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By Amira Sayed

Recent local and international reports have revealed the remarkable fact that young people's preference for public sector jobs after graduation has drastically changed and large numbers of them are launching startups.

For years, Egypt's government has been trying to encourage young people to start their own projects in the hope of putting the brakes on unemployment rates that have reached alarming levels.

The government’s efforts have included the launching of many investment programmes with the aim of boosting entrepreneurship in the country and eliminating the obstacles that hamper small projects.

According to a recent report issued by the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS), the unemployment rate declined to 10 per cent in the first quarter of 2018, as more people are opting for entrepreneurship and freelance work rather than public sector, full-time employment.

More importantly, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) pointed out that 73 per cent of Egyptians have begun to believe that entrepreneurial ventures are the ideal career choice. This percentage is expected to increase soon.

"The world has changed. There are many economic and social changes, this makes entrepreneurship more appealing to ambitious young people. We have to bear in mind that entrepreneurship is now the mainstay of the economic growth of any country," economic expert, Mohamed Osman, told The Egyptian Gazette.

Osman, who is a professor at Al-Azhar University, said that this percentage would increase once the young people acquire more confidence, as many of them do not like to take the risk by running their own business.

"This is the role of banks. Offering flexible and convenient banking systems, especially loans, can help create a more adequate entrepreneurial atmosphere in Egypt. Numerous banks in Egypt have already launched funding programmes,” Osman said.

In September 2017, the Ministry of Investment and International Co-operation launched an initiative called "Fekretak Sherketak”, Arabic for Your Idea, Your Company. The nationwide initiative is part of the ministry's strategy to support young entrepreneurs, offering them a helping hand to launch their startups.

"Fekretak Sherketak" buses and their staff are touring governorates nationwide to receive young people's company pitches, and to help them turn their ideas into profitable business. The staff also respond to any inquiries.

Through this initiative, entrepreneurs can receive funds of up to LE500,000 as long as the idea is innovative and deals with a high growth product. The initiative provides young people with the required financial and technical support, legal services and anything else they might need.

Speaking to the Gazette, Ahmed Fuad, an entrepreneur, said that it was not easy for him to ride the entrepreneurship train. "Fear of loss was like a nightmare for me. But, finally, I decided to take the risk and open my co-working space centre, hosting and organising many sessions in diverse fields."

Fuad said that the government should also offer intensive business training courses to hone young people's financial skills.

"I graduated from the Faculty of Arts and I knew nothing about funding and financial issues. Many entrepreneurs, like me, do not have a commercial background. We took many courses on our own. I hope this issue will soon be given priority," he added.

CAIRO, May 13, 2018 (MENA) - Egypt's Minister of Manpower Mohamed Safan met Sunday with Student Union of Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport members and a group of entrepreneurs of the academy, in the presence of teaching staff.

This came on the sidelines of the signing of two protocols to spread safety and health culture, as well as free work and entrepreneurship culture, by the minister and President of the academy Ismail Abdel Ghaffar.

Safan discussed with the students the lack of availability of technical workers to meet the needs of the internal and external labor market, in addition to training cadres, stressing the importance of developing training courses for students across Egypt.

He pointed out that the ministry is seeking establish a training model for workers in Egypt.

The minister noted that the ministry signed protocols of cooperation with international companies to train those interested in the field of petroleum services, where graduates have become qualified to enter labor market.