El-Maghraby: The program is the first of its kind in the banking sector that allows extensive integration between Banque Misr and fintech start-ups.
Ahmed Abdellatif: Our strategic partnership with Banque Misr aims to support entrepreneurs and start-ups in the field of financial technology.
Cairo, Egypt - July 4th, 2021, Banque Misr signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Microsoft Egypt to launch the first open innovation program in the Egyptian market, enabling a spurt in FinTech start-up growth. The MOU was signed by and between Mr. Akef El-Maghraby – Vice Chairman of Banque Misr – and Mr. Ahmed Abdellatif – Regional Manager of Microsoft Egypt and Middle East – on Sunday 4th July 2021, in the attendance of senior leadership representing both Banque Misr and Microsoft.
The Collaboration between the two parties aims to enable start-ups to contribute to digital transformation efforts that are driven by multi-disciplined digital technologies, while enhancing the fintech and entrepreneurial capabilities of these companies. This is in addition to supporting the business environment by establishing joint fintech innovation centers and developing financial and digital services and solutions to facilitate customer transactions. Banque Mist firmly believes that digital transformation has come to constitute a significant phase in the local and global economy, especially in light of the situation imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The world has increasingly resorted to the use of digital platforms and services and as such, the Bank has expanded its offerings, by rendering a multitude of digital services to its customers, coupled with establishing the first digital bank in the Egyptian market.
According to the agreement, start-ups will leverage Microsoft's partners network where Banque Misr can target the best start-ups according to agreed criteria both from the local and other emerging markets and based on Microsoft's outreach. Microsoft supports the program through attracting a partner start-up accelerator from South Africa, Grindstone, who is part of the Microsoft for Start-ups programme; "Microsoft for Start-ups", a program with a proven track record in markets with same geo-economics landscape, which will lay grounds for transfer of knowledge and collaboration between African markets. In addition to that, bringing up to date version of Microsoft's global start-up program with its latest incorporated perks for the eligible start-ups participating in the project.
Microsoft will support the selected start-ups to scale and grow through onboarding solutions to Azure Market Place that has more than four million active users, by capitalizing on Microsoft Partner Network for start-ups and providing support through various internal Microsoft programs.
Akef El-Maghraby, Vice Chairman of Banque Misr, stated that, "Banque Misr is one of the pioneering banks that believes in the entrepreneurship spirit of the country, dating back to more than 100 years. Through Banque Misr's entrepreneurial momentum, empowered by the massive digital transformation program over the past 3 years, we are proud to announce the launch of Banque Misr's open innovation program with a vision that allows for larger and more profound integration between the Bank and start-ups. I believe that collaborating with fintech, in a spirit of open innovation, is a powerful driver of digital transformation and can stimulate new ways of working. I am firmly convinced that banks that embrace this collaboration will be able to adapt faster, offer better products and services to their clients, and thus improve their customer journey as well as gaining a competitive edge."
Mr. Ahmed Abdellatif, Regional Manager at Microsoft Egypt and Middle East said: "Start-ups play a vital role in driving a country's digital economy. They have the ability to be creative and innovative, bringing new ideas to life. This is very important in a country like Egypt, because with an increase in population and access to technology, it represents a vast pool of untapped potential. We are committed to establishing partnerships that will foster growth and sustainability for start-ups in Egypt and we are pleased to partner with Banque Misr in this vital project. This will enable us to provide more support to entrepreneurs in the field of financial technology and we will be able to provide them with the latest technological tools that start-ups need in order to scale and succeed in the digital economy."
Worth noting is that MENA countries have increased their focus on entrepreneurship and start-ups in an attempt to diversify economies and drive growth and innovation. As a start-up hub in the region, Egypt works to support entrepreneurs and encourage start-ups to launch and grow their businesses in a supportive environment.
Egypt is one of the four largest start-up countries in the African continent, along with Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. Egypt ranked first in the number of investment deals in emerging technology companies, reaching 86 deals in 2020, according to an IDSC report. The volume of investment deals in Egypt increased by about one third in 2020 compared to 2019 and their number also increased by 83% Egypt also ranked third in total stock deals, with investments amounting to $269 million.
Banque Misr consistently strives to launch innovative technology-driven banking solutions and services for its customers, saving them considerable time and effort, while upholding its long-term success and actively partaking in fulfilling customer requirements. The Bank's strategies and values demonstrate an unwavering commitment to achieve sustainable development and prosperity for Egypt.