Recent images of protests in the streets, the Bangles’ “Walk Like an Egyptian,” and Rick Riordan’s fictional Kane Chronicles (about ancient Egyptian magic) were the first things to cross my mind when I was planning this trip to Egypt. Not exactly helpful, but it was all I had before I arrived here Sunday for my first day as an American delegate at the Egyptian Competitiveness Project’s latest initiative—a boot camp for aspiring Egyptian entrepreneurs.
The genesis for this trip took place in 2009, when President Barack Obama and Denmark’s prime minister decided to do something to help Egypt’s economy, and they felt entrepreneurship was the answer to reviving it. Obama gave a speech at Cairo University, where he stressed the importance of individuals stepping up and creating their own economic opportunities. Many of the people I’ve spoken to here felt that the sentiment resonated deeply. They felt like someone believed in them.
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