“Where do I start? I have a business idea but have no clue what to do next.”
If you’ve ever said this sentence, then you’re the audience for the new boardgame Startup County, expected to be released this month in Egypt by Invest Ventures Boutique (which also publishes Ideaneurs, a magazine about entrepreneurship).
Players will learn how to pitch, manage assets and capital, distribute stocks, and find funding with no actual risk, which may take away some of the fear that people often have as they take their first steps into the entrepreneurship world.
Ahmed Issa, founder and CEO, is himself a self-described gaming addict. He got his inspiration from two games: Monopoly, which is based on accumulating wealth in the form of money, land, and real estate, and Risk, a strategy battleship game. It took him three weeks to develop the game’s concept and one month to design it. But like the games from which it takes inspiration, the game is very strategic, aimed at people aged 15 and above. Before release, it was subjected to testing by entrepreneurs so as to ensure that people would actually benefit from it, regardless of their educational levels.
There are six entrepreneur types that players can choose from: techie, angel, social, serial, artist, or cooperative; each character has their own special challenges or obstacles. A techie entrepreneur, for instance, cannot buy fashion companies.
The game also features 24 companies in various sectors including fashion, technology, furniture, education, food and beverage, and social enterprise, as well as four investment companies from Asia, Africa, the Gulf, and Europe always on the lookout for opportunities to invest in new projects.
In the game, entrepreneurs can stand in specific places to deliver one-minute pitches to various players, consult with the rest of the community, and apply for funding.
The game in available in English and comes with a manual in both English and Arabic.
Developers have also sought to bring game play offline. People who purchase the game get a card that allows them to participate in a monthly tournament including players throughout Egypt. The competition will connect entrepreneurs who have already established their businesses to novice entrepreneurs who need mentorship and coaching to network and develop their work. They hope to bring entrepreneurs together every month, including novices and veterans, to play and discuss the game and how to win it.
The monthly tournament will be held in co-working spaces through strategic partnerships where the games will be offered for sale too, says Issa. He also hopes to be able to attract telecom and technology companies to sponsor the competition, especially in the provinces, and to publicly announce three winners each time to receive awards after pitching their projects and benefitting from mentorship and coaching. The competition is already receiving media coverage from the company’s Ideaneurs, a bi-monthly magazine targeting entrepreneurs.
With a ‘Made in Egypt’ tagline, the company has big plans to exporting the game to other countries including Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, KSA, Nigeria, USA, UK, Canada, Austria.
Register now to be one of the first to try out the game here.