Ahmed Elsheikha and the Future of Change
I met Ahmed Elsheikha in Cairo. He has an amazing personal history of successes and his views about the future of commerce, Egypt and Africa are very inspiring. He is dedicating his life to change.
He is co-founder of Brimore, a very innovative business model to overcome the economical situation by implementing effective and sustainable solutions. They are already incredibly successful in Egypt and are expanding in Africa.
His advice to be Future Ready: Learn to unlearn, Travel, and take time to reflect.
A Passion for Change
I basically come from an engineering background. I worked in large companies before and I was interested in the theory of change, how people change, how economies change and how countries change. That’s why I shifted my career and worked in education for a little bit. Then I realized also that I need to understand people more.
This is where our new company Brimore came into action. We had a crisis in Egypt, foreign currency and the prices almost doubled for every product. We found an operating theater with Egyptian manufacturers that are under-utilized in terms of operation and maybe we can utilize them more and produce high quality products at their facilities and sell it to consumers at cheaper prices. There we found a very good chance to sell through people, not through stores or other normal trade channels. We realized that we have lots of people eager to use high quality products with decent prices and their eager also to spread the word for a product that they love and they know.
From Crisis to a New Model and Success
We were amazed with the traction we were getting. This is giving us a lot better opportunity to understand how people think, how people make their choices, either if it’s simple choice of buying a bottle of shampoo or a complex choice of choosing in life or making life decisions, we’re working with them to raise their capacity, the ability to make better decisions and to support them with better training programs as well. I find it a very nice opportunity to work with people.
The Future of Egypt
I see the future of Cairo a little bit different than the future of Egypt. Cairo is getting bigger, it’s moving to becoming a mega-city with diversities and all the characteristics of mega-cities, so I think it will be a huge economic power, in not only Egypt, I think for Africa as well.
For Egypt I think the expansion will be on other cities, maybe in the east, maybe in the north, maybe in the south, I don’t know exactly what will be the direction, but I see the treasure is in talents. About technology, how we would invest in technology, how we would invest in exportation and I see the future is in Africa.
Africa is the Future!
Statistically Africa has been as flowing nations in terms of population, the rate of growth is extremely high. By 2050 they will reach 2.5 billion, starting from 1 billion right now so it will be a very big market. Most African countries are moving towards urbanization, this means lot’s of jobs needed, this means lots of creating opportunities for young people. Imagine the youth bulge Egypt is having right now will be repeated in other African countries, maybe in 20 or 30 years so they will need lots of lots of energy, lots of power. You have very big minds and you want just to put them on track so if you invest now in Africa I think it will be the right bet.
The Millennials Worldwide Connection
We, Millennials, grew in a world where we are already connected, we know what other people are doing. We know a lot about their dreams and we know a lot that we have different starting points in terms of looking for the future and having different capabilities. I think we have higher self-awareness than previous generations. I think also we have higher hopes and dreams because we knew other people’s stories, we knew the transformations happening, or happened in different countries so I see big opportunities in terms of bridging Egyptian people with others. Now the waves of the Egyptians studying abroad is higher than ever. The language barriers are decreasing because many everyday Egyptians are starting to speak different languages and bridging with others. I think it’s inevitable to just separate Egyptian youth from other youth of the world, they will eventually connect and they will eventually find common areas to work together.
Discover Egypt to Discover Yourself
I think the more you know about Egypt, the more you know about yourself. The history of Egypt, the ups and downs, contradictions of cities and urban, it reflects a lot about human beings and the development over time. If you read about the distribution of wealth over time in Egypt and how communities formed, I think you will know a lot about also yourself, about your prejudice in terms of looking to other people and your involvement over time. I think it’s a nice angle and point of view to look to yourself.
Be Future Ready
First of all, you need to learn to unlearn, so how you can just unlearn and recharge yourself with new knowledge, second thing is to travel, you need to travel, at young ages you need to speak with as many people as you can, you need to understand different points of view. The third thing is to spare time to reflect all of this and to evolve and give yourself the benefit of the doubt of everything.