Expatriate Egyptian professionals represent a powerful community of talented business people.

I personally witnessed this during a recent visit to Cairo, Egypt to attend Forbes Middle East’s Egypt 100 conference and networking event, where we were able to meet senior leaders and exchange views with the Egyptian Minister of Higher Education. The accomplishments of the Egyptian companies, startups and business people highlighted during the event were impressive.

Egypt is certainly doing something right when it comes to producing talented and motivated working professionals who are committed to building and developing their careers. Retaining that talent in Egypt may be another challenge, but the diaspora is rising to become senior leaders in the regional business community.

Egyptian nationals make up a significant proportion of MBA students in the Middle East, and our regional alumni community. In fact, 20% of our MBA graduates in 2017 were from Egypt, although mainly resident across the GCC. This group was the largest nationality community represented in the graduating class of 2017 and comprised senior business women and men working across a range of industries including the ICT, banking finance and accounting, construction and engineering sectors, in general management and other leadership roles. They didn’t just participate in the MBA programme but also contributed substantially to the experience and gained the benefits, with most of the group graduating with ‘Merit’.

In addition to the panel discussion on the economic opportunities in the country, the Forbes Egypt Top 100 conference also recognised the Top 50 Egyptian companies, the 25 strongest Egyptian startups, and the 25 most powerful women.

I was especially interested in this final group. Women in the region are continuing to build skills through training and development, as well as managing and developing their personal professional brands. We now have a range of high profile female role models in business and the Forbes event and the recognition it created provides a new set of inspirational role models in Egypt.

Perhaps the most important characteristic for business women to develop in building their careers is ‘confidence’ – a function of self-belief and ability, and this is developed through high quality education, ongoing training and development, and nurtured through networking support and mentoring.

Forbes Middle East is playing a vital role in developing the female talent through events such as Egypt Top 100, and other networking and recognition events around the region.