When we found out about The District - Cairo's first co-working and collaboration space - we had to find out more about the people aiming to change the way we work in Egypt.
We've all been there: you hate your colleagues and your boss is driving you nuts to the point where you're considering a swift exit via the window. Well fear not, another non-fatal option is at hand. Count to ten and leave by the front door to The District work space in Maadi. The concept is simple: a cool, comfortable, productive space flowing with creativity and new ideas, allowing you to work smart and meet like-minded saavy-types and generally make stuff happen - on your own terms.
The man behind the project, Mazen Helmy, claims that the project is already eating away at the daily drudge and giving Cairo's best and brightest a chance to show the old boys who's boss. "The idea has been evolving with time. It started in 2010 when I realised that people didn't have a place to go to where they could feel inspired and become more productive," he says. "Our space is 1000 sqm now, and our our community is growing significantly."
Helmy, who himself is tipped as one of the region's most successful entrepreneurs by Forbes, is certainly no friend of the old-style daily drudge. "Office spaces are really misused and corporate environments are often a form of imprisonment. Cubicles, ringing phones and a stressful ambiance may not bring out the best in you," he explains, and we reckon many of you relate. "Real visionaries, successful business men, and artists, for example, do not have a singular place to go to and network."
A hub for individuals looking for a co-working space, "with social capital at the core of its operation," The District is a briliant place to disappear too and collaborate in a new, stimulating environment. They also offer meeting facilities for freelancers and start-ups who may not have an official or permanent office space. The District, which provides fast internet facilities, hot coffee and even lunchtime events, is set to change the working dynamic for many Cairenes as the capital prepares to become one of the region's top smart cities. And it seems just about anybody is welcome to join the conversation, changing the way Egypt REALLY works. "Our community hosts everybody from social entrepreneurs to artists and businessmen, even students," adds Helmy.
"I see co-working spaces as a natural response to what people actually want and need rather than how they should work. In fact we have company owners who have started to visit the space regularly; leaving their own offices behind," says Helmy. Meanwhile, the project's growth shows no signs of slowing down. "For the past 3 years we have been growing and improving steadily. I believe we will keep improving and growing in different locations, affecting different communities. We hope to always have a positive impact on any society we interact with."
For more information on The District Egypt click here.