Operating in 10 countries in the GCC and MENA region, Victory Link is dedicated to delivering innovated digital marketing solutions to every business need. Engy el-Saban, CEO of Victorylink, speaks to Egypt Today about how the current pandemic has influenced the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector in Egypt, the company’s social responsibility contributions at this critical period, and her personal experience in a male-dominated field.
From your point of view as a market expert in the field, what is the impact of COVID-19 crisis on the new Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector in Egypt?
The global COVID-19 outbreak has brought the world to an almost complete standstill; it has directly impacted businesses in every sector.Its impact on the ICT sector was significantly high, especially with the cancelation of local and international events that provide significant exposure opportunities for new businesses, products and services.
Despite the initial setback, the ICT sector has also greatly benefited from the rise of digitization as a necessity. We are witnessing many precautionary measures across the world, encouraging the adoption of digital methods that would provide more sustainable solutions. As more and more businesses, institutions and citizens turn towards a digital reliant lifestyle, this will definitely require a stronger infrastructure to which the ICT sector contributes massively. This has led the sector to strive now more than ever, in order to foster new technologies and methods to provide innovative digital and technical solutions that would help us all sail past this period.
What are your expectations for the Egyptian ICT market in the upcoming period?
The ICT industry in Egypt is one of the most prominent sectors that the government has been investing heavily in throughout the last period to achieve its digital transformation goals.Our world is getting more dependent on technology each day because of how fast it evolves. Then comes the pandemic, which has further increased the demand on this crucial sector. This has made it clear now more than ever how it has become indispensable with the unpredictable world we live in.
Collaboration between the public and private sectors is becoming more and more pronounced, to increase the pace of the full implementation of digital transformation in Egypt with both parties supporting each other with the needed resources, services and initiatives. This step is extremely essential to expand the ICT sector by integrating new digital tools and services to empower business expansion and growth.
As a leading hub for various digital services, how did you use these services to fulfill your corporate social responsibility role to the community?
We have been very busy since the outbreak when it comes to our CSR initiatives. We are always eager to shed light on new ideas and initiatives through our services. In light of supporting the government’s plans aimed at raising the awareness of our society about the novel Coronavirus, we have collaborated with the Ministry of Health by donating three million SMSs to support them in their latest awareness campaign. The content of the SMSsis provided by the ministry aiming at notifying Egyptians of accurate precautionary measures tobe taken to combat the virus.
We have also collaborated with the Ministry of Culture by donating two million SMSs that contribute to their latest digital campaign “Stay at Home…Culture at Your Fingertips”. The SMS campaigns aim to share with the citizens the ministry’s official YouTube channel. Through this channel, people could stay entertained at home by streaming extraordinary entertaining content, including theatrical performances, concerts and movies.
Moreover, we have recently donated our short code service “95126” to Al Fayoum Oncology Center to facilitate the process of collecting donations for cancer patients. In addition, we provided them with 500K targeted SMSs to help them launch several campaigns targeting people with certain criteria to participate in the donation process through our short code service.
We donated another short code service “911111”to the Supreme Council of University Hospitals to help them gather donations from all over Egypt. Each SMS sent to the short code will contribute to the development of 113 hospitals and cure over 21 million patients in Egypt.
We have also donated two dedicated short codes to Ahalina, an initiative launched by Egypt's cabinet that aims to provide direct financial support to irregular workers who are affected financially by the corona outbreak. The first short code service “2030” will help Ahalina gather donations and the second one “142” will allow citizens to check their eligibility for Ahalina program. Adding to that, we also provided one million Bulk SMSs to facilitate communications between Ahalina and irregular workers.
It is worth mentioning that our vision at VictoryLink makes us keen on utilizing our resources and services to be part of our social responsibility activities, especially when it comes to supporting the efforts of our government.
We have heard about the exclusive iRead activities on social media, can you tell us more about them, and the main purpose behind these initiatives?
In order to keep people entertained while staying at home during quarantine, iRead launched a variety of activities and competitions on its social media platforms to encourage people to unleash their hidden talents while they are committed to social distancing.
We have launched three competitions for children to give them the opportunity to discover their own talents at an early age and embrace them. These competitions varied between recitation, writing and drawing; and winners got a voucher worth LE5000 from Seif Stores.
Moreover, iRead hosted a short story competition that allowed the contestants to reflect on their quarantine days under the name of “Corona Nights”. The contestants were asked to write a 2,000-word story in a genre of their own choice including comics, horror, romance, science fiction or even police novels. The best 20 stories will be chosen to be published by Dar El-Shorouk in a book titled “Corona Nights”.
iRead also utilized social media platforms to bring together its fans with their favorite authors; Ahmed Mourad, Youssef Zidan, and Mohamed Sadek and many more answered their questions in their weekly virtual meeting.
Additionally, iRead launched the second edition of iRead Awards with a photography competition “Behind Masks”. All interested photographers were asked to submit photos that reflect their life under quarantine as an attempt to record this period. Winners will get their photos displayed at a gallery powered by iRead by the end of this year.
iRead will still surprise fans during the upcoming time with various entertaining activities and content to make sure everyone is engaged and entertained.
Are there any precautionary measures or policies that VictoryLink is following to combat the virus?
We are driven by our commitment and responsibility not only towards the community but also towards our employees as they are our most valuable asset. We consider them our heroes who always dedicate their skills and services around the clock for the sake of our clients’ comfort. Moreover, we are keen on supporting our government in taking the necessary measures to limit the spread of the virus.Therefore, we follow these measures closely to keep our employees safe, in addition to frequently and continuously sanitizing and disinfecting all our buildingsand departments, daily monitoring our employees’ temperatures, as well as making wearing masks mandatory on premises.
We also never miss an opportunity to collaborate with the governmental authorities to provide our SMS and Value Added Services To support them in any campaign that involves educating citizens about the importance of abiding by the precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19,and encouraging them to stay home and safe.
As a female who excelled in a male-dominated sector, what advice would you give to all the young women out there with similar preferences and aspirations?
I have always been an advocate for women empowerment, as I am a firm believer that if women set their minds on their dreams, they will easily attain them with hard work and dedication. I encourage young women to ignore the stereotypes, especially when it comes to choosing your profession, as each and every one of us should make a living from what we love instead of abandoning our talents due to other expectations that are not ours.