RISE Fellowship Program
In 2014, RISE launched its flagship program, a 2-year fellowship for growth-stage social enterprises. This page describes our program. We invite you to learn more by reading about our three stage process, and the impact we are making on the ground in Egypt.
In 2017, RISE Egypt graduated its 1st class of RISE Fellows, a significant milestone in our journey. The RISE Fellows continue on as part of the RISE family, co-creating what will be the RISE Alumni Fellows, and learn what it will mean to pay it forward to the next classes and next generations of social impact leaders in Egypt. The positive footprint RISE leaves on the world is closely linked to the positive impact of each of the social enterprises with which we have worked, and it was an honor to kick off our work in Egypt with these amazing entrepreneurs.
Beyond innovative leaders, they are wonderful human beings, and we value the deep character, commitment, honesty, and resilience each and every one of our fellows brings to our community and to Egypt.
In recent months we have spent time evaluating and tweaking the fellowship program to prepare for taking in our next class. We will be releasing applications for the 2nd class of RISE Fellows in late 2018. The application will be available at our website and announced through our social media and quarterly newsletter.
The goal of the RISE program is to support the scale-up of for-profit companies and non-profit organizations that are addressing challenges of national development in innovative, entrepreneurial, and sustainable ways.
We seek to be a force-multiplier through our focused investments in technical assistance that leverage a wide network of global experts across domains who work closely with fellows on specific deliverables throughout the fellowship period.
RISE takes a partnership approach - we do not see ourselves as “service providers” to the entrepreneurs, but rather as partners in the ultimate goal of creating sustainable and measurable impact on job creation and development in Egypt.
Because we approach our work with a philosophy of respect through true partnership, we have been able to grow organically, authentically, and rapidly in a relatively short period of time.
We have grown not only as entrepreneurs, but as leaders, and as a community.
We welcome you to learn more about our work with each of the RISE fellows by clicking on their logos below.
How the program works?
RISE Egypt takes a participatory, evidence-based approach to working with our fellows, in order to ensure our work together tackles the most critical challenges facing their enterprises and stays relevant over what is considered a very long period of time in the life of a start-up: 2 years!
At RISE, we believe that a key gap in the current entrepreneurial ecosystem in Egypt is in the scale-up process, with start-ups that have already proven they have a valuable service or product in the market, but that have not yet reached their high-growth potential. We believe that partnering with growth-stage enterprises throughout this critical period will enable thousands of new jobs to be created, across sectors that are making critical development impact in the country.
We also believe that bringing together top technical expertise from around the world, as well as a focus on impact measurement, will ensure that the work undertaken adds real value to the quality of life of individuals and communities across Egypt.
This work requires strong relationships of deep trust and understanding. To support this approach, we have developed a 3-stage process that allows us to be iterative and flexible, to listen consistently, and to work together in leveraging top global resources that enable each team to take their work to the next level. For a more in depth breakdown of our process, read on:
Fellowship Orientation & Deep Dive Needs Assessments
RISE staff conduct in-depth on-site needs assessments with each team to identify two growth-stage challenges that are crucial to overcome in the organization’s current trajectory. A 6-month plan of action is mutually agreed upon. RISE fellows take a group retreat to launch the program.
RISE then ‘shops’ in its network (and/or attracts new network members!) to meet the needs that have been identified. A match is made, with a focus on outlining a framework for project deliverables and specific trainings, meetings, or learning partnerships that will be established in this period.
This 2-3 week experience gives fellows a chance to meet and develop relationships with their RISE Advisors during an intensive period of working together outside of the Egyptian context. This enables relationships to form and allows fellows a chance to get away from their everyday responsibilities of work and gain exposure to new ways of thinking and working in their field.
RISE also takes this opportunity to facilitate group trainings in areas of cross-cutting importance such as design-thinking, branding, governance, and leadership. Global stage events are also organized in which fellows have the opportunity to present their work to experts, investors, policymakers, and the public outside of Egypt.
The same process of deep dives with each team is repeated, this time by phone, with a focus on measuring progress from stage 1 and allowing for new goals to be identified for the coming 6-12 months, which are again mutually agreed upon. This is the heart of the fellowship, with long-term projects launched between RISE fellows and advisors.
In some cases, advisors remain the same; in other cases, new advisors are assigned if the needs of the team have moved into different domains.
This 1-2 week experience enables global advisors to work directly with teams on site in Egypt. This provides invaluable learning for advisors to understand the context in which the entrepreneurs operate and to get a more intimate understanding of the work with which they are engaged. Cross-cutting trainings and events are also planned.
Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E)
Long term projects are managed and metrics are assigned for tracking the impact of the work RISE is doing with each team in terms of accelerating growth of the social enterprise. A focus on internal capacity-building with each team to support ongoing M&E is also put in place so they can continue to report on their impact (social, environmental, financial) with various stakeholders.
Reporting & Policy / Investor Roundtables
The final stage of the fellowship (the last 6 months) are focused on consolidating information on growth and impact and reporting this progress to various stakeholders, including potential investors, policymakers, and the public. The goal of this final stage is to attract further resources to enable sustained growth over time, to catalyze strategic partnerships, and to promote system-wide changes at the policy level to improve the ecosystem in which the entrepreneurs are operating in Egypt.
Wrap-up & Reflections
RISE fellows and staff take a final retreat to reflect on the experience, consolidate learnings, and identify areas for improvement. Fellows transition into the alumni program - once in the RISE family, always in the RISE family.