This week, the #InjazYourPassion challenge took over social media, as startup founders and changemakers filmed live videos from moving cars, solar panel-filled rooftops, and buzzing cafés, to share the story of how they turned their dream job into a reality.
The social media sphere was brimming with inspirational stories and wicked bits of advice these past two days, as the masterminds of some of Egypt’s more game-changing startups – from solar energy pioneers Solarize Egypt, to fashion powerhouse Maison Pyramide, to the Middle East’s biggest entrepreneurial summit, RiseUp – took on the challenge of telling their passions, their struggles, and the anecdotes behind the scenes of making their dream job their day job.
Behind the challenge was CairoScene’s latest venture Startup Scene and Injaz Egypt, one of the country’s biggest non-profit organisations, who once more has taken it upon itself to harness the potential of Egypt’s youth through their upcoming Startup Egypt incubation programme.
Sitting on a couch somewhere in Cairo, Bassita’s co-founder Salem Massalha kicked off with a touching quote: “I have always preferred the folly of the passion to the wisdom of indifference,” said the social entrepreneur, as he called on young Egyptians to take chances without fear. “Don’t be afraid of who you are and work hard for who you want to become,” said Massalha, whose innovative startup is partnering with giants such as UNICEF and IOM to raise funds through click-funding. “We are part of a generation that can actually change the world, and we have this responsibility,” he concluded.
Sitting in a café as he chatted with curious waiters, influential photographer and filmmaker Mustafa Sharara broadcasted a long, inspiring account of his entrepreneurial journey, right from his studies in pharmacy through his turning point when entering the Injaz startup competition. “It was a beautiful step I took,” he said, reminding the eager audience on the other side of the screen to start something, without fear of changing careers. “The next big thing is consists of a lot of small things. We have to start small,” he said.
Likewise, from another buzzing café, Polefit Egypt’s founder Manar El Mokadem traced back the inception of her groundbreaking – and stereotype smashing – Pole fitness studio. “If you love what you do, and if you put your heart and soul into it, it´s contagious,” she said as she recalled how friends of friends became clients as practicing her passion become an unexpected business venture.
Against a banana-filled backdrop, global shaper Mohamed El Dib shared his live video at his startup Monkeys and Tuxedoes’ new office - or the tree house, as he calls it. The restless entrepreneur, told his inspiring story working from the backdoor of an Alexandria-based restaurant, with a big vision. “We wanted to start big, because when you start small, you stay small,” he said, in contrast to Mustafa Sharara’s view. But as every story is unique, so is every inspiring tip of advice.
Perhaps the most striking video was Yaseen Abdelghaffar’s, the social entrepreneur who kicked off his live story from a rooftop filled with the solar panels his company, SolarizEgypt, produces. “If your day job becomes your dream job you don’t have to work a day in your life,” said the passionate entrepreneur, as he recalled his path, from oil giant Exxon, to becoming a trailblazer in the renewable energy sector. “Pick a problem that you hate very much, a problem which you have the skills to solve, and your day job and your dream job will automatically be the same,” he told his viewers.
Sitting on a car, fitness guru Norshek Fawzy, added a reality check to the entrepreneurial dream. “It’s relatively easy to market a new brand, but it’s very, very hard to maintain one,” she said. “The actual hard part is to continue and think of it as your passion.”
Fashion entrepreneurs shared their stories too, including Maison Pyramide’s Maria Sanchez, convinced that “if you really believe in the purpose of your work, it will happen,” and Fustany’s Amira Azzouz, who brought along her whole team.
Videos continued to fill social media land throught 48 hours, including the Injaz team, Inspiring Egyptians’s Omar El Aawar, iSpark’s Mostafa Hashisha and CampUs Amr El Selouky, Dune Raiders’s Mohamed Fadly and Rehab Eldalil, photographer and founder of the Catherine Exists project, and MO4Network’s own Amy Mowafi.
Closing the challenge, and putting a cherry on top was RiseUp’s co-founder Abdelhameed Sharara. broadcasting live as he walked the streets of Zamalek alongside Careem’s Commercial Relations director Mohamed Aboulnaga Nagaty “Whatever your are passionate about, start now. It doesn´t have to be a startup; whether it’s music, cooking, or sports, start now,” he said.
Injaz’s Startup Egypt Programme has opened applications until January 29th. To apply, visit their website.)