U.S.-Egypt Technology Business Accelerator Initiative Competition: Four Egyptian Technologies Chosen as Winners
U.S.-Egypt Cooperation on Science and Technology (S&T)
In 1995, the United States and Egypt signed a formal Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement, facilitating scientific collaboration between the two countries in a wide variety of areas, including biotechnology, agriculture, health, information technology, clean energy, environmental and manufacturing technologies, and entrepreneurship. This close cooperation on S&T has benefited both countries over the years. During the past year, much effort has focused on commercializing S&T through the application of a technology accelerator.
Technology business accelerators provide entrepreneurs with reliable partners, provide financial means to create market-ready products from prototypes, assist in developing business plans, and attract venture capital interest. Technology business accelerators focus aggressively on market drivers for selecting technologies that can be developed into business opportunities. This approach applies proven processes and practices to speed up growth of technology-based enterprises that are regionally focused and globally competitive from the outset. Business accelerators strive to overcome traditional barriers to success including lack of access to capital and to markets firstly by attracting investment and secondly by using innovative proactive marketing and business development processes in key markets. Finally, U.S. and local business partners assertively infuse the appropriate know-how to ensure that these new enterprises are successful.
Technology Competition Held in Egypt
Most recently, the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Embassy in Cairo sponsored a competition among Egyptian candidates with new technologies. The winning technologies were judged to have the highest potential for successful international commercialization. The Science and Technology Development Fund (STDF), a part of the Egyptian Ministry of Scientific Research, and the IC² institute in Austin, Texas, managed the competition.
10 Semifinalists Chosen From Field of 45
In the initial phase, 45 technologies from among 400 scientific collaborations over ten years were analyzed to determine those that had the most commercialization potential. On November 24, 2008, four technology finalists were announced in Cairo, Egypt. The four technologies judged to have the highest potential for successful international commercialization will be awarded a minimum of $15,000 each by the STDF, as well as ongoing support and training to help bring the technologies to market.
The Four Technology Finalists
Regeneration of Alveolar Bone in Advanced Periodontitis by Tissue Engineering. The product is a compound which, when applied to the dead root of a tooth (for instance after a root canal), can regenerate the pulp creating a living tooth.
Low-Fat Soft Cheese. Inventor has developed a bacterial culture that can produce a low-fat cheese with the same texture and taste as full-fat cheese.
Controlling Plant Diseases via Whitefly Vectors. A genetically modified plant to battle whitefly disease can be developed in Egypt for use in the U.S. and the developing world. A prime advantage of this technology is that no protein is produced, which means that bio-safety approval will be easier to achieve.
Hydrogel Immobilization of Enzymes. A thermally stable, solid support for immobilization of enzymes that is more affordable than products currently available. The immobilized enzymes can be used in industrial or lab processes and can be reused repeatedly.
Discussions are ongoing between STDF and IC² for a larger program that will involve advancing Egyptian innovation globally and creating infrastructure in Egypt through training. This program accomplished its objective of demonstrating that Egyptian innovation can be globally competitive. Clearly, the conclusion that can be drawn from the program is that there is a treasure of competitive technologies as well as motivated and talented innovators and entrepreneurs in Egypt.