Welcome Letter

 

Dear readers,

 

Welcome to the second edition of [title], the newsletter of Egypt’s Technology Development Fund that keeps you up-to-date on the exciting happenings of many of the key players in Egypt’s fast growing technology industry.

 

With Egypt’s information technology market growing 30 percent per year, we’re rapidly becoming a regional IT hub. 

 

The Technology Development Fund aims to support not only the companies we’ve chosen to invest in, but also to promote the technology industry as whole through the nurturing of entrepreneurship.  The Fund’s third Annual Business Plan Competition, currently underway, is an excellent example of our commitment to promote high-tech entrepreneurship in Egypt.

 

Information technology endeavors can further the development of the industry, create opportunities for young people and ultimately impact the socio-economic development of the country.  All of us involved in the Fund are proud to showcase the ongoing events, deals, expansions and partnerships of all of the companies in the portfolio.

 

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Business Plan Competition kicks off, with LE 2,000,000 in prizes!

Technology entrepreneurs all across Egypt are gearing up for the third annual Business Plan Competition. Launched on February 4 2007, the competition offers a rare opportunity to turn high-tech ideas into products and teams into companies.

 

The first competition of its kind in Egypt’s history, the Business Plan Competition aims to seek out, recognize and award the best business ideas and talented entrepreneurs in the Egyptian technology scene, as well as supporting them in their quest to realize their ventures.

 

By the application deadline of April 1 2007, hundreds of teams are expected to have submitted a required executive summary of their technology idea. The best 30 teams will be selected to receive professional training by the American University in Cairo, enabling them to create full business plans as part of a workshop that also teaches them principles of finance, accounting, and market analysis. Ten business plans will be short-listed, and then the top teams are awarded a total prize package of cash and services worth LE 2,000,000.

 

In cooperation with the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, the incubator center at the Smart Village offers the teams’ access to state-of-the-art incubation facilities.  There have been a total of seven incubated teams to date: two in 2005 and five in 2006. Incubated teams are also given financial grants with the assistance of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). As a final step, teams are converted into start-up companies.

 

The competition has been backed by the Ministry of Communications & Information Technology and other key partners from the technology community: Ideavelopers, Technology Development Fund, Information Technology International Development Agency, American University in Cairo, ITWorx, Telecom Egypt, and EFG-Hermes.

 

Competition details can be found online at http://www.tdfcomp.com

 

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Advanced Smart Card Co. awarded prestigious EMV Visa Certification

Advanced Smart Card Co. (ASC) has just been awarded the prestigious EMV Visa certification on January 16 2007.  This global standard created originally by Europay, MasterCard and Visa requires the highest standards on security for any smart card processing company seeking certification. 

Smart cards with the global EMV standard are fast becoming the safest way to handle banking and purchase transactions and are replacing the common magnetic stripe as the preferred technology. They utilize a wide range of features that are designed to create an advanced, secure defense system against fraud. While security is the core element of chip cards, they boast other benefits including improved cardholder authentication methods and increased cardholder verification methods. EMV makes use of several different types of verification including instructions on the chip itself that prevent certain transactions from taking place without cardholder verification. 

ASC prides itself on ensuring and safeguarding its customers’ products through all phases of system design, implementation, manufacturing, and delivery.  In addition to its new EMV Visa certification ASC has also earned the international Moody certification and is currently working towards EMV MasterCard certification.

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Delegation to the UK reinforces Egypt’s strong IT capabilities

Leading Egyptian technology companies traveled to Cambridge, United Kingdom for a two-day conference with British counterparts on January 24 and 25 2007, to create business alliances establishing further business links between the two countries.

The Egyptian-British Chamber of Commerce together with the Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce was invited by the Cambridge IT community to participate. More than twenty UK-based technology companies were ultimately short listed to meet with 12 companies from Egypt, a key access point to the Middle East and Africa.  The companies represent technology interests in the fields of communications, health, government, commerce, culture, and security, as well as the Internet-related topics of content and e-learning.

Leading the Egyptian delegation was Dr. Mohamed Reda, Chief Executive Officer of Allied Soft, a 2000-strong company providing development, training, and business process outsourcing. Dr Reda presented an overview of the IT industry in Egypt, including plans for national projects as well as top Egyptian IT success stories.

“These influential Egyptian IT companies began discussing our common goals and cooperating as a group, with our own collective initiative prompting this important visit,” stated Dr Reda. “This is an excellent opportunity for UK and Egyptian companies wishing to develop their business and establish partnerships within the two countries as well as third markets.”

The Egyptian companies that attended include Advanced Computer Technology, Allied Information Technology Services, Allied Soft, Arabize, Data Management Systems, ITWorx, Mega Media, Misr International Systems, Middle East Network Solutions, Softlock and Tea Computers.

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Microsoft renews its commitment to Coltec

Coltec is proud to provide the sole Arabic language processing toolset for Microsoft for the past 14 years, starting with Microsoft Word 6.0. Microsoft has just renewed its commitment to Coltec as its Arabic language supplier. Coltec’s Arabic processors are integrated with Microsoft Office Suite as well SharePoint and SQL Server. Coltec has also been licensed to provide the Arabic spell checker for Microsoft Office [version 6 – what’s the official name of the version].

 

“Coltec’s applications and plug-ins suit the needs of organizations of all sizes,” asserted [job title] Fadl Tarzi. ”Coltec is highly regarded as an industry expert with a substantial international expertise.  We are pleased to continue our strong relationship with Microsoft as we continue to forge other excellent partnerships with our growing list of clients who need flawless Arabic processing.”

 

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New Hafss product launched at GITEX tradeshow

Research & Development International (RDI) launched its advanced new educational product Hafss at the regional IT tradeshow GITEX in Dubai in late 2006. Hafss is a Koran sciences portal of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Endowments and Religious affairs. The sophisticated nature of Hafss enables it to detect and diagnose any pronunciation errors made by the learner when reciting verses of the Koran.

 

Through this and other products, RDI has gained the trust of top companies such as IBM Egypt, the European Union, Microsoft Saudi Arabia, BBN US, Acapela Group Belgium and Nattiq UAE.

 

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Global VoIP leader Mark Spencer spoke at OpenCraft technical seminar

Founder and President of the American company Digium, Mr. Mark Spencer, was the keynote speaker at a technical seminar series led by Egyptian technical consulting and open source development company OpenCraft. The lecture, presented in conjunction with the Egyptian GNU/Linux Users Group (EGLUG), was part of a technical seminar series led by OpenCraft.

 

 “Open source software and its specific application to internet-enabled telephony could make a powerful change for Egyptian businesses,” asserted web telephony leader Mark Spencer. Mr. Spencer has recently been deemed the most influential executive worldwide in the field of web-enabled voice transmissions, formally termed Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP.

 

Mr. Spencer, an Egyptian-American, has contributed most prominently to the global VoIP movement with his product Asterisk.  It’s a free software application that enables basic phone calls on analog or VoIP systems, plus a full suite of additional business-ready functionality such as voicemail, caller ID, and teleconferencing. 

 

Open source development is key to making stronger, more innovative technology solutions like Asterisk. Open source is steadily making inroads into Egypt, with firms such as OpenCraft handling multiple projects here.

 

“Open source has definitely achieved credibility in large-scale organizations, both corporate and government, in recent years,” stated OpenCraft Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Rady Fahmy. “Businesses right here in Egypt can definitely benefit now from the innovation and stability of open source, and the possibilities will only increase in the future.”

 

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Global leader in semi-conductors praises Egypt’s tech company SWS

 

Smart Wireless Systems (SWS), the Egyptian-based provider of design services and IP solutions for the analog-mixed signal market, stepped up to the plate to support American fabless analog semi-conductor company Discera.

 

In the last year, SWS took on the responsibility of not only delivering an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC), but also a working clock oscillator product.  SWS played a key role in the sampling success of these products, known as P2 and P4, and in doing so fulfilled a key gap that Discera had identified in this critical deliverable.

 

“The strength of the relationship between Discera and SWS is as strong as it’s ever been,” stated Tom Willey, CEO of Discera. “Now that we have kicked off our oscillator program known as P4, SWS as a trusted partner will continue to play a key and pivotal role for that development.”

 

The revenue success of both P2 and P4 is critical for both companies, which have cleared a path for big players in the Quartz clock arena to buy and resell these newly developed products.

 

All this is a good sign that Egyptian companies remain on the cutting edge of the latest technologies.

 

Word Count: 192