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Our Story

Who We Are

| Our Story

At Nahdet El Mahrousa, we believe in empowering the ideas of young Egyptian professionals to create new, innovative initiatives that lead to real, impactful social change. These ideals, embedded deep in our roots, have their own story to tell.

It Began With a Dream

In 2003, Ehaab Abdou, a young Egyptian, felt the need to do something for Egypt’s development. Ehaab’s experiences in development had shown him that despite civil society’s best efforts, social problems were persistent.

Ehaab began sharing his thoughts with friends on how to improve Egypt.  Through email, these thoughts resonated and soon enough, they created a virtual circulation of ideas addressing Egypt’s social wills.

A “Renaissance”

Ehaab and his friends felt that Egypt needed a renewed push for change—something grassroots, bottom-up, and Egyptian-led, that would allow Egyptians to take control of their future. They formed a team, and co-founded Nahdet El Mahrousa, meaning “Renaissance of Egypt”.

They believed development in Egypt needed a push towards innovation. Believing in the power of ideas to make transformative social change, they felt that invention is as important to social development as it is to the private sphere. By harnessing new ideas, they believed that they could make real change.

And they believed young Egyptians needed to be at the forefront of this movement. Youth, especially young professionals, were often disregarded as too “inexperienced” to be leaders in society. But the founders saw it differently. They saw the youth as the thinkers and drivers for progressive social change.

Supporting Ideas

The team’s aim was to create a platform to support the development of ideas. Their virtual dialogue had shown that alone, an idea was not enough. It needed to be paired with a platform that supported the shaping, testing, piloting and implementing of ideas. The platform, empowering young professionals with knowledge, tools, resources, and connections, would help turn their ideas into stand-alone enterprises, and at the same time, create a new community of Egyptian social entrepreneurs.

This is the basis of our model, which you can read more about here

A Record of Success

Nahdet El Mahrousa is the first incubator of early stage social enterprises in the Middle East and the region. It is also one of the few in the world incubating young social entrepreneurs at the conception or “idea” stage. Since its founding, Nahdet El Mahrousa has incubated over 70 social enterprises in areas such as youth development, education and employment, health services, environment, scientific advancement, arts and culture, and identity. Nahdet El Mahrousa's social entrepreneurs currently reach and impact approximately 50,000 individuals in Egypt annually.

Over the past years, Nahdet El Mahrousa has developed strong capacity, know-how, staff, and an extensive network, to support social enterprises and has achieved prestige as an influential contribution to Egyptian society. Nahdet El Mahrousa's programs have included a wide range of partners, including Sawiris Foundation for Social Development, Misr ElKheir, Yahoo! Maktoob, the MasterCard Foundation, the Ford Foundation, UNICEF, USAID, UNDP and Samsung Electronics.

In 2007, Nahdet El Mahrousa’s co-founder Ehaab Abdou was named an Ashoka Fellow. In 2010 Nahdet El Mahrousa was the sole Egyptian representative of the prestigious 2010 King Baudouin International Development Prize and one of 20 non-governmental organizations (out of 27,000) chosen as a “best practice” in the United Nations Development Program’s 2008 Egypt Human Development Report.