Bad Policy Impact On Egyptian Startups

Entrepreneurship is already hard enough as entrepreneurs must continuously deal with tens of strategic and operational challenges from recruitment and firing decisions, design the updates of the next product release, handling legal and financial affairs, networking and developing leads, engaging with investors, planning and budgeting and staying optimistic when nobody else is.

Interestingly, enough all of this is done with almost non-existing government support, but for entrepreneurs this wouldn’t be a problem. They are used to being independent and self-reliant. They don’t want to watch the world from the sidelines rather they dream of having real impact and a memorable contribution to their societies.

In Egypt entrepreneurship is more difficult than any other place in the world and it continues to be more difficult as entrepreneurs struggle to find adequate office spaces, falling household incomes, worsening economic conditions and poor infrastructure, for example cloud services have continuously been facing quality problems because of persisting international Internet gateway problems

Yet, the latest threat to be faced by Egyptian entrepreneurs is bad policy. Over the last few months critical policy decisions harming entrepreneurs and their establishments seem to be taken with little consideration to this critical economic contributor. Last month somebody at Telecom Egypt has configured the firewalls to block SSH access to thousands of cloud hosted servers for several days before reversing this catastrophic action. No one assumed responsibility for this move and it was never told whether this was intentional. This month and as the exchange rate crisis continues to grow banks started to randomly block payments to certain vendors without notice and surprisingly this seems to be randomly decided by individual banks. In the summer of this year we heard complaints about payments for Facebook advertising and other online services being blocked by some banks. Last week my bank blocked my access to Amazon’s Audible, the online provider of audio books.

“Please stop messing with the startup ecosystem. This is the only job creator in the stagnant economy!” this is the message we would like to send to the Egyptian authorities. Having  accepted the lack of entrepreneurship policy as an environmental challenge doesn’t mean we will take bad policy for granted. We will simply do what entrepreneurs do, voice our concern and get back to work.

Image By Flickr erikaow

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