Starting a Business in Egypt? | Tips from our Entrepreneur expert

egypt business feature

It’s never easy to start a business, especially abroad. However, the Egyptian economy has weathered the hard knocks of the international economic crisis, thanks to a shift towards a free-market economy and the Central Bank of Egypt’s supervision of all the local and foreign banks in the country.
This has made Egypt an attractive place to start a business. The question is, how do you do that?

Start with a good business idea:

Before you can apply for a business loan from HSBC or anywhere else, you need a good business idea. How do you come by this? Well, most entrepreneurs start out by setting up their business in something their passion about, such as music, food or drink, or technology.
Remember that some of the great entrepreneurs are also innovators, so don’t be frightened to do something different. Business may be slow at first, but that doesn’t mean it won’t take off. Just remember that your business idea must be sustainable i.e. it must have long-term potential and be economically viable.

Keep your eye open for opportunities and ideas and jot them down.Sectors in Egypt that hold opportunities include:
•    Finance
•    Retail
•    Education
•    Oil and gas
•    ICT
•    Environment and water.

egyptDo plenty of research

Setting up a (successful) business requires a lot of research. Not only will you learn more about your proposed business idea — and whether you’ll enjoy pursuing it — but you’ll be able to focus on it and rule out other options. (Don’t rule them out completely, though. You may want to diversify or use them as a plan B.)

Surf the internet, read sector reports and surveys, and speak to people in the sector. This will serve you well when creating your business plan. Speaking of business plans….

Create a business plan

The business plan is crucial. You need to know how much it will cost to start up your business, know your market and how much profit you’ll make —then present the information to the bank and other potential lenders or investors. As well as providing information about your own company and its products or services, you must demonstrate understanding of the whole sector, so research your target market and competitors too.

While we’re on the subject of competitors… you need to establish some prices for your products or services. Don’t base this completely on production costs and then adding a margin for profit. See what other businesses in Egypt are charging. Then you can determine whether you’re charging too much or too little. Consider, too, the value added of your product or service.

Look for Financing

Of course, you can ask your friends and family, but for much bigger sums you can approach banks like HSBC, who offer business loans with special terms and conditions. You can also request business grants from the authorities and enter national or international business competitions, in which extra funding for business is the prize.

To take the first steps in business, you have to have a sensible, viable business plan, behind which there has been solid research into your market and competitors. This is only part of it, though: you must also be passionate about your venture. The more you are, and the more economically sound your business idea, the better you can present it and the more enthusiastic business loan providers will be to fund it.

R Billanes

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