Cairo – Egypt’s first University-based startup incubator and accelerator, the Venture Lab at The American University in Cairo (AUC) has been recently recognized as the Best Accelerator/Incubator Program in North Africa by the Global Startup Awards, a competition based in Copenhagen that reaches 124 countries. AUC Venture Lab (V-Lab) now sits among the continent’s top 60 digital future shapers — selected from a pool of over 7,000 nominations.

“We are honored to be recognized as the best accelerator in North Africa, as it only means that our startups will also be the best in the region,” said Ayman Ismail, Abdul Latif Jamil Endowed Chair of Entrepreneurship and AUC Venture Lab Director.

The award came just as the lab graduates another cohort of 21 innovative tech-based startups from its Startup and Fintech Accelerators, and as it opens applications for future cycles.

“This recognition comes at a very special time,” Ismail added, “This year, we have graduated our biggest cohorts to date, celebrated the first unicorn exit by one of our graduates and revamped our offerings to empower entrepreneurs better than ever.”

The V-Lab has supported over 200 graduate startups that have gained LE3 billion in investments and created 8,500 jobs, leaving a lasting impact on the greater community and regional development ecosystem.

The Global Startup Awards are powered by, which aims to connect different stakeholders to facilitate vertical innovation in partnership with the Global Innovation Initiative Group (GIIG) Africa Fund.

The Startup Accelerator is supported by Arab African International Bank (AAIB), Danish-Arab Partnership Programme, DROSOS FOUNDATION, Hivos Foundation, Mountain View, Oxfam and Shell Egypt. The Fintech Accelerator is powered by the Commercial International Bank (CIB Egypt) and in partnership with International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Mastercard.

Founded in 1919, The American University in Cairo (AUC) is a leading English-language, American-accredited institution of higher education and center of the intellectual, social, and cultural life of the Arab world. It is a vital bridge between East and West, linking Egypt and the region to the world through scholarly research, partnerships with academic and research institutions and study abroad programs. 

The University offers 40 undergraduate, 52 master’s and two PhD programs rooted in a liberal arts education that encourages students to think critically and find creative solutions to conflicts and challenges facing both the region and the world. 

An independent, nonprofit, politically non-partisan, non-sectarian and equal opportunity institution, AUC is fully accredited in Egypt and the United States.