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  • Writer's pictureHani W. Naguib

Mentor Journey: The "Athar" Effect

Venture about 400 kilometers south of Cairo, and you'll discover something truly transformative brewing in Menya. There, a tenacious group of young visionaries has emerged, driven by an unyielding commitment to kindle the entrepreneurial fire among Upper Egypt's youth. Their approach is refreshingly pragmatic, rooted in unwavering integrity and a resolute sense of purpose.


In my extensive engagements with accelerators across Egypt, one standout takes the spotlight: Athar Accelerator. Their devotion to tailoring programs that put entrepreneurs at the core is striking. What sets Athar apart is their relentless pursuit of evidence-based entrepreneurship. They prioritize nurturing the entrepreneurial mindset before diving into tools and frameworks. Remarkably, their hunger for knowledge has swiftly cultivated exceptional expertise.


In under two years, I've witnessed an extraordinary metamorphosis. The caliber of startups and the unwavering grit of their founders have surged remarkably, a phenomenon unseen elsewhere in the country.


This region is poised to emerge as a breeding ground for hardware and science-based deep-tech startups. Thriving sectors like agritech, bioengineering, and eco-friendly products hold boundless promise. Despite scarce resources, the entrepreneurs in Upper Egypt are relentlessly tackling genuine challenges, presenting some very interesting solutions.


In Athar Accelerator, the entrepreneurs are empowered – a rare gem amidst our ecosystem. You can see it in the genuine way they speak about thier vision, the program and the people around them in the program. In stark contrast, local accelerators have fostered transactional relationships, merely orchestrating superficial exchanges between programs and startups, catering to donor expectations through social media facades.


The influence of the Athar Effect is poised to burgeon even further in 2024. Yet, its brilliance could be magnified manifold if the world recognizes their endeavors and extends support.





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