Shell Egypt and the British Council Egypt celebrate the success of ten years of the Shell Intilaaqah Egypt Programme – by hosting an annual awards ceremony tonight, Tuesday 24 March 2015 where outstanding Programme graduates will be honoured. The event is hosted by H.E. Ambassador John Cassen, British Ambassador to Egypt, and will be held at the British Embassy premises in Cairo.

Tonight, 18 young entrepreneurs will be awarded at the Shell Intilaaqah Egypt Annual Awards Ceremony, competing in six categories; ‘Best Existing Business’, ‘Best Business Plan’, ‘Best Business Idea’, ‘Best Health & Safety Project’, ‘Best Business Idea for Disabled’ and ‘Best Female Entrepreneur’. 

“Shell Intilaaqah Egypt Programme is designed to help young Egyptians, between the ages of 18-32, start their own small business, and based on popular demand, I would like to announce today that the Programme will be accepting applicants up to the age of 35 years old to accommodate more enthusiastic young Egyptian entrepreneurs”, said Ahmed Gabry, Intilaaqah Programme and Social Investment Manager, Shell Egypt.

Gabry added “we trained 845 young entrepreneurs in 2014, reaching around 6,500 trainees, including 244 with special needs since the programme’s inception in 2004.  I am proud to say that the programme has contributed to the development and creation of over 700 small businesses, to date, across 14 Egyptian governorates and cities.”

Aidan Murphy, Vice President and Country Chairman, Shell Egypt, said “it gives me great pleasure to witness this year’s edition; the tenth anniversary of Shell Intilaaqah Programme in Egypt, which represents an integral part of Shell Egypt’s social investment activities,  supporting young entrepreneurs establish and maintain their businesses.  Our programme stands out in the way it supports youth by not only providing training and technical assistance to young entrepreneurs, but also encouraging the integration of local content into the supply chain of large corporations; leading to business growth and creation of new job opportunities.”

“I would like to commend the Intilaaqah entrepreneurs for surviving difficult periods of uncertainty with persistence and determination. I would also like to thank our partners for their belief in the programme, which resulted in where we are now. I look forward to celebrating more success together” Murphy added. 

John Casson, British Ambassador in Cairo, hailed the successful winners and said:  “Britain’s commitment to Egypt’s future goes beyond three days at a conference in Sharm el-Sheikh and big businesses’ multi-billion dollar investment deals. Britain’s commitment to Egypt’s future is seen in initiatives like the Shell Intilaaqah Egypt programme – direct actions in the lives of Egypt’s young people that are transforming lives today.”

“Ultimately, Egypt’s truly greatest asset is its young people; they are far more important than any investment deal, no matter how large. For Egypt to succeed, these young people need to be supported, given opportunities, their potential needs to be unleashed. The Shell Intilaaqah Egypt programme is British-Egyptian partnership at its best: matching British expertise with the energy and creativity of young Egyptians and building businesses that will drive Egypt’s future.”

James Hampson, Acting Director British Council Egypt, said:   “Every year we celebrate the success of Egyptian young entrepreneurs who have chosen to walk the extra mile to make their dreams come true.  This year we are proud to celebrate ten years of hard work and success with our valuable partners, Shell Egypt, while giving young Egyptians the skills they need to get the jobs they aspire to.” 

“Through our Skills for Employability programme, we prepare Egyptian youth for the world of work and support Egypt’s economic development as we believe it is at the heart of its stability and prosperity.”

Earlier this year, Shell Intilaaqah Egypt announced its 2014 competition where around 147 Intilaaqah graduates applied for the six award categories, and a judging panel event was held on 12 January at the British Council premises in Agouza.  Members of the judging panel ranged between SME patrons, members from academia, NGOs, in addition to media.