Methanex Egypt launches “Rowad Domiat” competition to support and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in Damietta Governorate

As part of the sustainability plan of its partnership with the International Labor Organization in the “Decent Jobs for Egypt’s Young People: Tackling the Challenge Together in Damietta” (DJEP) project, Methanex Egypt launched “Rowad Domiat 2022” competition to support and encourage innovation, entrepreneurship, and female and young entrepreneurs in Damietta Governorate. The competition is held as part of the eighth edition of Egypt Entrepreneurship Summit “Digitizing Industry: Going Global” taking place in Damietta from 12-14 December 2022, organized by GEN Egypt and the International Labor Organization and funded by Methanex as a key sponsor. The competition was attended by H.E. Minister of Local Development, Major General Hisham Amna, Central Department Undersecretary for Minister's Affairs, Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Mr. Hisham Mohamed Nour Elddine, Advisor to Minister, Communications and Information Technology, General, Dr. Hossam Osman, H.E. Governor of Damietta, Mrs. Manal Awad, Director of the International Labor Organization office in Cairo, Mr. Eric Oechslin, and Managing Director of Methanex Egypt, Mr. Mohamed Shindy, in addition to a number of key decision makers and experienced entrepreneurs, to share their experiences with young entrepreneurs through the conference.

The competition was announced in October 2022 to award prizes along four tracks - the best idea, the best start-up project, the best existing business and women in business. Around two hundred young men and women from Damietta with project ideas or existing projects applied to participate in the competition. Through the competition stages, a number of workshops, sessions and seminars were held with candidates to discuss their ideas and projects and provide them with the knowledge, information and appropriate strategies to manage or start their businesses and promote them. Through seminars, interviews, and candidates’ presentations, the competition judges selected the finalists to compete at the final round at the conference. The winners of the competition are “Anamel” team, “Food dehydrator” team, and “Napark” team, in the best idea category, “Handi Mandi” team in the best women in business category, while “Decoupage Wood” and “Mora Sweets” equally won in the best startup category, in addition to “Vlaby” team in the existing projects category.

This competition comes as part of the Memorandum of Understanding signed last October between Damietta Governorate, Horus University-Egypt, the International Labor Organization, and Methanex Egypt to establish the Horus University Center for Training and Entrepreneurship to serve the Damietta community by promoting entrepreneurship basics and culture, supporting existing businesses and startups and becoming a primary source for students, faculty members, alumni, and the local business community in Damietta. The idea of ​​establishing the center came as part of the sustainability plan of ILO’s DJEP project as part of its agreement with Methanex Egypt, which was signed in 2019 and is scheduled to end in May 2023.

Commenting on the event, Mohamed Shindy said: "I feel proud of where we are today. Our goal since the beginning of our partnership with the International Labor Organization has been to create a long-term positive impact on the Damietta community by investing in individuals through improving their skills and capabilities, and thus supporting them as they strive for decent work. By establishing the Horus University Center for Training and Entrepreneurship, and by launching this competition, we ensure the continuity and sustainability that we have planned for throughout the project. What we see today is the result of a strong partnership between our company and the International Labor Organization, and the support of Damietta Governorate, a number of Egyptian ministries, the National Council for Women, MSMEDA, NGOs in Damietta and many other stakeholders who all worked to ensure the achievement of the project's objectives and success.

Eric Oechslin also commented saying: “The International Labour Organization started the initiative on “Future of Work” aiming at responding to the transformations taking place in the world of work and we are pleased at the Cairo Office to organize activities in different governorates of Egypt to improve the capacity and skills of the young people. Within these activities, the ILO Decent Jobs Project is holding this awareness level conference in partnership with GEN Egypt to share knowledge and provide exposure to the Damietta Community. This Conference comes within the recently signed memorandum of understanding with the Governor of Damietta, the project donor “Methanex Egypt”, the Horus University aiming at enhancing the skills of Damietta Young People to enter the labour market and start their own businesses.”

Methanex signed an agreement with the International Labor Organization in 2019 to create decent employment opportunities for youth in the Governorate of Damietta, through promoting entrepreneurship and facilitating job matching processes as part of the company’s social responsibility programs to support the community. Through this partnership, the ILO worked on providing the "Start and Improve Your Business", "Job Search Club" and "Get Ahead for Women in Enterprise" training programs to women and youth in the governorate training more than 1,456 beneficiaries from Damietta since the beginning of the agreement. This partnership also comes in line with Methanex's commitment to support Egypt's Vision 2030 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030 by focusing on providing decent work.