Taking what they learned from the Start Up program at INJAZ Egypt, four young women started a home-decor company, which produces furniture and lighting products. But what makes the company eco-friendly? Dawayer Studio’s production process involves salvaging agricultural waste from rice production and recycling it into sheets they can fashion into their products.

Dawayer team members applied to INJAZ Egypt’s Start Up program armed with only an idea and a background in design— specifically, three in product design and one in graphic design. After they were accepted into the program, they attended Start Up School, where they learned the skills necessary to manage a startup, including time and money-management, marketing, pitching, and team-building.

Dawayer was also assigned a mentor, who helped the team hone its networking skills. Without a prototype, as many Start Up peers had already developed, the Dawayer team had some catching up to do. But they devoted themselves to learning business skills and working on product designs. Before long, they had a business plan, financial statements, designs and prototypes, and a remarkable company... which went on to win the INJAZ Al-Arab Young Entrepreneurs Competition (YEC), sponsored by FedEx, Citi and other local donors.

During the rigorous three-day competition, Dawayer created a professional product display, presented their business concept, and met with judges, who were impressed by the team’s concept and prototypes. As a result, Dawayer became the first Egyptian team to ever win the Middle East and North Africa YEC competition.