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The following is a guest post from Fatma Muhammad Ali, the lead organizer of the first Startup Weekend Assiut in March 2013.

The story started at a time I was so far from entrepreneurship community (July 2012). All I knew about it was its definition.

Many obstacles were facing this event starting from finding the right organizer team, to finding sponsors who hold the development of Upper Egypt on their interest list. Also, the culture of Upper Egypt itself was an obstacle, which I ‘m glad to contribute in affecting positively. I’ve done this by spreading the concept of entrepreneurship, tech startups, and attending such events cultures. It was also a challenge to encourage hesitant firms to invest in Upper Egypt and encourage reluctant participants who couldn’t yet see the investment nor could see themselves as entrepreneur.

I had to think out of the box! I was learning any thing I could get my hands on could help with organizing the event whilst I was searching for other passionate volunteers to form my main organizers team. As for event sponsorship, the budget was reduced to be as lean as possible and most of sponsorships were made as contributions rather than cash.

But still the participants outreach was the main problem. Because of the unique culture of UE, social media did not have that effect we could depend on. Old fashioned, direct marketing was still preferable. That doesn’t mean that people in UE don’t react with social media but for some reason, their reaction with social media doesn’t express their real reaction and doesn’t have the same impact on marketing as in cosmopolitan cities.

Startup Weekend Assiut was the first event of its kind in the whole region.That’s why I was keen on bringing this chance to people who really deserve it.

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Again, I had to think out of the box. This event’s target was and will remain entrepreneurs in UE with all their religious, ethnic, political, and age preferences. So the direct marketing campaign went to them in their territories targeting universities, schools, churches, mosques, and even local associations.

I’ve gained much experience, learned so many lessons: believe in yourself to allow others to believe in you, nothing is impossible and it’s never too late.

This is an ode to the unexpected great success of the event and I hope the next event will be as successful!

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ninette



  • Thanks for the share and Look at all the wonderful things accomplished since. I personally can relate to the Words of “My first Start up weekend” experience and feel although it was not first ever it was ONE of the first held in a wonderful state of Florida in Tampa, and my journey led to well over 7+ more and I continue to watch the fruits of the experience and reminder of who I am, was becoming and all these Kids that have been created are making the world a better place (as they have been nick named and called. I always say creation of businesses and brands are the Richard Branson version of who I am, he just has not met me yet (But He will I hope one day!!) It is Amazing people like him, Michael Gerber that although older than most these days, remind me of all the things did not have or realize before entering the world of this so called World of Entrepreneurship. Would not give it back for anything as a Start up connected with key brands and foundation of this Woman named Tina, to a 2nd stage experience of doing it the hard knocks way but again I end by saying Thank you from all the Start up’s Created World wide and beyond.

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