Hailing from the rural city of Sohag, the 27-year-old entrepreneur set out to defy gender roles in her community and create renewable energy, using agricultural waste from farmlands. Her startup, Biomix, has now expanded to 12 cities.
Breaking barriers in Egypt’s conservative rural south, embarking in a male-dominated field, and disrupting deep rooted practices to spark environmental change; she stepped out of her small town of Sohag to travel the corners of Egypt and find outlets for her startup to thrive. No wall was to high for Shaimaa Omar, the 27-year-old engineer from Upper Egypt who is transforming agricultural waste into biogas with her startup, Biomix.
It’s almost 4pm in this city 500 km south from Cairo, where the Nile is quiet and the living pace is strikingly more peaceful than the capital city’s overpopulated chaos. Sohag, whose economy is mostly based on agriculture, was the starting point for the young chemical engineer, who came up with a process to turn waste from farmlands and cattle to create renewable energy.
“I started by dealing with farmers; I went to villages and proposed our business idea. They have animal or agriculture waste by nature, and they you don’t use it; they generally just throw it on a site. But that thing they are throwing away could allow them to make money, transforming into gas which can be used to cook food and organic fertilizers to replace chemical fertilizers they are using,” says the 27-year-old entrepreneur, just as she finishes giving a talk at the Techne Drifts, an entrepreneurial roadshow that has been touring Upper Egypt and the Nile Delta to empower and inspire entrepreneurs in Egypt’s remote cities.
[Photo via CairoScene YouTube channel]