It’s day two of the NextGen boot camp for young Egyptian entrepreneurs in Cairo, and the day starts off on a disappointing note—four teams dropped out of this week’s event, forfeiting the business competition. I couldn’t believe anyone would give up such an amazing opportunity, and was told the reasons were rooted in the realities of life here. Some of the entrepreneurs couldn’t make it because of the disastrous transportation system in Cairo, while others had been called into work.
I felt deeply for them, because I realized that it couldn’t have been an easy choice to make. It boiled down to a matter of their current jobs versus their future entrepreneurial dreams. Their dilemma weighed on me as I looked over the keynote I’d be delivering in a few moments. My talk was to be about how to make a business viable—the theme of the day. My gut reaction was to say “A great idea and apparently solid transportation!” But, as I looked around the room at the now familiar faces eager to hear my story, I decided to get personal and shared my own journey in a presentation called “Pursuit, Passion, and Perils: The Story of One Young Entrepreneur.”