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Empowering young Egyptian women to be entrepreneurs

Canada in Egypt
Gender Equality
April 16, 2018

A three-day workshop empowered and encouraged twenty emerging young female leaders to realize their ability to positively shape the world around them.

Participants learn the practical skills to turn their creative ideas into socially responsible ventures.

Addressing unemployment

Tackling pollution, increasing diversity in the music industry and improving access to healthy food are just some of the social and environmental issues enthusiastically scribbled onto brightly coloured sticky notes at a workshop in Cairo, Egypt.

As 2017, “the Year of Egyptian Women”, was coming to a close, the participants explored the disparities that exist within their society. One of the main challenges they identified was unemployment. World Bank data indicates Egypt’s unemployment rates are mainly driven by population growth; unfortunately, women face the brunt of this challenge. Over 70% of women aged 15 to 24 are looking for meaningful work opportunities, compared to 25% of males.

Making a change

In collaboration with Katharine Cornfield of the Canadian social enterprise ambiSHEousTM, the Embassy of Canada to Egypt designed and facilitated a three-day workshop for teenaged girls. The participants learned everything from how to build and pitch a socially responsible business to basic financial literacy. A hands-on approach helped the young women gain practical skills and real-life knowledge, along with insights on how businesses are run, how money flows, how value is created and how positive change can be achieved.

“I never say this, but it was perfect!” – A young participant

Participants identify the social and environmental issues that matter to them.

Cornfield’s workshop combines entrepreneurship training, citizenship education and leadership development to help young female leaders turn their bright ideas into business opportunities. This was the first time that Cornfield delivered her workshop outside of Canada, and based on the enthusiastic feedback from participants, it has great potential for replication in other countries.

“It was an enlightening and inspiring experience in so many ways—there are girls with goals everywhere. With the right skills, knowledge and support, there is no doubt they are ready to step forward and lead.” – Katharine Cornfield, founder of the Canadian social enterprise ambiSHEousTM.

Young women leaders with Katharine Cornfield, founder of the Canadian social enterprise ambiSHEousTM, during the three-day workshop at the Embassy of Canada to Egypt.

Working together for a better future

Following the workshop, the Embassy of Canada to Egypt hosted a networking reception for local experts and leaders in girls’ education to build connections for the future.

The Embassy will continue to empower and encourage young women leaders to make a positive impact in their community.

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