What do you do
when you come up with a great project idea? Of course, you start
looking for partners and team members, probably through social
media networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. You might
email friends who are well connected so they can introduce you to
an investor or partner. This is how most tech-related projects have
But what if most of your friends are not techies and you are not super active on social media networks? Then the only thing that you really have is just the idea and you might face difficulties building the perfect team to launch it. This is the problem that engineer Abdel Hamid Zaidan is trying to tackle by launching his website Entej in Egypt.
Entej is a social and economic network that connects everyone interested in supporting startups, including entrepreneurs, investors, experts and job seekers, with the goals of:
- Building new projects.
- Helping to develop small existing projects.
- Stimulating development and communication between small companies, to foster new entities or initiatives.
Entej does not target technical projects solely, but also
targets different types of projects regardless of how traditional
or innovative they are, for import and export companies to doctors’
clinics and retail shops; it might extend to cooking projects
Since its launch, the website has seen good growth since its launch in May 2011, despite the economic challenges in Egypt. During the rough period over the past year and a half, it's been able to attract 8000 members, who have posted more than 1200 ideas, according to Zaidan. He added that “members have produced more than 10 projects on the ground and that only 51% of members are seeking capital, while 49% of them are primarily looking for advertising and experience.”
Entej’s Membership Policy
It's clear that Entej has tremendous potential; one of its primary advantages is its ease of use. It only takes few minutes to subscribe on Entej, and it doesn’t require any interviews or tests that other project accelerators companies are famous for.
The website’s policy emphasizes being objective and unbiased. Entej also offers an open forum; it does not assess members' commitment to executing projects, nor does it assess the projects themselves or recommend them for investment. Its policy is clear; it simply works to organize members and help them network. That is why subscribers must do some research to find out how serious the members and suggested ideas are.
The website also does not take shares in the companies that arise from its community; its profits originate from ads, commercial and advisory services, and content studies and research.
Targeting Categories that are not Internet-based
Zaidan clarified that Entej is targeting a new category of entrepreneurs who don’t necessarily use social media networks. To appeal to these new users, he has pushed his team to focus on simplifying the interface and facilitating ease of use on the website.
Even though the website still needs some improvement on the design and content, the idea speaks to the urgent needs of entrepreneurs in Egypt as well as in the Arab region for networking and connection, especially since the website is not tech exclusive but rather can empower any idea that aims to stimulate the economy and contribute to social growth during the tough transition in Egypt.