"Aim High, Stay Grounded" Riseup summit 2018



For years I wanted to attend RISEUP SUMMIT, but every year there was something that stopped me from going. Not this year, this year I took a decision that no matter what I will go and attend. I know that I took a lot of my rest time to manage between the summit and another course I was taking, but I know it was totally worth it. I have to say for the organizers you sure did a great job, despite few comments that I will talk about later the complete event was phenomenal for me, and that's coming for someone who loves those kinds of events and who almost never miss a TEDx event.




“Aim high, Stay grounded”

The way I see this slogan is more than inspiring, motivating and realistic at the same time. The way I see it is you should Aim high, aim high with your dreams and your passion, never settle or for less, but at the same time stay grounded, make sure you are connected to everything around you and never lose focus, make sure that as high as your dreams are you are centered and you don't get lost in them…


For those who couldn't attend and for those who did, here is my full experience for the complete 3 days event. When you enter the venue, you get hit by the theme color right away, The yellow. And for those who love the energy and its signs and color effect on it, the yellow is the color of awakening, inspiration, intelligence, creativity, playful, optimistic, easy-going, spiritual awareness, optimism, and hopefulness; positive excitement about new ideas. So there you go, positivity and inspiration where there from the early beginning. My only concern about the early moments is that the gates got opened over 45 mins late so it was for sure irritating, but the smiles and apologies of the staff and volunteers were enough to make it all go away.






I also have to say, upon registration we were given this map of the event with all the venues and stages location and speakers with the timing of every talk and every workshop, and there was also what I call the best thing handed in the event which was the Startup Manifesto, which basically is a magazine that contain A LOT of real startups stories telling the challenges that faced them and how they dealt with, and I believe for every one who is hoping to have a startup, this is a goldmine.


1st of all the opening was amazing, from the entrance organization to the venue setup, from the amazing host Mark Hanna who did the most amazing job breaking the ice and entertaining and energizing the crowd, to the amazing selection of the opening talk “THE MAGIC OF FAILURE” given by Kamran ElAhian, he said these words that really inspired me at the begging of the day

“Every champion fail and fail and never give up”.


The event was divided into 3 main stages which were capital, creative and tech stages. For most of my time, I was spending at the Capital stage since its more relevant to my working field, yet many of the other stages talks grabbed my attention on several occasions and made me go and watch them. I really don’t know if they intended to do that or they just got really lucky, but I loved how they very interestingly managed to make the talks al diversified and wide while at the same time still have the core message. “Fear, Fool, Fail” seems to be the base of most of the talks.


I will only mention a few talks and speakers because for me to mention everyone and everything that I liked and fell in love with I would need books, not just a blog post.


Let me say this, when I downloaded the Riseup Summit app, (again despite few comments on the app itself) I was really excited to make my own agenda, and I was facing a huge problem, this was the time I wished cloning was an option so I would be able to attend more than one talk at the same time, because even if a talk you are not interested in its main topic, somehow the speakers knew how to hook you up.



I know Dr. Farouk El Baz was on the last day, but I can’t not mention him and his talk 1st. I had the privilege of meeting him once before a couple of years ago at the 1st Egyptian Youth Forum in Sharm, since then and even earlier than that I had always been looking up to him and proud of having him as a role model, If you was one of the lucky attendees who got to watch him live, you sure saw that his talk was the busiest of all talks on all stages on the 3 days…

With the title “Shoot for the stars” Dr. Farouk did, in fact, transform us into a completely new place…





Ghana Wali and Farah Wali were, in my opinion, the 2nd hit of the event, right after Dr. Farouk. “The Interplay between Fashion and Design” was such an amazing talk, especially that I am already one of the most supporters of Ghana and as a youth (or so I call myself) I always find her inspirational and motivational, but that's not just me, I mean organizers had to keep asking people to give her and Farah some space after the talk. They literally energized the crowd in so many ways.




There was also the amazing panel of “Africa’s Lions” with Sam Gichuru CEO of Nailab and Jason Pau Special Assistant for International Business Affairs at Alibaba inc, it was so infighting and so optimistic, I had the privilege not only to get a personal quote from Mr. Jason as I will show you in a moment, but he got to answer my question from the screen about what is missing Egyptian startups to become as successful as Alibaba… In his own words he said within his talk “Look at what we are doing in China, learn from us, copy us, because we are coming from very similar situations”, and talking about Alibaba he said “a few things about Alibaba it is 19 years old, so you can see it in 2 ways, 19 years old is kind of old for startups, kind of old for an internet company. But the way we see it is that 19 years old you are now an adult, so we have to take responsibilities”




I can go on and and and I would never get bored talking about the talks but I am sure Riseup will have all the talks online soon hopefully , to be quick the last talk I want to mention is the “dare to Fly” talk, and man was he super amazing. Listening to a man telling you that fear is normal, fear is actually a good thing. Listening to the person who dared to skydive over the pyramids, I believe for me personally I got connected since I started confronting my fears the same ways he faced his, I look at it, embrace it and get over with it.


With the spirit of networking and getting to know people more, I had the chance to chat with two lovely gentlemen and asked them about the event and how'd they receive it:


Mahmoud Sultan from Egypt:


- I'm a business analyst at Nissan, basically, part of what we do is maintaining Nissan's current market share and increasing it to become the first brand in Egypt in the coming years.

Perform profitability studies for the new models that might enter the Egyptian market and test customers appetite for them, moreover, we upgrade the existing models with some tweaks and modifications


- to me, Riseup is like the annual entrepreneurial hub in the middle east that brings together people of the same mindset and passion regardless of their businesses or even if they are here to learn and explore. I see it a very good place to widen your network and grasp some understanding of the market trends and what people want. On top of that I'm actually trying to start something of my own it's kinda long but in conclusion, it's a service that creates you a digital identity that would make many of the things we use today from the past.


- I found it really interesting and I learned a lot at every second of the day plus the positive vibes that exists all around the place. People are actually passionate about what they are doing and everyone is open to talk and get to know you, which is a thing you wouldn't normally find outside such a community.



Geza Molnar from Denmark:


I work for a company called rainmaking, which is an innovation company headquarters in Denmark and we help startups to work with large organizations


This is my 1st time at Riseup, and I heard about it from my Egyptian friends and colleges that this is the place to be when it comes to the local ecosystem and when it comes to getting to know the entrepreneurs and people who are open-minded. currently am looking for new employees to the company and I believe this is a good place to find them.


I already did set up a lot of meetings and people here are really good at connecting with each other so that's great.




I was also lucky enough and privileged to catch Mr. Jason Pau who is Special Assistant for International Business Affairs at Alibaba inc, and have a brief lovely exclusive comment from him with him:




- What do you think about Riseup Summit this year? and how did you see the audience and the experience as a whole?


- It's amazing, so far it's amazing, this is the most dynamic entrepreneur-focused event that I have probably ever been to. I am really surprised they integrated fully the local communities, and there are people from 20 different countries as I heard are here today, so that's unusual. Most conferences like this do not integrate local communities and local solutions, and there are almost never global. So this is great, I mean the feeling people are interested, this is not just a branding event, I am very impressed. I am envious, I wish we can be like this in China.



Here are some of my favorite quotes from the event:


Every champion fail and fail and never give up

“THE MAGIC OF FAILURE” given by Kamran ElAhian


Done is better than perfect (facebook)

Cracking the Facebook code for creatives (Bart Van De Vel)


Everyone should have a team or a support system

(Rania el mashat)


Entrepreneurs who are social by default are not social Entrepreneurs. You should design a social environment in your company

Social Entrepreneurs, how to raise money (Larissa best)


66% of startups fail because of soft issues

Your heart and mind actually matters to investors (Patrick Riley)


Turn inwards, If I took care about everyone and not myself its flowed

Your heart and mind actually matters to investors (Patrick Riley)


You need to be focused on you. Practice and be kind to yourself

Your heart and mind actually matters to investors (Patrick Riley)


Pyramid base is fear and top is the success, no success can be built without a fear base

The art of storytelling: The Visual, The vocal, and the Hilarious (Hisham Mansour)


A complete story that you feel reached all people

The art of storytelling: The Visual, The vocal, and the Hilarious (Hisham Mansour)


I feel fear, but I like fear, it makes me survive. I don't like it so I like to confront my fear. I accept it and take action...

Dare to fly (Cedric Dumont)


unicorns are for show dragons brings the dough

Start, Grow, Sell (Khaled Bishara)


If you are going to fail, fail fast...

Start, Grow, Sell (Khaled Bishara)


What motivates you matter the most

Building up startups with purpose (Amal Enan)


Why are you really doing this

Building up startups with purpose (Amal Enan)


Do what you like, and the money is a byproduct

Founders and Stories (Asma Ahmed)



I want to say that a lot of people ask me always why do I like to attends such events, I believe the answer to this question lies in the article here, whats not to love :)


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