Marketplace Middle East airs on CNN International on Sunday 9th  October at 10:45 GST

In this month’s episode of Marketplace Middle East, CNN’s Eleni Giokos travels to Egypt to explore Cairo’s burgeoning start up scene and see how Egyptian entrepreneurs are embracing green business ideas as the country prepares to host COP 27.

Across Egypt, entrepreneurs are finding that investing in green business is a path to profitability. From waste management and electronic waste, to cooking oil, Khalid Ismail, founder and chairman of HIMangel. is investing in start ups that claim to be environmentally friendly. He tells Giokos, “VCs want more the tech part, a quick turnaround, an app, and all of these things. Whereas a more sustainable endeavour takes five-seven years to build and needs cash flow and all of that is typically not on the radar screen of many VCs. So we thought it’s a blue ocean for us to become known as investors in that area.”


As a judge on the Arab version of Shark Tank, Ismail is known as the ‘Egyptian Shark’. His company is on the look out for not only a profitable return, but a green one. He says he aims to inspire young entrepreneurs, “Let me give back to people and the youth and all the experience I learned, give back.”

Ismail says that many entrepreneurs are currently going green in the hope of bigger returns, not just financially, but also altruistically, “If you can turn that environmental need into a financial gain, then you don’t need to convince [companies] that you’re doing this for the environment, you’re doing it still as any enterprise for financial gain, but while you’re doing that, by the way, you are reducing the carbon emission, you are doing good for the environment, you are doing good for society.”

One company Ismail is supporting is Biodiesel Misr. CEO Mahmoud El Rokab tells the programme about the sustainable fuel, “I hope that Egypt, the country that I belong to, will be the largest producer of biofuels in the world. It’s not one company, it’s the country.”

Analysts are forecasting a surge in private investments and exports from Egypt. Chris Schroeder, co-founder of Next Billion Ventures discusses Egypt’s success, “This is a new era of success in Egypt now and also through the Middle East and emerging markets. Egyptian companies are looking not just at Egypt, but the region, and beyond it. We have to remember that while there are infrastructure challenges in any emerging market, and pretty much anywhere overall in places like education, health, and pop tech, technology, and elements of financial stuff, at the end of the day that’s where the opportunity lies and I think Egyptian entrepreneurs are leaning into that quite seriously.”

Giokos also speaks to Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation. She discusses entrepreneurship and innovation in the country, “We have a demographic which is quite impressive, 60% of the population below the age of 30. Innovation and creativity exist access to digital spaces there and therefore, what we’ve seen over the past few years, a very vibrant and developing startup scene.”