Closed: Call for Solutions – Egypt

CFYE is seeking to co-invest in innovative, private sector-led partnerships that aim to address the youth unemployment challenge by creating, matching, and improving jobs for youth.  Please direct any queries to For more information on our first Call for Solutions in Egypt, please visit our Egypt Portfolio Page.

Deadline – 4 September (EOD, local time) 2023

The Challenge

Egypt’s population stands at 104.2 million, with a workforce constituting 28% of the total population. The unemployment rate for Egyptian youth (15-24 years of age) is approximately 24% (15.2% males and 57.8% females). The Egyptian economy has been recovering steadily since the January 25th revolution in 2011 but has suffered several shocks over the last few years starting with Covid-19 and up to the Russian-Ukrainian war. Under such circumstances, unemployment increased and especially among the youth.

Egypt has a youthful population, with a median age of 24.6 years.  Youth of working age (15–34 years) accounted for an estimated 37.5% of the total population. However, Youth underemployment is a big concern for two main reasons. First, many youth – in particular women – do not look for formal employment or jobs, nor do they seek work abroad. In fact, many young women withdraw from the labor market when they get married or have children.

Second, the informal sector absorbs most of the jobs in which youth work, often below their qualification level. Hence, despite all the improvements that are taking place at the governmental and policy levels, the jobs market is not growing fast enough for the surge of new entrants to the labor market. Thus, there is an urgent need for new solutions for youth, particularly female, employment especially when the labor force in Egypt is both readily available and highly affordable by global standards.

Call for Solutions

This is CFYE’s third Call for Solutions in Egypt, following two successful Calls for Solutions, the first in 2020 and the second in 2022. Awardees of the second Call for Solutions are yet to be announced. CFYE will collaborate with private sector firms in any industry that can generate employment opportunities for youth, especially women, provided their business models are scalable and sustainable. Proposals for initiatives/projects should address specific challenges related to creating scalable business solutions for increased and improved job opportunities for youth, with a specific focus on women.

Key Dates:

  1. Launch of the Call for Solutions: Egypt’s second Call for Solutions will launch on 29 July 2023
  2. Webinars: A webinar will be hosted during August to share CFYE’s selection priorities in Egypt, eligibility criteria and details on the application process. An announcement with registration details will be made available on CFYE’s LinkedIn page. A recording of the webinar will be published on this page soon after the webinar. A second information webinar may be scheduled (if needed) soon after to provide a refresher on the selection priorities and the application process
  3. Deadline: All Concept Notes are expected to be submitted by the end of 4 September 2023 and any submittals post this date will not be considered.

Pre-Requisites for Call 6

This Call for Solutions will prioritise projects operating in either the digital and/or green streams. These two streams are defined as follows:


This includes companies engaged in ICT, offshoring services, e-commerce, online employment support services, digitization of business solutions (sector-agnostic), and can also encompass AgriTech, FinTech, EdTech, HealthTech, where companies aim to digitize their business offerings.


This includes companies involved in waste management, recycling, renewable energy, agriculture and agribusiness, sustainable construction, electric mobility, eco-tourism, circular economy (sector-agnostic), where companies seek to implement green practices throughout their value chain.

Eligibility Criteria

The following eligibility criteria will apply:

Applicant criteria

  • Private sector-led: Only projects presented by legally registered private sector firms are eligible. Applicants can either be individual or consortia. Consortia must be led by private sector firms and can include organizations from the civil society and knowledge institutions as consortium partners. The consortium should include two or more partners
  • Business maturity stage: The lead applicant needs to be in their scale up or growth stage with at least 3 years of business operations. Activities presented in solutions need to be tested concepts. Applicants must have the financial capability to successfully operate their proposed projects.
  • Leverage/financial capability: The minimum total project value should be €400,000, with a minimum contribution from CFYE of €200,000. This contribution should be matched by a co-investment from the applicant that is at least equal to the grant requested from CFYE. In-kind contributions are allowed but should not exceed 30% of the leveraged resources
  • Consortium composition: The Lead Applicant must be a private sector firm. The Lead Applicant is required to demonstrate that they can work with their consortium members, showing previous successful working collaborations is A PLUS. Solution implementation and co-financing are the responsibility of the Lead Applicant

The following are not mandatory criteria but are considered as a plus for the applicant:

  • Actively support women: Women-led businesses are actively encouraged to apply for CFYE (A PLUS)
  • Presence outside the Greater Cairo area: Applicants with nationwide presence and operations (outside the Greater Cairo area) are actively encouraged to apply (A PLUS)

Project/solution criteria

  • Minimum number of youth focused jobs: A minimum of 500 decent jobs (age range 18-35 years) with a mix of 2-3 job types (Create, Match, Improve).
    • The recommended mix should be 50% Create job type, no more than 30% Improve job type, solutions focusing on 100% Match job type are ineligible
    • Jobs can result from both direct and indirect employment
    • Employment formats can include wage (full time and part time) employment, dependent self-employment and self-employment
  • Priority jobs for women: Projects should aim to create jobs for youth aiming at a minimum of 40% of the target jobs for women
  • Clear pathways to decent employment:
  • Minimum employment age is 18 years old (according to the Egyptian Labor Law). Average gross monthly income no less than the national minimum wage with a maximum of 48 hours/week. Proof of employment will be required for a definite number of months (to be communicated at later stages but a minimum of 4 months)
  • Additionality: CFYE will only provide support to solutions/projects/initiatives that would not be implemented within the same timelines, at the same scale, or with the same level of impact without CFYE’s assistance.
  • Sustainability: As part of the design of the project/solution presented, the Applicant will be required to demonstrate how their initiative will become independent of external funding as part of their business case. It is of importance that projects have the necessary means to sustain their revenue, profitability and their job outcomes beyond CFYE’s funding
  • Consortium solutions: Projects presented by a Consortium must be coherent, complementing and integrated building on the business models of each of the consortium partners.
  • Duration of project: The duration of the project/initiative will be for 2 years

Job types/outcomes

The following section explains the different job types that are expected to be generated through the projects submitted by Applicants.


  • Young people gain employment as a result of newly created decent work (job opportunity that did not exist before CFYE intervention) and income opportunities
  • Young people gain employment who did not have work and income at all before CFYE intervention

Channels: Jobs created directly through CFYE Implementing Partners (IPs) as well as jobs created indirectly in the CFYE IPs value chain (up and down the value chain). Created jobs can be full time or part time.

Below are some examples of jobs that fall under the CREATE category:

  • A new production line is built and young people are employed in newly added roles as a result of CFYE intervention
  • Young people with no previous employment are hired as a result of CFYE intervention
  • New self-employment ventures started by young people receiving entrepreneurship support (financial and non-financial)


Young people who are currently employed are hired/contracted into other decent jobs through CFYE supported job placement/matching services following a CFYE skill development intervention.

Below are some examples of jobs that fall under the MATCH category:

  • Young people trained to work in the hospitality industry who are hired into jobs at hotels or restaurants following the training
  • Young people receiving jobs through a Fund-supported digital matching platform.


Young people experience direct tangible improvements in the quality of the work/roles they already have (existing jobs/employees) in terms of income, benefits, working hours, work/life balance, health and safety, social protection and job security etc…

Below are some examples of jobs that fall under the IMPROVE category:

  • Increase in average monthly income or salary as a result of CFYE intervention
  • Promotions resulting from a CFYE intervention
  • Employees of supported IPs going from having no formal agreement with their employer to a written contract specifying terms of employment
  • Change from having inadequate preventive measures to protect them from workplace hazards to having appropriate measures in place
  • Establishing a nursery withing the workplace to support young female mother employees

Want to apply?

Download the application brochure below. You can find the link to our application portal in Concept Note Template and Guidance.

Relevant Documentation

Want to know what to expect in our application process? Please have a look at the below documents.

Competitive Process

The Challenge Fund for Youth Employment will apply a competitive process to select the projects that will receive a grant. That means that only those projects that present a clear and convincing pathway to employment, lead to significant and sustainable results in terms of decent employment for youth, with a focus on young women, and can demonstrate high leverage will be selected.

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