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Trend Hunter: Co-working hubs spread innovation in Egypt

By Amira Salah-Ahmed in Cairo
Posted on Friday, 13 June 2014 14:43

“It’s the serendipity of like-minded people working together,” says Muhammad Radwan, co-founder of icecairo, an innovation hub and co-working space in the Egyptian capital.

It’s the serendipity of like-minded people working together

The ‘ice’ in icecairo stands for innovation, collaboration and entrepreneurship.

Radwan’s words paint a romantic description of co-working spaces, an emerging trend in Egypt and the whole of Africa.

But in many ways, they also reflect the most resounding sentiment from the engaged young people using these spaces.

The possibility of finding a working partner is what attracts many to the space.

Ideas are exchanged, knowledge is shared, solid networks are formed and, in parallel, events such as workshops and social gatherings are organised.

There are approximately a dozen co-working spaces that have cropped up around Egypt over the past two years, most of which are in Cairo.

They hold monthly meetings and are creating a passport system so members of one can work in another.

One of the very first to open was The District, founded by Mazen Helmy, who was tired of the static office life and saw a need in the budding start-up ecosystem.

The District is made up of “positive thinkers, doers, collaborators and innovators,” he says.

Those who use the space, from companies to freelancers, agree that it is more efficient to share space, risks and resources.

“We are promoting a lifestyle,” Helmy adds.

A large calendar that hangs on a colourful wall lists workshops and comedy nights, dinners and networking events, balancing fun with educational. ●

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