TEDxAUC. 

The meetup was designed to connect successful entrepreneurs with others whose ideas are still in the baking phase,  so they can network cook their ideas with more ingredients, in the shortest time possible. “If your idea is not well-baked, then it doesn't exist. You could have a million ideas, but they are all worthless if you don’t get them done,” added Ashraf.

The event speakers ranged from successful well-established businessmen, young entrepreneurs, AUC professors, and performers who all believe in the power of ideas, and spoke about various aspects of entrepreneurship.

A few that stood out included: 

  • Shady Barakat, co-founder of The Home Page, who talked about having a proactive spirit and being a self-learner instead of getting someone to tell you what to do. He likened being an entrepreneur to joining the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) culture.
     
  • Con O'Donnell, Founder of Sarmady, and the Chairman of Books.com, who spoke about focusing on winning the local market at your startup before considering whether exporting the product makes sense.
     
  • Sherif El Ghamrawy, Founder of Basata Village told us about his personal life experience and how he moved from Cairo to the desert of Sinai to pursue his dream business and lifestyle, as he believed both were inseparable. That business was an eco-village, a place that is friendly to the environment where people can spend fun days away from Cairo's pollution and crowds.  

The other Egyptian entrepreneurs who spoke can be found on TEDxAUC’s website and Facebook fan page.

TEDxAUC is inspired by the belief that the AUC is a diverse community, full of inspiring ideas and success stories shaping the whole Arab region. They believe in the grand history of the AUC and its contribution to the intellectual growth of Egypt’s leaders. Its close connection with the local startup scene also stands out within the region.

As an AUC alumnus myself I can vouch firsthand about its contribution to me personally and to Egypt as a whole.  I also realize that other Egyptian universities have contributed as much, so perhaps someone might like to set up a TEDxEgyUni and spread the best ideas from all the universities at once, and celebrate the good parts of Egypt’s higher education! 

In the meantime I look forward to the next TEDxAUC event, as this one was “baked” just fine.

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Omar Aysha is an AUC graduate, then UK video game developer, turned Euro business IT consultant then serial entrepreneur, turned writer.  He now helps start-ups as a non-executive board member, and has two media projects of his own under development.

 
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