By Hilary Diack
Cairo residents will soon have a hub for budding entrepreneurs in Egypt who need a kick start for their projects. Maadi-based creative and marketing guru Sahar El Arishy is offering a combination of expertise, hands-on experience, and marketing savvy to help aspiring entrepreneurs formulate their ideas, get the product right and learn how to merchandise it. That is where 18.213 steps in. Number 18, Road 213, in the heart of Maadi, will provide all of the above, plus a venue where they can get that vital first exposure. Cairo East Magazine welcomed El Arishy back to town after her sabbatical overseas.
CEM: How did the idea for 18.213 develop, and what is the concept?
SA: 18.213 started out as a very small experiment in 2012, it was the first pop-up venue in Egypt and it grew to be a space where anything is possible. We launched six exceptional events in fashion, art, and jewelry and it grew into a trend. Our newly developed concept can best be described as “event therapy”, combining a unique approach to brand storytelling with a physical experience that is curated with staging, music, ambiance and marketing. We dig deep into the DNA of our entrepreneur’s idea and discover what makes it magical and we create an event experience that is a party for the soul.
How do you see the startup market today?
Something phenomenal took place post 2011 in Egypt. I call it a “creative awakening”. Artists, designers, writers, filmmakers and entrepreneurs all found their voice and nothing could stop that zeal for “making it happen”. It’s a very exciting time to be in Egypt right now and I believe local startups will impact how we work, shop, interact and learn these next few years.
What do you have coming up?
I have a big vision for 18.213, which is to position it as an experiential launch pad for exceptional startup ideas. Egypt’s creative economy is growing rapidly and I want 18.213 to be the hub where it all happens. Our event calendar will be launched with the start of 2016, our space will showcase an eclectic mix of budding entrepreneurs that are starting movements in wellness and healthy eating, and the upcoming trend of learning mosaic art as a way of relaxing the senses and much more.
During your sojourn in Canada, what did you miss most about home?
Deciding to move from Egypt to Montreal in 2012 was a life-changing experience. Leaving my family behind was probably what I missed the most and of course the warmth of the climate and our people.
Number 18, Road 213