Wednesday, 5 January 2022

PM — Women-led startups are getting a lot less funding



Mabrouk, ladies and gents. You made it through the first (albeit abridged) workweek of the year. Merry Christmas to everyone who will be celebrating this Friday — and we hope all our readers enjoy the long weekend.


#1- First look at next fiscal year’s budget: The Finance Ministry is penciling in 5.7% growth for its FY2022-2023 state budget, Minister Mohamed Maait said in a statement this morning. The ministry is looking to achieve a 2% primary surplus, along with narrowing the budget deficit to 6.1% from the 6.7% targeted in the current fiscal year.

#2- The House of Representatives had an eventful plenary session ahead of the long weekend, signing off on a number of important pieces of legislation. These bills include the Fintech Act, which is set to govern fintech use by non-banking financial services providers, as well as put the Financial Regulatory Authority in charge of overseeing the fintech space; a law channeling a portion of the surpluses from ministerial “private funds” to state coffers; and the Unified Planning Act, which got its final nod after receiving preliminary approval yesterday.

^^ We’ll have more on these stories in Sunday’s edition of EnterpriseAM.

Egypt’s foreign reserves rose to USD 40.93 bn in December from USD 40.91 bn in November, according to official figures released today.

Egypt swept the 2021 Global Startup Awards for North Africa: A number of names from the Egyptian startup scene were given a nod from the Copenhagen-based competition that covers 124 countries worldwide. Among the laureates in the North Africa category:

  • AUC’s Venture Lab (best accelerator/incubator program);
  • Textile manufacturing software solution provider Garment IO (best startup of the year);
  • Food charity app Tekeya (women in tech).


** CATCH UP QUICK on the top stories from today’s EnterpriseAM:

  • PMI outlook improves, but remains in contraction territory: Egypt’s non-oil business activity “inched closer to stabilisation” in December, contracting at its slowest pace in four months, according to IHS Markit’s purchasing managers’ index survey.
  • GB Lease returns to securitization market with EGP 4.3 bn sale: GB Lease has completed the sale of EGP 4.3 bn of securitized bonds to investors in two separate issuances with tranches rated A through AA+.
  • ​​Solar energy players are lobbying to scrap a newly-imposed 5% import tariff on solar panels, warning that the new levy will hurt the industry.


The IMF’s World Economic Outlook is going to be published a week later than planned to factor in covid-19 developments, with the publishing date now set for 25 January, reports Reuters. Considering the developments include the fast spread of the omicron variant, the postponement is unlikely to bring with it a more positive outlook. In October, the IMF had forecast global economic growth of 5.9% in 2021 and 4.9% this year, but the spread of the omicron variant has put a dent in expected growth, especially amid returning travel restrictions and the threat of further measures and lockdowns.


Interest rates: The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) will hold its first policy meeting of 2022 on Thursday, 3 February.

The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations gets underway in Cameroon next Sunday, 9 January. The championship will run until Sunday, 6 February.

The World Youth Forum kicks off in Sharm El Sheikh next Monday, 10 January and runs until Thursday, 13 January.

Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.

☁️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- Cloudy with a side of rain: It looks like it will be a cloudy day tomorrow with a daytime high of 19°C and a nighttime low of 10°C, according to our favorite weather app. There’s a 30% chance that it will rain tomorrow.


Want to eat healthier this year but can’t kick your fried chicken habit? Head over to a KFC joint in the US, where the fast-food chain is introducing plant-based fried chicken from Beyond Meat to its menu, KFC USA President Kevin Hochman told CNBC. The new menu offering is designed to accommodate customers who increasingly want to adopt a “flexitarian diet,” as they turn to plant-based protein to cut down on meat consumption for health and environmental reasons.

And while we’re on the topic of meat by another name, lab-grown meat is raising questions on its religious viability: Lab-grown cultured meat, which is grown in bioreactors from animal cells, has food tech entrepreneurs seeking out religious opinions on whether or not their meat, which is “structurally identical to meat,” is halal or kosher, reports Bloomberg. San Francisco-based startup Eat Just, which makes cultured meat, announced plans to build a factory in Qatar last year and is now hoping to secure religious approval before they build out their facility. In September, Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization issued a fatwa that banned the consumption of lab-grown meat on the grounds that the cells were taken from live animals rather than slaughtered ones — a ruling that was echoed by religious authorities in Pakistan. Jewish authorities, on the other hand, have yet to agree on whether lab-grown meat is kosher, or whether it should even be called meat at all, with one Israel-based food tech company looking to feed cells in its bioreactors with non-animal alternatives in order to ensure its approval by religious authorities.

From the Walkman to EVs: Japan’s Sony Group is planning to launch a company mid-year, Sony Mobility, that will specialize in developing entertainment platforms and sensors for electric vehicles, Chairman and President Kenichiro Yoshida said, according to Reuters. Sony already has one foot in the EV door, creating an arsenal of sensors critical to autonomous driving that it’s testing through its VISION-S 01 coupe in Europe. Yoshida unveiled a prototype SUV, the VISION-S 02, which also utilizes Sony’s EV platform and will allow passengers to use individual entertainment options and 5G internet connection.


Bimbo is a new Egyptian must-watch + explore Cairo’s cinematic history with Cosmos Cinema Tour + football galore this weekend


(all times CLT)

Shahid Original series Bimbo combines the best of comedy and thriller: The new show also combines a great cast of Ahmed Malek, Huda El Mufti, and Wegz — who debuted his surprising talent for acting. The story follows Malek’s character Bimbo who works as a trafficker of illicit substances in Egypt. When Bimbo is robbed, he promises to pay back his debt in a month and sets off to distribute across Cairo as quickly as he can. He soon recruits Gaber — a slightly lost Upper Egyptian man played by Wegz — to help him in his venture. However, Bimbo must have crossed a black cat at one point, because luck is never on his side and the misfortunes he faces create a comedic plot line throughout the show. The pair soon get roped into a detective role as well after befriending a popular influencer (played by Huda El Mufti) who is being threatened by ‘safa7 el influencers.’ The show is full of real-life local influencers who make guest appearances throughout the episodes as the ‘safa7’ blackmails them and they seek the help of Bimbo and Gaber.

Tottenham will clash with Chelsea in the first leg of the semi-finals of the League Cup today at 9:45pm. The Spurs reached the match after defeating West Ham in the quarter-finals, while Chelsea eliminated Brentford.

The second match of the final should be determined by Arsenal’s match with Liverpool tomorrow at 9:45pm, but the match could be postponed following a covid-19 outbreak among the Liverpool team.

The round of 32 of the Copa del Rey Cup will kick off in Spain today. We recommend watching: Linares Deportivo vs. Barcelona (8:30pm today), Alquiano vs. Real Madrid (10:30pm today), and Rayo Majadahonda vs. Atlético Madrid (10:30pm tomorrow).

Serie A: A new round of the Italian League will begin on Thursday. The most prominent matches: Bologna vs. Inter Milan (1:30 pm), Milan vs Roma (7:30pm), and Juventus vs Napoli (9:45pm). You can watch the matches on YouTube without charge.

What to watch on Friday: The FA Cup kicks off on Friday with a match between Manchester City and Swindon Town in the third round of the tournament at 10pm. Shortly before that, the match between Bayern Munich and Borussia Moenchengladbach in the German League will start at 9:30pm.

La Liga returns on Saturday for gameweek 21, which will witness the anticipated match between Real Madrid and Barcelona (time still TBD). Al-Merengue, the leaders of the league, will meet with Valencia in an important match at 10pm on Saturday evening, and before that, the Blaugrana will face Granada at 7:30pm.

There are 21 matches on Saturday in the third round of the FA Cup. The most exciting, in our opinion: Leicester City vs. Watford (5pm), West Bromwich vs. Brighton (5pm), Chelsea vs. Chesterfield (7:30pm).

Buckle up for Afcon kicking off next week as Salah and Trezeguet are back in town to train with the national team: International pros Mohamed Salah and Mahmoud Trezeguet will be playing with the Egyptian national team at the African Nations Championship in Cameroon, which gets underway next Sunday, according to Filgoal. Egypt will kick off its matches in the tournament with a strong confrontation against Nigeria at 6pm on Tuesday, 11 January, before meeting Guinea-Bissau on Saturday, 15 January and Sudan on Wednesday, 19 January. The Liverpool star said on Twitter today that the path to walking away with the championship title is not easy, and called on the Egyptian public to support the team.

TRANSFER MARKET LATEST- And while Mo Salah is busy at Afcon, Liverpool might sign Arnaut Danjuma in a huge EUR 36 mn transaction, bringing him on as an alternative for Sadio Mane and Salah, reports Fan Nation. Three Premier League clubs, Chelsea, West Ham, and Newcastle, are reportedly interested in signing current Everton defender Lucas Digne, according to Sky Sports. Man United’s 26-year-old Anthony Martial seems like he might also get a pick of clubs to join, with Barcelona the latest to show interest in the striker, according to The Mirror. Milan and Newcastle are both reportedly racing to get Lille defender Sven Botman — who has a market value of EUR 30 mn — on their teams, reports Chronicle. Meanwhile, Brighton signed Poland midfielder Kacper Kozlowski for EUR 8 mn, reports The Guardian.


(all times CLT)

The Cosmos Cinema Tour promises a tour through Cairo from the cinematic side, visiting shooting locations, cinemas, film studios, as well as foodie destinations. The tour will take place on Saturday from 11am to 5pm.

Latin Love Dance School is organizing an SBK practice night at their studio in New Cairo on Saturday at 8pm.

Cairo Jazz Club is acting as a host to Shereen Abdo's Sultana project on Saturday at 9pm. The Sultana project aims to present Egyptian shaabi songs in a traditional way.


True events come to life in this retelling of a cave rescue: Aquanaut: The Inside Story of the Thai Cave Rescue, penned by leader of the daring underwater rescue mission Rick Stanton and author Karen Dealy, details the 2018 story of a 12-member boys’ soccer team and their coach disappearing into the Tham Luang Cave in Thailand. It was up to retired British firefighter Stanton — who just happened to have some diving gear — to save the day. The story retells the race against time as Stanton and his partner John Volanthen embarked on this rescue mission and all the possible routes they could have taken. Rescue organizers, which soon swelled to a group of 10k people, had contemplated, among other possible scenarios, leaving the team in the underwater cave for months until the flood waters subsided at the end of the monsoon season. In the end, the rescuers sedated the boys and carried them out as fast as possible. Several people died during the hazardous mission, but the team and the coach were finally brought out to safety.


Market roundup on 5 January

The EGX30 rose 0.5% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 1.17 bn (7.3% below the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is up 0.8% YTD.

In the green: Madinet Nasr Housing (+4.1%), Credit Agricole Egypt (+3.2%) and Raya Holding (+2.8%).

In the red: Egypt Kuwait Holding-EGP (-2.3%), AMOC (-2.3%) and CIRA (-1.9%).


#GirlBosses struggle to raise funds in male-dominated fields: Women founders struggle to raise funds in the traditionally male-dominated world of enterprise software and other technology, Dana Kanze, an assistant professor of organizational behavior at London Business School, tells the Wall Street Journal. Women founders “raise less funding at lower valuations for decreased equity in male- as opposed to female-dominated industries,” according to Kanze’s research.

The trend holds up across geographies: Less than 2% of US tech startups have at least one woman founder, a report by early-stage VC firm Work-Bench found (landing page). In Europe, funding that went to tech teams with all-women founders accounted for just 1% of the total earmarked for startups, with another 5% going to companies with a gender-mixed founding team. And13% of the region’s startups are founded by women, according to a report by European Women in VC.

MENA is certainly no exception to the gender bias: In 1H2021, startups founded by men received 96% of funding agreements in the region, while women-founded startups attracted a mere 0.9%, and mixed teams received the rest, according to a Wamda report. In September, out of the USD 338 mn raised by regional startups, only USD 100k went to a woman-led business, while startups founded by men received a whopping USD 313 mn. The disparity got a tiny bit better in the latest report for November, with startups founded by women receiving USD 14 mn (5.1% of the total USD 284 mn) while male-led startups received USD 215 mn (or 76.5%). Flat6Labs were flagged that month as pouring the most investment in women and mixed founding teams in MENA.

And while it’s bad in tech, the problem has its tentacles in all sectors: Male founders raise higher funding rounds across the board, regardless of industry demographics, Kanze’s research found. A lack of gender parity extends to other male-dominated sectors such as energy, ICT, and infrastructure, with a World Economic Forum survey in 2016 finding that the percentage of female CEOs in these sectors ranged between 0-5%.

A possible culprit: Male and female entrepreneurs get asked different questions by VCs when in pitch meetings, according to research which analyzed video transcriptions of 189 Q&A sessions. Men get asked promotion-oriented questions that focus on their businesses’ potential growth while women are subjected to more prevention-oriented questions. For example, men would get asked, “how do you plan to monetize this?” while women would get asked, “how long will it take you to break even?” In these situations, women founders often walked away with seven times less funding than their male counterparts — on the exact same business fundamentals.

The knock-on effect: When women founders struggle to raise the funding to secure a successful exit, they go on to amass less personal wealth and visibility than their male peers, leading to fewer women angel investors, serial entrepreneurs, and VC execs. The onus is on investors to reverse the trend by tackling their own decision-making biases, Kanze says to the WSJ. That means investors should be paying more attention to data points, and less to their personal impressions of a founder’s competence.

A solution the world is pushing for: More women in VCs: Women investors are twice as likely to invest in companies with women on the management teams, and thrice as likely to invest in female CEOs, according to a report by Diversity VC. Putting women at the top of the food chain will start a virtuous cycle where VCs give women founders a fairer shot and women founders go on to hire more women employees, writes the FT.

But even now, they are rarely at the table: In the UK, women represent just 13% of decision makers at VCs, the Diversity VC report added. Meanwhile, women make up roughly 13% of partners at American VCs and 15% of Canadian venture firms, according to Crunchbase.

And the pandemic made things worse: The pandemic had a worse effect on female-founded startups in terms of funding, with more than 800 female-founded startups globally receiving a total of USD 4.9 bn in venture funding in 2020 — a 27% y-o-y decrease from 2019, according to another article by Crunchbase. The US saw some improvement in 2021, with the median valuation for early-stage, female-founded start-ups increasing from USD 30 mn to USD 45.5 mn in the past year while late-stage start-ups also saw median valuations increase 69.4% y-o-y, according to a PitchBook report.

Do women-centric funds offer a solution? Funds are popping up worldwide that focus on funneling investments into female-led businesses. One such fund, How Women Invest, found that this approach gives more chances to women in several fields while also changing up the kind of products offered. “We have seen that female founders are focusing on the same issues that have been impacted or exacerbated during the pandemic: inequitable systems in work distribution and health care/life sciences,” said co-founder, Erika Cramer.

So far, Egypt does not have any women-centric funds, but there are a number of programs and accelerators that target women exclusively. Itida and the Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (TIEC) launched the ‘She Program’ in Egypt which aims to support early stage women entrepreneurs operating in the ICT sector. In 2021, the agency also hosted the first female entrepreneurs hackathon in collaboration with Intel. The US’ Womena often launches its Womentum Accelerator program in Egypt and in the region and also invites local female entrepreneurs to join their #BossLadies network. The Academy for Women Entrepreneurs also operates in Egypt, offering women with the skills, resources, and networks needed to start and scale successful businesses.


Early 2022: Results to be announced for the second round of the state’s gold and precious metals auction.

1H2022: Target date for IDH to close its acquisition of 50% of Islamabad Diagnostic Center.

1H2022: The World Economic Forum annual meeting, location TBD.

1H2022: e-Finance’s digital healthcare service platform, eHealth, will launch its services.

1H2022: The government will respond to private companies’ bids to build desalination plants.

1Q2022: Launch of the Egyptian Commodities Exchange.

1Q2022: Swvl acquisition of Viapool expected to close.

1Q2022: Waste collection startup Bekia plans to expand to the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

January: Tenth of Ramadan dry port tender to be launched.

1-15 January (Saturday-Saturday): Qualified Industrial Zones (QIZ) Joint Committee.

6 January (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Coptic Christmas.

7 January (Friday): Coptic Christmas.

9 January – 6 February (Sunday-Sunday): 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, Cameroon.

10-13 January (Monday-Thursday): World Youth Forum, Sharm El Sheikh.

Second half of January: Egypt will host the Egyptian-Bahraini Joint Committee.

Second half of January: Regulations for installing EV charging stations will be published.

16 January (Sunday): SODIC shareholders will vote on the company’s new board of directors at an extraordinary general meeting.

17-19 January (Monday-Wednesday): World Future Energy Summit, Abu Dhabi.

20 January (Thursday): Kadmar Shipping’s new line transporting agricultural crops between Alexandria and Russia begins its operations.

23 January (Sunday): Deadline for Macro Pharma to IPO on the EGX.

25 January (Tuesday): The IMF will release its World Economic Outlook.

25 January (Tuesday): 25 January revolution anniversary / Police Day.

27 January (Thursday): National holiday in observance of 25 January revolution anniversary / Police Day.

End of January: The Egyptian-Romanian business forum will take place with the aim of strengthening joint investment relations.

January-February 2022: Construction work on the Abu Qir metro upgrade will begin.

February: Hassan Allam Construction’s new construction firm established with Russia’s Titan-2 to handle construction work on the Dabaa nuclear power plant begins its operations.

February: Ghazl El Mahalla shares will begin trading on the EGX this month.

Mid-February: End of grace period to comply with new minimum wage for firms who sent in exemption requests.

3 February (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

3 February (Thursday): January PMI figures for Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE will be released.

4-20 February (Friday-Sunday): 2022 Winter Olympics, Beijing.

11 February (Friday): Deadline for Anghami SPAC merger.

11-13 February (Friday-Sunday) FIBA Intercontinental Cup, Cairo.

14-16 February (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Petroleum Show, Egypt International Exhibition Center, New Cairo, Egypt.

15 February (Tuesday): The Industrial Development Authority’s deadline for receiving offers from companies for licenses to manufacture steel products.

19 February (Saturday): Public universities begin the second term of the 2021-2022 academic year.

End of February: Lebanon to receive gas from Egypt via a pipeline crossing Jordan and Syria.

March: Rollout of the government financial management information system (GFMIS), a suite of electronic tools to automate the government’s financial management processes (pdf) that will replace the existing “closed” financial management system.

March: 4Q2021 earnings season.

March: Deadline for the World Health Organization’s intergovernmental negotiating body to meet to discuss binding treaty on future pandemic cooperation.

March: World Cup playoffs.

March: Target date for Saudi tech firm Brmaja to IPO on the EGX.

9-18 March (Wednesday-Friday): The 55th edition of the Cairo International Fair.

24 March (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

31 March (Thursday): Deadline for submitting tax returns for individual taxpayers.

31 March (Thursday): Supply Ministry expected to take final decision on bread subsidies by this date.

2 April (Saturday): First day of Ramadan (TBC).

3 April (Sunday): Bidding begins on the Industrial Development Authority’s license to manufacture tobacco products.

4 April (Monday): CDC Group will formally change its name to British International Investment.

22-24 April (Friday-Sunday): World Bank-IMF spring meeting, Washington D.C.

24 April (Sunday): Coptic Easter Sunday (holiday for Coptic Christians).

25 April (Monday): Sham El Nessim.

25 April (Monday): Sinai Liberation Day.

28 April (Thursday): National Holiday in observance of Sham El Nessim.

30 April (Saturday): Deadline for submitting corporate tax returns for companies whose financial year ends 31 December.

Late April – 15 May: 1Q2022 earnings season

May: Investment in Logistics Conference, Cairo, Egypt.

1 May (Sunday): Labor Day.

5 May (Thursday): National Holiday in observance of Labor Day.

2 May (Monday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

19 May (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

15-18 June: St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), St. Petersburg.

16 June (Thursday): End of 2021-2022 academic year for public schools.

23 June (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

27 June-3 July (Monday-Sunday): World University Squash Championships, New Giza.

30 June (Thursday): June 30 Revolution Day, national holiday.

End of 2Q2022: The Financial Regulatory Authority’s new Ins. Act should be approved.

End of 1H2022: Emirati industrial company M Glory Holding and the Military Production Ministry will begin the mass production of dual fuel pickup trucks that can run on natural gas.

2H2022: IEF-IGU Ministerial Gas Forum, Egypt. Date + location TBA.

July: A law governing ins. for seasonal contractors will come into effect.

8 July (Friday): Arafat Day.

9-13 July (Saturday-Wednesday): Eid Al Adha, national holiday.

30 July (Saturday): Islamic New Year.

Late July – 14 August: 2Q2022 earnings season.

18 August (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

September: Egypt will display its first naval exhibition with the title Naval Power.

22 September (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

6 October (Thursday): Armed Forces Day, national holiday.

8 October (Saturday): Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, national holiday.

18-20 October(Tuesday-Thursday): Mediterranean Offshore Conference, Alexandria, Egypt.

Late October – 14 November: 3Q2022 earnings season.

3 November (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

22 December (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

End of 2022: e-Aswaaq’s tourism platform will complete the roll out of its ticketing and online booking portal across Egypt.

**Note to readers: Some national holidays may appear twice above. Since 2020, Egypt has observed most mid-week holidays on Thursdays regardless of the day on which they fall and may also move those days to Sundays. We distinguish above between the actual holiday and its observance.

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