Within metres from Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the centre of the 2011 political revolution, a digital transformation is occurring in the development of Egypt’s first tech park, the GrEEK Campus. Founder, Ahmed El-Alfi took a gamble when opening the GrEEK campus in 2013 given the dramatic decrease in tourism, caused by military intervention and a government crackdown on civil liberties. It comes just months after Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood president was overthrown by the military and hundreds of civilians were killed during consequential mass demonstrations. When questioned on the timing of his venture, he explained that it, “gave me a few thoughts, but then I came to the conclusion that there’s enough demand, and if you build it, people will come”.
There are now over one-hundred tech start-up companies on site, ranging from a large spectrum of one-man ventures to international enterprises. Mr El-Alfi anticipates that by November 2016, the campus will be fully occupied, hosting over 3,000 employees, working for big names such as Vodafone and Uber. Nevertheless, Egypt’s business climate remains tough, having been rated 131 out of 189 countries in the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ list by the World Bank. Limited local funding and an overriding socialist mentality amongst citizens has contributed to this climate and is proving difficult for Egypt’s commercial world. However, with the GrEEK Campus, alongside the government’s newly launched programmes, including the Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre, a positive change awaits Egypt in the form of tech start-ups.