Flat6Labs, the leading startup accelerator program in the Middle East and North Africa region, announced on Tuesday the first closing of its EGP 100m Cairo fund, Flat6Labs Accelerator Company (FAC), to support 100 Egyptian startups. Flat6Labs saw this possibility come to light following an investment worth EGP 10m from the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation (MIIC).
FAC’s first closing coincides with the newly committed investments from Egypt Ventures—a company under MIIC that is managed by NI Capital—and the Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund (EAEF).
“Today’s announcement marks a significant step forward for Egyptian entrepreneurs and startups and we’re thrilled to be spearheading it with our flagship accelerator program in Cairo,” said Mr. Ahmed El Alfi, Founder of Flat6Labs. “The new investment from the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation and EAEF reflects their strong commitment to support local Egyptian talent and improve capital availability for Egyptian startups.
Flat6Labs Cairo’s ninth accelerator cycle is scheduled to start later this summer by accepting a new batch of promising Egyptian startups. The cycle has witnessed an unprecedented number of applicants, with over 500 companies competing for a space in the accelerator cycle in order to receive seed funding from the newly launched fund.
Egypt’s Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr emphasized how the purpose of the agreement was to promote the private sector’s investments in Egypt through encouraging innovation and supporting entrepreneurs so as to achieve economic growth and increase capital. She noted that the ministry aims to help small investors and startups, in light of its keenness to maintain a level playing field for all investors and provide them with technical and financial support.
Nasr indicated that the Investment Law provided for supporting youth projects, while referring to the ministry’s interest in supporting youth who account for 50% of Egypt’s population. MIIC also gave priority to supporting startups in light of a legislative framework that facilitates procedures for small investors.
In addition, the minister revealed that the agreement came in collaboration with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) that provides funds worth $2 million to Flat6Labs and the EAEF.
FAC will allow Flat6Labs Cairo to directly support over 100 Egyptian early stage startups over the upcoming five years by providing seed funding of up to EGP 1m per startup, training, mentorship and a suite of services allowing Egyptian startups to reach their customer base and scale their operations locally and regionally. Flat6Labs Cairo would create a steady pipeline of investor-ready startups bolstering the startup scene, as well as creating more than 1,000 high impact jobs in the Egyptian market.
Nasr also pointed out that a window would be dedicated for entrepreneurship in the Investors Service Center, noting that funding was not enough for supporting small investors, thus further training would be provided in collaboration with the UN to develop their skills. She emphasized that after joining the United Nations Social Impact Fund’s (UNSIF) Advisory Board, she would initiate the development of small investors’ skills.