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Meet the mind behind Creative Industry Summit
Published in Daily News Egypt on 25 - 11 - 2021

Only a few days separate us from the biggest event for creative inspiration in Egypt and the Middle East, the Creative Industry Summit (C-S). The Nile Ritz Carlton in Cairo will host the 12th edition of C-S, from the 28th of November to the 1st of December, bringing together the top-notch gurus in all industries locally and internationally.
C-S 2021 heightens the dynamic creative scene through strategic partnerships with some of the most innovative and leading companies in the sphere today, namely Heartwork by Mountain view, which brings happiness to the workplace. Additionally, C-S partners with Balaconah, the incredible creative platform all the way from Saudi Arabia from the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce to bring some of the most creative minds from KSA to the heart of Cairo. Other incredible entities who lend their expertise through partnerships include FP7 McCann, Mount PR, Nojara, Isobar, Cairo Log, Cinematech, and so much more! The event also includes collaborations with Giftopia, Cairo-based investment firm Gemini Africa which connects the world of entrepreneurship and tech with the cinema industry, Let's go Big, Content Con, Egyptian Fashion Council, Tayarah, Peace cake and many more.
Mai Salama with Daily News Egypt`s reporter
The Creative Industry Summit was first launched in Egypt in 2014 and grew to become the go-to platform for creative inspiration in Egypt and the Middle East. This year's edition will be held in a hybrid format. The summit aims to shed light on the successful and outstanding stories in different creative industries.
Daily News Egypt interviewed the mind behind this summit, Mai Salama, to learn more about the C-S and the details of this year's edition. The interview also touched on the creativity scene in Egypt.
Can you explain how you came up with this idea and how you were able to produce it?
In the 1990s, platforms that bring together individuals from the advertising and marketing scene were popular and effervescent, but they soon started to die down. For this reason, the idea of the Creative Industry Summit came to light in 2014 because there was a drastic need for individuals to connect, communicate, get together, get inspired learn and also for the creative community to network and connect.
After 2014, C-S became a hub for professionals to meet, connect and network annually and discuss the works of the year and the reflect on the journey of the industry. However, it soon grew to focus not only on the advertising scene, but rather increased the threshold of creativity to encompass all of the different sectors and aspects that it should naturally encapsulate. This year we have over 21 tracks, including sustainability, mental wellness, e-gaming, physical sports, e-commerce&tech, fashion, art, advertising, marketing, media, film, acting, women empowerment, entrepreneurship, and so much more.
Sophia the talking robot from Hanson Robotics in the 8th edition of Creative industry summit
We're discussing everything from a creative perspective. That's what makes the C-S different from other events.
What has changed in the C-S since its first edition?
This year is different across the board; a four-day celebrationof creativity with over 21 tracks.
It isat the Nile Ritz-Carlton. We will have music performances, exhibitions, and workshops, as well as of course talks, panels and fireside chats. We also have sections dedicated to allowing individuals to work throughout the summit and hold meetings, so your life doesn't have to come to a halt just because you're here!
A four-day immersion into creativity, C-S 2021 also welcomes students for the first time this year! With several competitions catered to them, as well as special student prices and registrations, we can't wait to welcome the first batch from the new wave of creative minds to C-S. For more information, check out our Instagram page.
What is the goal of the Creative Industry Summit?
Our main goal is shedding the light and celebrating creativity. We are almost in 2022, and in order to do anything you have to be different. Different is equivalent to creative, so if creativity is not a commodity that you value and grow, people will turn away.
In my opinion, if you're not creative in any business, you are unqualified. So our objective is to focus on the creative economy. By creative economy, we don't mean any one specific industry, but we mean anything driven by creativity.
To what extent the government and the concerned bodies support this event?
We are lucky enough to say that whenever we reach out to any governmental body for speakers or support we get all the help we need. We have also been recently invited to a discussion with key stakeholders from the conferencing and event industry which was very beneficial and we are extremely optimistic. Additionally, with the direction of the government to attract tourism through events we are truly excited to be part of this incredible initiative.
Let's talk about the details of C-S 2021; how many participants/ speakers are expected to attend? What is the summit's objective this year?
We are expecting around 3,000 participants. We have 250+ speakers, including Dominique Delport, the former president of Vice Media, and Eduardo Tavares and Rodrigo Gonzales who are the creators of Ooho, which are sachets made from Notpla, a patented material that combines seaweed and plants. They are incredibly innovative individuals that have made packaging disappear completely.
Locally, we have great names, including the directors Amr Salama, Mohamed El-Zayat, Tamer Mahdy, and Ahmed Hussein. In our fashion track, we have incredible names such as the legendary Suzan Sabet. In music, we bring Tarek Nojara and the rapper Wegz. In the film industry, we invited some actors including, Ahmed Amin, Amina Khalil, Adham El Sharkawy, and Ahmed Dash, well as the scriptwriter Mariam Naoum.
Content creators and vlogers Hisham Afify and Islam Hossam will participate in the summit as well.
One of our biggest objectives this year is to show that creativity is essential. We are trying to shed light on that angle in every business. We are trying as much as possible to inspire the people.
We will be discussing many topics, including music production and copyrights, women empowerment, technology in cinema, feelings in the workplace, the creative block, and so much more!
Moreover, we will launch a new conference dedicated to content creation called Content Con within C-S, which is the brainchild of Mazen Yassin.
We will also have "C-S Studio" that will be the official streaming platform for C-S to keep the people informed about the activities of the summit.
Why did you choose Cairo to host the summit?
We chose the heart of Cairo to be accessible to everyone.
There were reports about holding the Creative Industry Summit in Saudi Arabia, and some were concerned that this might affect the position of Egypt as a hub for creativity, what is your response to this?
I think one of our missions is to export Egypt's craft of creativity. We aim to export Egypt's creativity to the region and globe, which will only heighten our local standing, and affect it positively.
Do you think of merging the C-S with other conferences?
Trust me, all the big players in the conferencing ecosystem collaborate and help each other. It is incredible how we are all trying to help each other grow because the truth is we don't compete, we complete each other. So always keep an eye out for the future!
What are the requirements for participating in the event?
If anybody thinks he/she has something different and really makes an impact, they can apply via our website: https://creativeindmena.com.
If we feel that he/she fits the parameters and what they do is really impactful and different, we will call them immediately.
In your opinion, how did the global pandemic impact the creative industry?
I think it helped us all use our creativity; we all had to find different ways to exist. We all had to pivot and re-question the norms of life.
Finding the way or pivoting equals the word creativity. You could not come out of COVID-19 thinking or functioning the same way; therefore, creativity and innovation became essential.
Many people were disappointed during the COVID-19 pandemic, so what is your advice to them?
I would say that these times have taught us a lot about business and life in general, but my advice is to take a moment and think about what makes you happy and be ready and flexible to accept any change. It is okay to take time off and do something you like.
The valuable lesson that we learnt from this crisis is that we should take care of ourselves and our mental wellness, so you must search and explore what makes you happy, whatever it is, just do it, as long as you don't cross someone else's boundaries.
What are your aspirations?
I never want to retire. My strategy is to grow in this field as much as I can, and have a little bit of fun while doing that.


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