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Your best business development ideas in Egypt

Hi everyone,

As a foreign entrepreneur, launching a business in Egypt is a fantastic project and an exciting challenge. Some ideas are likely to succeed. Some others are promising but may not work as well as intended.

In your opinion, what kind of business or industry is likely to succeed in Egypt? What kind of industry or service currently unavailable or underdeveloped in the country would meet local needs?

On the other hand, what are the most common business types foreign entrepreneurs would be eager to launch in the country but with very little chance of success?

Thank you for your insights.
Priscilla

Car rental, there's a big demand for this service  I'm told.

I think Energy sector is wonderful as there is high demand

It's not a case of what Egypt needs its the terrible red tape and frustrating problems you have to go through to set up a business and get it licensed. This is a major problem and really needs addressing before contemplating what Egypt needs. It's stopping investment and the creation of jobs.

Sorry but these are my opinions and facts I have had to suffer before giving up in shear frustration

Staring a business in Egypt. BIG JOKE!!!!!

Totally agree, you can start a business in Cairo, but if you want to start a business that is similar in Luxor you will be refused a license unless you coff up cash, and after you have coffed up the cash they come for more until you have run out of money. Your license application is then refused. There is NO fluency from one place to another, but the best part is those who are supposed to be looking after the Interests of business and Jobs either no nothing of what is happening or they are turning their backs on it. That is why Egypt will always struggle for investment. i think the outlying Cities and towns throughout Egypt really need to be looked at by someone who has responcibility and get it sorted out. I also believe that any money transaction should be rewarded with a receipt, NO Receipt, NO money paid out. At this moment of time you are right inwhat you say Investent is a joke, and needs to be uncovered, much of what is happening I am sure is getting covered up or hidden from the Authorities. it needs to get acted on fast, because there will be no return soon for Egypt. I am sure the authorities have no knowledge of what is happening. The best part is the education standards here is so poor many will not even understand what is happening but soon they will be opening their eyes.
i believe the top people have an idea but without information they cannot act. So its important to get all documents in order, do not act without papers, and do not act without receipts. you need to document everything because its will be the documents that will secure your arguement.

Regarding setting up a business in Egypt and the difficulties. I would just like to prove a point. There is a company in the UK called 1st Formations (Internet Site 1st Formations .com) here you can set up a limited company complete with Company Registration, Registered with the Tax Office, and Certification, also included is the Share Holders Certificates. It take approximatley 3 hours to register the name of your Company and Companies House Registration a further 7 days to fill in and return the Share Holder Forms. You are then ready to trade, your Company will be registered at Companies house along with the share holders registration. Very Easy and Simple all for the total cost of 99.99 English Pounds or approx 1000le this is the difference, this is why its easy for investers. If you dont believe me look at the site and you will see why people will invest, set up companies, and provide work for people in the UK. Visa's well not a problem, most have already invested and purchased homes in the UK. When 1 year tourist Visa's and work permits for most people in Egypt are the only visa's available to home owners and alike meaning the Egyptian Banks do not want to know regarding help with business expansion, then there is a big problem and most people who want to invest will just turn their backs on putting hard currencies into Egypt. People feel insecure and will not invest.
Yesterday we were told on a shopping trip, that quality foods imported have been banned for 3 months, when aske the shop keeper said we dont kow when we will get branded foods in our shop and we are not too sure when the 3 months start. So we all can expect to be purchasing low quality foodstuff from places like Spinneys, Kerz Zaman, Rajab Brothers, Carefours for some time to come. The shop keeper explained to me, its because imports are paid for in Dollars (Hard Cash) and hard cash is something in short demand.

I am not attempting to pour scorne on Egypts system just comparing Countries and what Egypt needs to look at in the future. We are retired, not interested in politics ar anything like that at all, but even being home owners in Egypt and not working, we still get treated with suspicion and being made to feel unwelcome. But do we care of course not, we just see what is happening and turn our backs. We came here for a peaceful, stress free life,but have to confess the past 7 years have not been peaceful and by far it has not been stress free. I am afraid this will be the last Visa we will require. We will leave in search of somewhere else that we know will be peaceful and stress free. Where we will be rewarded for investing in the Country, and somewhere were we will not contsantly be having to worry about visa's. We did ask about a temporary 5 year visa for Luxor to try and rid the stress, but it seems Luxor is not and never will issue these. Work Permits we are not interested in. Its strange when your income is over 20,000le per calender month. our food bill each week is always above 1500le, (but must admit it has dropped a bit due to quality foods in Supermarkets now being unavailable). The amount ex pats put into the economy is not recognised. We have financially helped many of our villagers, to spruce their homes up, lay ceramics instead of living on dirt floors, bought Desert Water Coolers for the Summer etc etc. We have never asked for anything in return and never will. But this now has to stop, if we are not appreciated and not wanted in Luxor, and thats what most ex pats think, its time to get our lives together and move on. No real loss to us at all. We were all prepared to sit it out and wait for Egypt to rise again, but visa problems and attitudes make us thik its not worth bothering anymore. We know we will never be able to sell our home, but have decided to sell everything in it and just before we go Raze it to the ground, so all thaat will be left is a pile of rubbish, and that will be our memories of Luxor. Sad really, we love the place and the experience we would not have missed for anything. But we are educated people and our needs as pensioners are stability and security, these two things have been lost living in Luxor as it is at the moment.

I think that the businesses that have most chances to succeed are related to the food and restaurant industry. No matter what is proposed, Egyptian are ready to spend (some) money as long as the menu is appealing and mouth-watering. It is also quite simple and not too expensive to start a small chain or franchise. The more difficult is actually to find the right type of cuisine to offer and to distinguish yourself from the the (hard) competition. There are however numerous good types of cuisine missing such as, in example, good European-style pastry shops, typical French cuisine or true BBQ restaurant, to name a few only.

As I am in the field of mechanical industry, I would say that the most problematic issue in Egypt, all fields of activities together, is to build good organizations with disciplined employees respecting procedures, and to find true managers. There are very few companies that are all together well organized and well managed. One has to consider that one must train all personnel at all levels to actually reach the seeked organization/management level comparable to companies from Europe or the US. This lies in the Egyptian mentality, it is not really a problem of skills or qualifications.

However, if one is ready to invest time and money in a company in Egypt, including investing in organization, quality procedures and management training, success is at the door, most of the times quite quickly, especially if focusing on good running management and customer service.

You are right of course Markus, but in general I do not think even by investing in employees and training them to a high standard would stop them partying at night and then be unable to get to work in the morning. There is a saying ".That's Egyptian Life" I think companies after paying for high class training would expect more back in return. It's impossible to party until 3am and then put in a fair days work without wanting to sleep in the afternoon. I am well travelled and have never come across the attitude where enjoyment comes before work. Work brings riches, good food, happy families. My last job consisted of getting up at 3.30am a 2 hour train Journey to London, 9 hours at work and then a two hour train journey home, 5 days a week. My salary was excellent and provided my wife and I with 3 cars a large house, it paid for private schools for our children, and gave us 3 holidays a year to the Jolie Ville Resort Luxor. I really cannot see many local people wanting to and being capable of working these hours. It also helped me retire at 56 instead of 65. I must admit though my experience in Egypt has made me a better person and more respecting. It has also taught me that the genuine Muslim is clean living and extremely respectful. So I will alway respect that.

Hi  Chocolate Eclair
I agree with what you have written. I would just like to give my opinion regarding work ethics here in Egypt. As far as government positions go ie councils, water electrical etc. there are no work ethics. These people get paid regardless. I know from the experience. My husband is Egyptian his brother works for the electricty. He goes to work in the morning  signs on and returns home. He get a friend to "sign off" for him. They take this in turns doing for each other. Another example is the gas. When they come to read your meater they say ". Pay me 50 pounds and I won't read ur meater   Do they think we are as stupid as them?  Of course the next month it will be double. But if you complain the the government body they don't care. Again with the police. They pull you over for speeding. Pay them 50 pounds they let you go.  Next week you see that same car smashed up
Who cares in this country
This is Egyptian way you are too od
I am a English teacher at an International school. In all the countries I have worked I have never seen such bad manners, lack of respect, lack of discipline love key I have seen and endured by the children of Egypt. If this is how they learn in school it's no wonder the country has all the problems it's now facing. But again.  Who cares? This is Egyptian life.......

I have heard about Government workers but not experienced it. Poor education,  and the lack of respect do go a long way to the problems, but how they will fix it I don't know. They really need some strong boss's who will not except laziness. This signing in for others is an epidemic, you know in a lot of other Countries they would not have a job, there are bosses checking the times and attendance all the time. But here it may be if the boss's are doing it then the workers will be doing it too. It's of little interest to me all the fiddling that goes on until it effects me, then I would complain. The problem is if you complain you will get branded for interfering and just create problem for yourself. The other problem is of course if you had strong boss's there would be no one working. This would create even more problems, cheating, stealing all sorts would go on to make some money. Luxor is running out of land now for growing crops to feed themselves the farm land has been taken over by buildings to sell to foreigners rapt hyper inflated prices, and there has been no building control for ages. This I know,when my home was built I had to apply for a building license, it was going to cost 12000le and would be ready in around 2-3 weeks, however I could of got the license in 5 days if I paid 30,000 le. I had to renew my license a few months ago but could not because my security papers had gone missing, WHAT? How do security papers go missing from what is supposed to be a secure building, the interpreter helping me said if we give the man 100le we will get them. I refused point blank, sold my vehicle and use my friend the taxi driver now. Any sign of corruption and I now walk away, and of course Europeans get charged double the corruption fee of locals. I was talkng to a German man in a coffee shop around three years ago, he told me he was waiting for a medical certificate, 10 mins later this Egyptian man came in and give him the certificate, the German man said "That's better than having to mess about and it only cost me 100le" What that about, with now respect, no education and no disapline how can a Country work. The place is falling apart at the seams, and nobody cares, it's such a shame, because Egypt can be a great Country. I went into a Pharmacy to buy some tablets the pharmacist said that's 60le, I said that it says 30le on the box, he then said look there are 2 strips. I just walked out and got them for 28le at another pharmacist Everyone is born to steal.

What can we say.... The country is going down the gurgler and fast. Egypt is borrowing money left right and centre. What's going to happen when. China and Russia ask for it back ?
Also now look what's happen Egyptians have been banned from Saudi.   Again what does that tell you?

Yes Lynneroy you are precisely correct, What does happen when they want the money back? Trade outward bound is needed, new factories, quality goods, (Not Rubbish) that are sold with guarantees, exporting to around the World. Putting your hopes on finance is crap, look what happened to the UK and USA. New jobs, people with money in their pockets, spending into the economy, proper jobs, a real income tax scheme, not one that can be cheated. When the Government has cash it should then be spread around the Country equally and not just Cairo. Why not give the Governates power to raise taxes?

There are many things I have noticed that need looking at, most things are paid by cash, how do they know what a business is taking in, there are very few cash registers, because there is no control of this, money is not getting taxed and helping the Goverment fill the exchequer to enable them to improve things. I see shopkeepers outside their shops wearing the same dirty clothes has they did the week before, what an advert for what they sell. Business's around the World support the finances of the Country, not the jobless and those too lazy to look for jobs, they should be made to work for the Governates. There should be a pension system that is statutory for all, to alleviate the Government having to support retired people. Certainly school hours and holidays need looking at, the children seem to be off school more than at school, how do you educate the Country? But certainly Governates should have the power to raise local taxes and use to improve the Governates, roads, transport and schools, equipment for hospitals, as well has good educated teachers, who have proper control. You should be able to ask and get receipts for every pound you spend. The legal system certainly needs speeding up, it's slow and draconian, instead of many going to prison for minor offenses they should be put to work under supervision in the community, cleaning, repairing, helping the poor, and helping keep the Governates clean and tidy. They have spent a lot of money where I live recently and improved the main areas, but will they maintain what they have done or let it drop into disrepair, only to have to spend the same amount again later. I love the attitude of men to women, don't ever tell me women have got smaller brains, that's rubbish, women are beaten frequently and have no power to complain, terrible! If women are sick it does not matter the men seem to think they should still work as hard, rubbish! What when the men go out until 3am spending the family budget, and sleep all day. I appreciate it may be something to do with total lack of education. 60% of the men where I live cannot either read or write. We have a lovely young woman in our village who is working and paying for her high education, she told me I got hardly any education at school, now I want to make it in life and finish a masters degree, what a great attitude, someone willing to support themselves for the sake of helping her Country where as everything else for her failed. And men say that women have smaller brains, well here is an example of how wrong they are. Maybe some Western Bosses should be introduced to help show how disapline works, how hard work provides riches. Sorry but the educated people will agree with what I say, and my post is aimed at educated people.

Hi again
Most people and Most parents do not understand Disapline As I mentioned before I work at a national school here. The kids run a muck and what happens? ......Nothing. They are not taught to respect their teachers, especially if you are a foreigner.   If the school speaks to the parents about their kids mis conduct, the reply is "we pay you a lot of Monet o to teach them this...." They don't understand that respect, conduct and ethics are taught at home at an early age. Instead the kids copy the inner and outer environment in which the live.  SO, how on earth can you expect the country to learn, to change and join the rest of world with finances,economics environmental needs and structure........oh like you I could go on and on but what's the use. Egypt will never see what we see. They will continue to go with the flow until another country like China, takes them over.....it will happen. Not in my lifetime but it will happen......

I am sure you are right, it's a pity many have missed the boat. I cannot see much hope unless another Country gets involved, the only trouble is, this Country knows what's best and because of it they will not give in until it's at rock bottom and has no where to turn. You don't even need to be educated to see this. I think the President has a good heart, but is going to find it hard to abolish the corruption here. It's underground but is rife throughout society like a rotten piece of wood. The trouble is it's been going on so long now it's almost a part of everyday life. To change if would be like trying to get blood from a stone. One of the first things to do is stop allowing buildings on Farmland, it's destroying growing land and soon there will be no land to farm and feed themselves. Another thing is to stop treating foreigners like spies and traitors, it was not a Westener who flew a plane into the Trade Centre in New York, and Westerners are against Terrorim at all costs. The reason they do this is because we are not wanted here, they see our education and spending power a threat to local people who have not got the same opportunity, due to the reluctance to give them opportunities,in work and education. Can you imagine if Passports and travel became the norm for Egyptians, they would be leaving for opportunities all over the world. It's not this Governments fault at all, it just that previous Governments have frittered away money for the past, and now this Government is having to do its best to correct the situation. It's going to be an uphill struggle and you know how impatient Egyptian people are, they want things either today or tomorrow, and they want it without doing too much to get it. I wanted to start a Motorcycle Training School to try and prevent lives being lost, there are 2 in Cairo, I was refused a business license, this said to me, saving lives is not a thing here, and that there is no continuity between one City and another. If ever asked again I would politely say NO! Get on with it yourself. I did Two seminars both cost me 100le in backsheesh fees, from my own pocket, I learned so much from them and especially the people attending wanting to learn, and quickly realized why so many are killing themselves. They had never heard of Emergency Stopping Distances, and the simple question why are some road signs triangular and other round, They get no training and because of this do not realize how lethal a motorbike or in fact any vehicle can be. They did not even know the rules of a pedestrian crossing, and in a tourist area like I live in is extremely dangerous to tourists and visitors, who DO use them. What do you do? I am an ex Police Traffic Officer and believe you me I hate riding my motorcycle among these untrained road users, who ride along texting messages and answering their phones.

Hi Again
I disagree with just one thing you said,"that the present prime minister was doin all he could......"
No so, he could improve traffic conditions almost straight away. He how has a huge police force who sit on their backsides all day drinking tea
They have traffic lights in some areas but does anyone adidas by the rules ( signal). . Of course not but where are the he police enforcing the law?   No whe e to be seen. Thre are many things e could almost immediately but he too wants to keep the country in a backward poverty state
Good to talk to you

offshore services, importing Egyptian products to other countries

Sorry the situation is like this in Luxor, seems to be more difficult there regarding home owning, starting businesses and visas. We have friends in Hurghada it seems less complicated there.
Pity you haven't been able to sell your home I looked at your photos and it's beautiful, what a shame to lose it. Good luck with your future plans.

We are really not interested if we loose it anymore, our retirement has turned into a nightmare and if it means loosing our home to rid the nightmare then so be it. The trouble like you have explained is that there is no conformity across Egypt that is the same, and until there is nothing will change. Every City, every Governate is different from the other. You can invest millions into Luxor but you will never be able to get a residents visa, and sometimes not a tourist visa. it's almost has though they do not even know what they are. People object to having to go to Cairo all the time for things, and why should they, it smacks that the Government offices are employing un trained staff that really do not know what either to do or what is happening, this is caused by the differences across the Country. We were tourists here for 20 years, we loved Luxor/Egypt, and the people that is why we decided it would be good for us to retire here, and even finish our lives here. But no matter who you talk to now they all think Europeans are not welcome anymore. That is why people are desperately trying to get away. The only people who are hanging on are those that cannot raise the finances for their airfare.

I don't blame the Egyptian Goverment because I honestly do not think they realized the dire situation of Egypt when they were elected, I don't think they knew the terrible financial situation the Country was in. I believe the leader of the Country has a good heart and puts his Country first but, there is so so much to do, and it will take years to put things right. The people have got to back their leader and hang on in there,chopping and changing leaders will be a detrimental thing and everyone will suffer.

Good morning to every 1 , Look my dear, in my opinion the best thing is that a Bank Deposit  with interest rate up to 20%, instead of any investment at the moment, why i  say this? This is due to that you are required to pay a tax of up to 30% of your earnings according to the new tax law discuss it now, and you expect to get , for example, 25% as a net profit, does this percentage is good for you? be aware you will lose 20% return on deposit,  In the end, you are required to achieve a profit ratio of about 75% in order to finally get a net profit 25% after paying taxes and the opportunity cost in the loss of the deposit return,,, While you can get a profit of 20% of the bank deposit without any inconvenience or effort or suffering with the staf<<< The question here is any investment will be given 75% of the total profit in order to get 25% as a net profit ????? hope you get my point & all is clear for you. Good Luck

Chocolate Eclair :

I don't blame the Egyptian Goverment because I honestly do not think they realized the dire situation of Egypt when they were elected, I don't think they knew the terrible financial situation the Country was in. I believe the leader of the Country has a good heart and puts his Country first but, there is so so much to do, and it will take years to put things right. The people have got to back their leader and hang on in there,chopping and changing leaders will be a detrimental thing and everyone will suffer.

Ms. Chocolate, our Eclaire, who told you that you need papers to be Egyptians, for whole 20 years you are and you husband for sure, you invested time, money, experience, taxes, etc. You did more than Egyptians my lady. I raise your hat to you and believe me no passport needed neither visa. You are by heart Egyptian.

Best of luck.

I'm an investment banker and would base my perspective on recent market research for industries that have high demand gap and growth too.

Education, real estate and pharmaceuticals.

While, recently and based on the current resolutions pertaining the currency floating and increasing of the interest rates on EGP to establish demand ON EGP against US$.

In the last 3 days, about 5 billions of EGP would taken from other forms of investment by Egyptians and put in deposits with higher rates. That made real estate supply in the market increasing and prices are sloping downwards.

In a nutshell defensive shares are the best, oil, pharmaceutical and food.

Regards

Very interesting read many expats Ive spoken with are feeling the same

Many parts of Egypt rely on tourism, but all the stories leaving Egypt are suggesting that there will be many problems ahead with tourism, especially the visa situation for ex pats retiring to Egypt to live in peace and to experience the cultures, the situation is known around the world and many tourists think the visa situation may apply to them also. There is no explanation to why the visa situation is the way it is. Yes I believe security at the moment is of upmost concern, but with Europeans especially, there are very few situations around the world where white Europeans are convicted or known for terrorism. I understand why Asian tourism is being explored, but in reality it's the Europeans that spend the money in Egypt because their economies provide the most money. Look at Russia and Asians when in Egypt, neither spend much cash, and they are always guarding their holiday money and checking how much they spend. When we were tourists in Egypt above the cost of our holiday money our bills always came to over £2000 for the 2 weeks, we used to come 3 and 4 times a year so our spending in Egypt was alway around £8000 a year. In them days it was 10le to the English Pound making our spending to the local economy 80,000LE every year. Europeans in general cannot care anything for politics intheir own Country,so they are not like,y to get involved in the politics of another Country. Europeans that have retired here or spend most of their time here just hope Egypt grows again, they support the people and all would love to see Egypt start growing fast again. There have been many reports of a bridge over the Red Sea, many think it's a waste of money, how many people from Egypt would use it? Many have not got passports so cannot leave Egypt, and many do not want to leave Egypt. Now we are reading in Al Arham that specialist drugs for cancer or diabetics cannot get insulin to stop them falling ill, these drugs have to be paid for in dollars and due to the value of the Egyptian Pound going down, pharmacies can no longer afford to buy them or stock them. So there is a lot to do and a lot to sort out. There may be many different factions of people living in Egypt but at the end of the day, all the people should support the government, in its quest to improve Egypt. Changing a government because you do not like some of the policies, does no good at all,it's been proven time and time again in Europe. People vote another government in and the on track policies for improvement get thrown out the window and the Country suffers even more.

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