Unemployment is robbing young people of a future in Egypt. Half of the young people joining the job market each year don’t find a job.

Climate change is making their prospects even worse. If Egypt doesn’t get its environmental problems under control, millions of jobs in agriculture and tourism will be lost.

Green economy pays dividends

That’s why SA4D and local partner Alashanek ya Balady (AYB) have set up the Youth Innovation Fund Egypt (YIFE). The fund supports young unemployed people in Cairo and Al-Minya as they develop and implement business ideas that help the environment.

On a one-week course, the participants – who are all from socially disadvantaged families – learn things including how to draft a business plan, how to calculate product prices and how to sell a product. An expert panel selects the most promising ideas, which receive start-up funding from the Sawiris Foundation.

Making money from rubbish

Haged, Salua and Madani from Al-Minya are among the people benefitting from start-up funding. The team collects plastic, metal, paper and card waste and prepares it for sale to a recycling factory. With the subsidy from the foundation, they bought a waste compressor. It allows them to load up more material, thereby saving on transport costs.

Paying back the start-up capital

If their business continues successfully, Haged, Salua and Madani will pay the start-up capital back to the foundation. The aim is for projects to be self-supporting after five years. Egypt needs lots more young entrepreneurs who don’t just boost the economy but also make a sustainable contribution for the good of the environment.