Gemini Enterprises Africa has launched the “Gemini Uplift Initiative” to help and support startups during the COVID-19 pandemic, through three tracks: Money, Matchmaking, and Mentorship.
Adly Thoma, the Executive Chairman and CEO of Gemini Enterprises Africa stated, “We participated in various local and international initiatives, most of which were competitions or hackathons, to address the COVID-19 pandemic. We then decided to launch a different kind of initiative to help startups and the entrepreneurial community to tackle their most pressing on-ground operational issues.”
The impact of COVID-19 on businesses and the economy has led some to think about the full closure of their companies. “A number of companies contacted me in search of solutions to avoid closing down; thus, giving birth to the idea of Gemini Uplift to help these companies in terms of day-to-day operations,” said Thoma.
“A number of companies contacted me in search of solutions to avoid closing down; thus, giving birth to the idea of Gemini Uplift to help these companies in terms of day-to-day operations.” Adly Thoma, Executive Chairman and CEO, Gemini Enterprises Africa
“This is not a competition, and the program is open to all entrepreneurs with running operations, or those who are in series A, and seed stages. [They] can easily register and fill out a form online, and choose the appropriate track for them,” Thoma added.
More than 40 local, regional, and international partners from across the MENA region are participating in the initiative. “Gemini Uplift is the largest initiative bringing together these partners in Egypt,” said Thoma.
As he defined each track, Thoma stated, “Through the money track, we want to help connect start-ups to investors, in addition to possibly registering these companies in accelerator or incubator programs.”
Thoma further added, “Through the second track, matchmaking, we want to connect startups with large companies, because financial support isn’t the only solution. There are plenty of other opportunities that help startups develop their businesses; [for example] startups may possibly be able to meet the needs of larger companies, and can aid in providing services for them.”
As for the third track, which is mentorship, Thoma said that, “The focus in this track will be on support, management of financial and legal aspects, in addition to human resources management. We are trying to cover all the needs of startups.”
After all applicants have registered, they will then be carefully selected to join the various tracks through a steering committee (depending on their eligibility for each). Then, training will take place within a month (or more), depending on the needs of each company.
To Thoma, the COVID-19 pandemic will be a milestone in business and investment, drastically changing industries and the economy. “With great challenges, and people fearing closing down, also comes great opportunities, and [based on that], startups should utilize the idea of innovation,” said Thoma.
About Gemini Enterprises Africa
Gemini Enterprises Africa (GEA), is an investment driven vehicle founded by Naguib Sawiris to connect Gemini Holding and Orascom Investment Holding (OIH) with the entrepreneurship, tech, and startup business ecosystem. GEA is focused on driving ecosystem development through strategic partnerships and collaborations across the region. In a statement, Naguib Sawiris, Executive Chairman of Orascom Investment Holding said, “I am very excited about kicking off the Gemini Uplift Initiative. We believe in the importance of our responsibility to act now. Together with our partners we are sure that we can uplift our entrepreneurs and startups to stand strong and sustain their businesses during these hard times. We will not let the Coronavirus beat us!”
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