Designed to enable young Egyptians between the ages of 18-35 to start up and develop their own businesses, with the support of Shell Egypt and the British Council Egypt, Shell Intilaaqah delivered enterprise training to 1,200 budding young entrepreneurs during the past year, and 250 of those who graduated from the programme applied for this year's awards.

Each of the 14 young entrepreneurs, who were selected by a judging panel of small business experts on the basis of their entrepreneurial acumen and the viability of their business, won funding in one of six enterprise award categories, namely: Best Existing Business; Best Business Idea; Best Business Plan; Best Female Entrepreneur; Best Health & Safety Standards; and, an award for Best Business Idea for an entrepreneur living with a disability.

The top prize of LE 25k (US $2,8The award for Best Female Entrepreneur went to Amal Mohamed Al Shaarawy, whose business, Wedding Handicrafts, is based in Alexandria.00) in the Best Existing Business category went to Islam Ibrahim Abdel-Ghaffar Mohamed from Alexandria, whose company, Electron Jet, installs power-saving portable advertising screens and billboards. Currently employing four staff, the company has developed a reputation for supplying high quality products.

On receiving his award, Islam said, "Intilaaqah – the Arabic word meaning 'to launch' - is appropriately named, as it's truly launched my project and transformed it from just a small business to a very successful small business.

"I would like to sincerely thank Shell and the British Council for providing such a great programme with such a positive impact on assisting young people to start their own businesses.”

The winner of the Best Business Idea was Moustafa Farrag Mohamed Abdel Rahim, from Qena, who received LE 5k (US $560) for his organic fertiliser business, Bermoda.

Funding of LE 5k was awarded to Samah Mahmoud Mohamed Gaber as winner of the Best Business Plan for her business, Bedaya Nursery.

The award for Best Female Entrepreneur went to Amal Mohamed Al Shaarawy, whose business, Wedding Handicrafts, is based in Alexandria.
Rafaat Yehia El Sayed, from Alexandria received LE 3k (US $330) as winner of the Best Health & Safety standards in the workplace.

The Best Business Idea awarded to someone living with a disability, and funding of LE 5k, went to Asmaa Mohamed Ahmed Ali for his Bamboo Products business.

Aidan Murphy, Shell Egypt VP, Country Chairman & Managing Director, said, "Shell's commitment to Egypt extends beyond our mission to meet the country's energy needs. Through initiatives like the Shell Intilaaqah Egypt programme, we are able to empower young Egyptians with the right skills they need to start their own business.

"The unmitigated success and sustainability of the programme – for 11 years in a row – would have not been possible without the belief and commitment of our valuable partners, namely the British Council, the Social Fund for Development (SFD), in addition to Misr El-Kheir Foundation -- the right partnerships that contribute to national economic development.”

Shell Intilaaqah offers a unique approach in the support of young entrepreneurs in Egypt. In addition to supporting the development of young Egyptian entrepreneurs through enterprise training and technical assistance, Shell Intilaaqah also encourages the integration of local content into the supply chain of large corporations, leading to business growth and the creation of new job opportunities.

Highlighting the impact that Shell Intilaaqah is having on youth entrepreneurship in Egypt, Lamiaa Ashour, Social Investment Manager for Shell Egypt, and Programme Manager of Shell Intilaaqah said, "To date, the programme has successfully trained around 7,700 young entrepreneurs, including 280 with special needs since the programme's inception in 2004. I am proud to say that the programme has contributed to the development and creation of 750 small businesses, across 15 Egyptian governorates and cities, with Luxor being the latest addition to our geographic reach.”

British Deputy Ambassador Helen Winterton said, "The Intilaaqah project is exciting because it offers an alternative to old economic models. With Intilaaqah, Shell and the British Council are helping young Egyptians to stand on their own two feet and thrive.

The project shows that governments can deliver better for their citizens when they partner with business and civil society to encourage aspiration, not reliance on a handout. I hope that the government will encourage more businesses and civil society organisations to follow this model, and together build a brighter and more prosperous future for Egypt and its young people.”