Alfanar, the Arab region's first venture philanthropy organization, celebrated the graduation of the first cohort of the "Social Entrepreneurship for Migration and Development (SEMD)" project. The regional project [SEMD] implemented in Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon, was initiated and funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in January 2021, and applied by Alfanar organization in Egypt, in cooperation with GFA Consulting Group GmbH.

Through its strategy, Alfanar differs from traditional NGOs in the support it provides to ambitious social enterprises to develop sustainable revenue streams, thereby breaking the cycle of donor dependency. Through a combination of tailored financing, management support, bespoke training and impact measurement, Alfanar supported 8 social enterprises in Egypt under the SEMD project with the intellectual and capital investment they need to scale their impact sustainably.

The graduation ceremony was attended by a group of officials from Alfanar Egypt, headed by Shenouda Bissada, Country representative of Alfanar in Egypt, and Asmaa Kamel, Coordinator of the National SEMD program in Egypt, to celebrate the 8 social enterprises graduating from the project. The event also attracted a number of notable members of press and media.

Over the span of 2 years, Alfanar has been working closely with these 8 organizations through a tailored intervention for each, starting with Alfanar’s 12 module training “Alfanar Sustainable Social Enterprise Training” (ASSET). This program provides the enterprises with the technical skills and know-how to strengthen their organizations, scale their impact and enhance their financial sustainability. Alfanar also provided tailored mentorship to support the social enterprises overcome any challenges, as well as connect them with invaluable networks and investment opportunities. Additionally, a tailored three-year business plan was crafted for each member of the SEMD project.

In this context, Shenouda Bissada Country Representative of Alfanar in Egypt, congratulated the graduates of the first batch of the “Social Entrepreneurship for Migration and Development (SEMD)” project, as well as the success partners involved in providing solutions to migration and development issues in Egypt. Bissada stated: " Alfanar is proud to be supporting and empowering migrants and refugees in Egypt to make them realize their full potential. Its aim is to equipping such institutions with the skills and knowledge required for long-term success, strengthened systems, expanded impacts, and enhanced financial sustainability.”

He added: "This launch is an ambitious step towards propelling these startups and project owners toward a successful future in the Egyptian market. Through intensive training programs conducted by experienced experts over ten weeks and tailored mentorship throughout the program, they are equipped with all skills necessary to integrate easily and become growing businesses in their respective industries with a wider impact.”


About the Graduating Enterprises from the SEMD Project

  • Sprints successfully raised $1.2 million in a Seed round. The funding round was led by Alexandria Angels Network, as well as, participating members of MED Angels and other investors such as, AUC Angels, Cubit Ventures, Challenge Fund, EdVentures, Falak Startups, and Cairo Angels. Sprints also provided training opportunities to over 3,000 Egyptian youth within the SEMD project.
  • Emonovo, the Egypt-based edtech company (formerly MARJA3), has raised a new bridge led by angel investors from across the Middle East and North Africa (Mena), Europe and US, along with follow-on investment from Flat6Labs. Within the SEMD project, Emonovo provided training opportunities to 300 refugees/migrants in the MENA region.
  • Threads of Hope provided income-generating opportunities to 200 refugees and Egyptian women in their workshop, strengthened their internal processes, and grew their B2B client base in Egypt.
  • Yadawee provided job opportunities to 70 refugees in their Maadi-based workshop and participated in several international fairs such as the Birmigham Creative Craft Show.
  • Delta Oil expanded their activities to serve Upper Egypt (Sohag and Assiut) and opened a new oil collecting warehouse in Assiut.
  • Startup without Borders held 2 successful summits in Egypt in December 2021 and in January 2023, at which it gathered entrepreneurs, investors, corporates and support networks for discussions, workshops, and various startup competitions.
  • Nakoll provided training to 300 refugees and Egyptian women and provided job opportunities to 150 of them in various Food and Beverage (F&B) chains around Egypt such as MoriCo, Zooba, etc.
  • Duma Toys has set up an online sales platform through their website and have sold over 1,700 toys since 2019.